Claremont Insider: Take It to the Streets, 5-Year-Olds

Monday, November 24, 2008

Take It to the Streets, 5-Year-Olds

photo by Kathleen Lucas, Condit parent of Choctaw heritage

Tuesday morning's Los Angeles Times will carry an article on the Claremont Culture Wars. It was posted on the Times website late Monday evening. As discussed in this afternoon's post, the situation comes to a head Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. when the Indians of Mountain View Elementary are scheduled to make the long march up Mountain Avenue to Condit Elementary.

This entire fracas was initiated by a letter sent by Condit parent and UCR professor Michelle Raheja.

The Times had the take that this was a bunch of pointy-headed professors against the hoi-polloi parents. There was some empirical evidence to support this take when the only people the Times could easily find to speak in favor of banning the construction-paper costumes were, well, pointy-headed academics: Besides ringleader Raheja, there was University of Redlands Assistant Professor of Race and Ethnic Studies Jennifer Tilton as well as an instructor at Riverside Community College and a former professor at Pitzer:
Among the costume supporters, there is a vein of suspicion that casts Raheja and others opposed to the costumes as agenda-driven elitists. Of the handful of others who spoke with Raheja against the costumes at the board meeting, one teaches at the University of Redlands, one is an instructor at Riverside Community College, and one is a former Pitzer College professor.

Raheja is "using those children as a political platform for herself and her ideas," Constance Garabedian said as her 5-year-old Mountain View kindergartner happily practiced a song about Native Americans in the background. "I'm not a professor and I'm not a historian, but I can put the dots together."

One aspect of this affair that is entirely despicable is the cowardly cowering by Superintendent David Cash and principals Tim Northrop and Clara Arocha. According to the Times article, "Cash and the principals of Condit and Mountain View did not respond to interview requests." What's the matter? Cat got their tongues? These are public employees, and they ought to be willing and able to defend and explain their decisions.

The action starts tomorrow morning at 8 when the parents send their kids to school. At 9, the kids are scheduled to head up to Condit. We'll see if the teachers have confiscated the contraband construction-paper costumes.

Happy Thanksgiving.