Objections are ‘poorly grounded’

Letter to the editor

To the editor:
   I read with some amazement "Questions raised over mural’s ethnic inclusiveness," Windsor-Hights Herald, Friday, May 3, 2002. The objection raised by Dr. Abalos to the mural in the Hightstown High School is self-serving and poorly grounded. Dr Abalos brings up the accurate points that 75 percent of the world’s population are people of color and that at present the school district is undergoing a change in demographics. Neither of these is tremendously relevant. Since the mural is the work of a single artist, it is his perspective that will be reflected in its content. Historical perspective is by its very nature a fluid concept and any single artist’s work will reflect those influences that he sees as important at a particular time. A far more appropriate criticism of the content is that it reflects a 1960s "pop-culture" perspective and neglects historical figures that might arguably be considered more significant.
   The important point that needs to be kept in perspective is that the content of instruction is to be taken as a whole. No lesson need, or even could, reflect the totality of the curriculum. Diversity of perspective comes from assimilation of many different points of view, not from rejection of those that do not reflect a preconceived notion.
   Teaching students to critically evaluate ideas for their merit is the goal of education, making a broad spectrum of ideas available and putting them in context is the role of the school. The mural is an imaginative way of fulfilling that goal. Mr. Plank should be thanked for his contribution.
Robert Oberle
East Windsor