Connections Quarterly Summer 2021 | Page 3




On January 6th we saw anti-American activity at the US Capitol that made the false claim of defending America . While attacking the Capitol is unprecedented , justifying intolerance as defending America is not . For both Republicans and Democrats , McCarthyism is now synonymous with “ anti-American .” Today , the right and left all too often use the term “ anti-American ” to describe anyone who disagrees with them . As educators in this moment of history , it is critical to see the distinction between someone who holds a view that someone strongly disagrees with versus someone who has slipped into an anti- American intolerance .

I would not claim to have the expertise to offer such a definition , but a start is to agree that anti-American activity includes : justifying some groups of people having more or less rights than others , peddling lies to justify one ’ s cause , or not listening to those with whom one disagrees . It would be valuable for each school to discuss , in-line with its mission , what constitutes an intolerant attitude that has no place in their community . Furthermore , classrooms in which such discussions may happen should have norms : the norms that everyone in the school community are expected to abide by , and possibly additional norms for the particular classroom .
As educators , our mission is to do more than guide our students away from being intolerant anti-Americans . Rather , we need to examine our programs to ensure that we are helping to form ethical students with purpose — citizens who will be actively engaged in local and national politics that ensures the betterment of them , their families , and all people . What follows in this edition of Connections is meant to help think through critical elements of your school ’ s civic mission . •
Bob Mattingly , Executive Director of CSEE
CSEE Connections Summer 2021 Page 1