The Los Angeles Board of Education has adopted a resolution introduced by Board Member Jackie Goldberg to prepare curriculum materials to prepare students to intellectually and emotionally cope with life in a nuclear age.
Although one cannot argue that students should not be informed on such a vital subject, it is imperative that the school board ensure that the materials made available to teachers be well-balanced, and that each point of view be prepared by persons competent to discuss the subject in an informed way.
It is apparent, from the statements attributed to Goldberg, that she is very biased. It would not be fair to our students to allow only such prejudiced views to be included in classroom materials, or to allow the teachers to emphasize only such uninformed views.
The Strategic Defense Initiative advocated by President Reagan is really the only hope of preventing a nuclear war; and, of course, there simply is no important connection between a nuclear power plant--of which we certainly need more, not less--and a nuclear bomb.
The Southern California chapters of Educators for Social Responsibility applaud the decision of the Los Angeles City Board of Education to begin development of a Nuclear-Age education curriculum for its students.
We feel the board was wise to adopt a step-by-step approach that involves collecting and evaluating existing materials, developing its own new materials, and providing voluntary in-service training for teachers to insure balanced and age-appropriate presentation of diverse points of view.
The California Assembly recently took similar action, and the National PTA and the Campfire Girls, among others, have passed resolutions endorsing Nuclear-Age education.
Our group is a national nonprofit membership organization of parents and educators who believe we must respond sensitively to children's fears and questions about the threat of nuclear war, as well as help older students to become informed citizens.
In teaching and learning about nuclear weapons, the goal should not be to arrive at a "correct" position or solution, but to recognize types of propaganda, to investigate the basis for various positions, and to form new questions about them. Plato's goal was to keep the dialogue going, and that is an appropriate goal for us today.
We hope teachers will seek out the wealth of materials on conflict resolution and Nuclear-Age issues that the board will soon make available to them. We urge parents, teachers, and other groups to become involved together in this new effort, and by responding, thus give our children new hope for the future.
Since democracy can flourish only in an atmosphere of tolerance, let's provide a model of tolerance in the way we approach controversial subjects with one another and with our students.
Bauers and Menard are co-chairmen of the Los Angeles chapter of Educators for Social Responsibility.
So Jackie Goldberg wants to teach our children about nuclear war, ala "The Day After" style. If it's true that in the event of nuclear war there will be no survivors, why do the nuke-freezers belabor their point by raising the fear level in our nation's youth? Their unilateral six-month nuclear-freeze position for the United States is a policy of appeasement and surrender. Why inject this policy of naivete and moral cowardice into our youth, under the guise of nuclear education?
Why not teach a modern-day history course on "Soviet Expansion Through Terrorism, Subversion and Military Action"? There are abundant examples and modern-day illustrations, such as: the Soviet genocide in Afghanistan; how to shoot down a commercial jet and get away with it; the KGB connection and the attempted murder of a Pope; Soviet friends and allies--terrorists Fidel Castro, Moammar Kadafi and Yasser Arafat, etc.; intimidation and blackmail through 350 triple SS warheads leveled at every major target in Europe; and how to exploit the greed of international bankers and multinationals through their puppets--the Soviet aid and trade boys of the State Department and Department of Commerce.
This course would be realistic and help our youth understand the nature of the enemy, who has promised to "bury us." Goldberg's left-wing views of life have not changed from her radical "free speech" days with Mario Savio and UC Berkeley.
She does the youth and children of Los Angeles a disservice by attempting to push the fear-mongering, appeasement views of the nuke-freezers. If there is any hope for rapprochement with the totalitarian Soviets through arms talks (which I doubt), then it should be done at the highest levels between the two governments.
E. GENE VOSSELER
Vosseler is director of Californians for a Strong America.
Jackie Goldberg has identified fear of the nuclear war as the primary problem for today's students. Children, she implied, are paralyzed with fear, and therefore the schools should teach about disarmament.
We have a 50% dropout rate in this city. Half the children who enter our schools fail to graduate. Youngsters lag increasingly further behind national norms in critical areas such as mathematics and reading. This should be the primary concern of the school board.
The children we see as professionals--as a special education teacher and as a pediatrician--are not so much afraid of potential international hostilities as they are of neighborhood violence. While they are aware of the potential nuclear holocaust, they are more concerned with gang violence and drugs on their campuses.
If Goldberg is concerned with national political issues, she should run for Congress and take her concerns to an appropriate audience. If she wishes to serve the children of Los Angeles, she should address herself to the problems within our schools.
REBECCA ANN PENSO
JEFFREY S. PENSO
Jackie Goldberg ought to keep her political views out of the school board room or look for another job. The Los Angeles school board should continue to keep itself busy with issues of busing, closing schools, and teaching the "three R's."
As a parent and proponent of a nuclear arms buildup to ensure the security of our nation, I am vehemently opposed to relying on "hope that the youngsters will not be brainwashed with a particular point of view."
Goldberg contends that a nuclear curriculum is necessary to help children deal with their fears of death. Since when does the school take on the role of child psychologist?
It is not the responsibility of the school to deal with a child's fear; it is the responsibility of the parent. Stop wasting time and taxpayer's money on such controversial issues and just teach our kids to read and write!
CANDACE VAN SCHOYCK
If Jackie Goldberg, whose political persuasion we all know, would succeed in politicizing the teaching in schools in her fashion, we will have another generation of un-American and unpatriotic students as we had in the 1960s.