You aren't imagining it. It is totally disgusting and frustrating, and I'm counting the seconds until June when I will walk away from all of it and not go back. The injustice we are being forced to impose on children is reprehensible.
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The students are being trained to use their native language in a grammatically correct manner and to write argumentatively without errors in logic. That is what is expected of them on the state writing test in two weeks. I don't think it's asking a lot, but for this particular group it is because they have never bothered to learn the most basic tenants of English grammar, and there is no other way to know them. They have had horrible writing test scores from the primary grades on up to high school, and they are making no effort to do better now. They don't seem to believe or care that they cannot graduate without passing this test even though they could be moved along even with failing scores at the lower grades.
If it's the history of the English language, someone has uploaded an excellent BBC documentary on that topic to YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsVz5U76kX0. If you are interested in the history of the country, here are BBC documentaries on that: http://shop.bbc.com/us/video/documentary/icat/videodocumentary#esp_cf=CategoryTitle&esp_filter_CategoryTitle=British%20History&esp_hitsperpage=48 I have found the great majority of BBC documentaries to be excellent. I didn't look on YouTube for any of these, but some may be there. I have used the history of the language more than the history of the country for classes. I teach juniors. It's the senior classes that get into the country's history. I hope this helps you some.
In my experience I have found the old adage, "Honesty is the best policy," to be true. I like your approach and love your statement about "make my mind, not make up my mind." You may want to add a statement of what you feel education is after the sentence that ends with "one moment in time to another" to solidify your philosophy for the reader. The "in" before "which we comprise" isn't needed. In your mind replace "comprise" with "make up," and you will understand why. "Values were" needs a question mark after it as does "Who we were." Even rhetorical questions still require that mark. You have done a marvelous of presenting your introduction! It hurts my heart to say that if you plan to send this to any schools in the US, you will need to be sure they are private schools. The government here, with its present philosophy of using standardized testing as the end all be all method of evaluation for students and school systems, has taken from educators the ability to adhere to any philosophy like yours, and it is as frustrating and saddening and frightening as anything I have ever known.