Elkton, Maryland, is one of the most populated towns in the state. In the 20th Century, the large town had established a name for itself as am extremely popular marriage destination. Babe Ruth and Willie Mays, actors Burt Lahr and Joan Fontaine, basketball star Charles Barkley, and former US Attorney General John and Martha Mitchell, were all married in this town.
Ironically, the school system of this town has decided and stated that marriage is not something that they teach in their curriculum.
An art contest that asks pupils to draw pictures promoting marriage will be allowed to proceed in Cecil County, after school officials initially balked at joining the federal initiative.
The marriage debate began when a local group, called Marriage Works of Cecil County, sent the schools fliers offering pupils up to $350 to design billboards endorsing marriage.
The marriage group is part of a nationwide initiative undertaken by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families. The initiative provides grants for public advertising campaigns promoting marriage, among other things.
“Healthy marriage is the best social program there is,” said Nicholas Ricciuti, director of the Cecil County Department of Social Services.
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But school authorities were taken aback by the billboard contest and initially said they wouldn’t participate.
Barbara Wheeler, the school system’s associate superintendent for education services, told the Cecil Whig it would be inappropriate for the school system to promote a contest that deals with a subject outside the purview of the state curriculum.
“We’re in the business of instruction, so when material comes to my office the first thing I look at is whether it is in line with the voluntary state curriculum we teach,” Wheeler said. “I looked into our health curriculum and found that marriage is not something we teach.”
Educators also worried about what the art contest would say to children whose parents aren’t married.
Now, a few things here. (1) They are right in being somewhat concerned about the children whose parents aren’t married, (2) I don’t understand why they don’t teach about marriage but enjoy talking about gay marriage, (3) it’s amazing how jumpy schools get when you mention the “M” word.
“We don’t just distribute fliers in classes without having some discussion about the material, and I was concerned about how that would make some of our students feel,” Wheeler said.
Last week, Wheeler and other educators met with the Marriage Works group to chart a compromise. School officials said they’d allow the art contest fliers to be distributed, but teachers wouldn’t encourage students to compete.
Now, as I said, they’re perfectly right in being concerned, but not encouraging students to compete? I agree with Ricciuti. The educators are overdoing it. And I think something deeper than a concern for the children may lie here.
Ricciuti said educators were too worried about making students feel bad.
“We’re not saying that those people who are not married or are divorced are in any way bad,” Ricciuti said. “We’re saying that healthy marriages are more likely to reduce social problems before they occur.”
Exactly. Healthy marriages are more likely to reduce social problems before they occur. Why can’t people understand that? The basic building block of society is the family, yet we want to throw it away. It’s seen in programming on television. It’s seen in decisions made in courtrooms across the country.
Now, let’s think about the statement of Barbara Wheeler, who said “I looked into our health curriculum and found that marriage is not something we teach.” What do they teach? What is their health curriculum? And why does it not mention marriage? What does it discuss?
Well, we pretty much can know. And I doubt it’s the sanctity of marriage. It’s the humanistic teachings that glorify man and promote tolerance and acceptance of all religions. We’re all good deep down inside, and education will fix all of man’s problems. Or not.