Los Angeles School Peace Class
Recently, I had the opportunity to guide a peace class with twenty-two 8th graders at one of Los Angeles ’ most caring Charter Schools. The school is located in a very challenging neighborhood and it is a battle, 24/7, for the teachers and principal to keep the children safe. I happened to visit during a week in which they were embroiled in the standardized testing required nationally by the No Child Left Behind act. Actually, as journalist Ann Hulbert points out in today’s Sunday NY Times, there is nothing standardized about the testing. Each state can devise their own protocols making it impossible to track results. Success rates are all over the place, from 77% failure rate in Florida to 4% in Wisconsin . But more important, this mandate seems to be having a negative effect on our kids.
The teacher working with me at the Charter School , an amazing woman who left a cushy teaching position at a private school to be with our more underprivileged angels, told me the tests created so much anxiety amongst the student body, many children simply would not come to school. On the other hand, when they heard they would be getting a peace class, based on “Where Peace Lives”, my first book about finding the Three Keys to peace, they came in droves. She also told me they had heard I would be giving out peace diplomas, acknowledging them as peacemakers, and that was something they really wanted.
What this showed me is that our global educational curriculum has to decide, once and for all, to place a value on what kind of human beings our children are and will become. With that in mind, I pose three questions for your consideration:
- Is learning how to resolve conflicts peacefully less important than a good grade on a math exam?
- Is learning tolerance less important than an English exam?
- Is confronting, in a positive format, our children’s three biggest challenges: gang violence, racial slurs/bullying and sexual discrimination, (Yes- this is shockingly true!!) less important than knowing who the 23rd President was?
For me, given the fact that we live in the most violent chapter of our human history, the answer is no. We can no longer afford the luxury to blame, judge or hate. It is time to face the truth that tolerance, acceptance and forgiveness are more learned traits than they are innate. Time, I believe, to learn how to get along.
Peace is a choice, at every age and in every circumstance. We can...no we MUST make a difference.
Where Peace Lives
Make peace your gift this year
CLICK ON THE THREE KEYS TO SET PEACE FREE