In a report approved Monday, members of the Farmington School District’s American Indian Education Parent Committee asked the school board for greater representation of American Indian culture in schools and for more opportunities for students to explore their native heritage.
The committee met regularly prior to this year, but its efforts have changed some since the district added Numen Smith as an American Indian education liaison. It has not typically asked the school board for action.
Smith had his first official meeting with the parent committee earlier this month and has worked with them to identify opportunities.
Among the concerns the committee presented in its current recommendation is the fact signs in the district that present information in multiple languages do not include native languages.
Smith wrote in the committee’s resolution that it is important to let students know there is a growing population of American Indian students in Farmington schools.
“We … need to educate the student body and let them and all parents and teachers know that we are not just mascots or pages in a history book,” Smith wrote. “There are American Indian students roaming the hallways now as we speak, next to your student. Everyone needs to know we are not a race that has just disappeared and now only see in the movies or what Hollywood portrays us to be.”
Barb Duffrin, the district’s director of educational programs, said Monday that the district has seen an increase since Smith was hired in the number of families that identify as American Indian.
Among other things, the committee is advocating field trips to significant sites, a mentorship program for older students to work with younger students and a summer program to keep the district’s native population connected when school is not in session.
The parent committee has also extended an invitation to the district’s art teachers to talk about enhancing the curriculum to include American Indian art.
“Our art teachers are very excited about this,” Duffrin said.
Also on Monday, school board members awarded bids for several of the projects funded by the bond referendum voters approved last November.
School board members approved a $1,479,600 bid from Pioneer Power to replace boilers at Farmington Elementary School and Boeckman Middle School.
Pioneer Power had the lowest of four bids submitted for the project.
The district also approved bids to replace roofs at Dodge Middle School; Riverview, North Trail and Farmington elementary schools; and the District Service Center and Instructional Service Center. The bids went to different contractors. The total cost will be $4.2 million.
Savitribai Phule was the first female teacher of the first women’s school in India
Savitribai Phule is regarded as a crucial asset in the social reform movement in Maharashtra
Savitribai Phule started her own school for girls education in Pune in 1848
Savitribai Phule is India’s first Modern feminist and a well-known social reformer who along with her husband, Jyotirao Phule played a vital role in raising the women’s rights in India during the British Rule. She was the first female teacher of the first women’s school in India and also considered as the pioneer of modern Marathi poetry. In 1852, Savitribai Phule opened a school for Untouchable girls which were a great challenge to take at that time.
Savitribai Phule was born on 3 January 1831 in Naigaon, Maharashtra, British India. She was married to 12-year-old Jyotirao Phule at the age of nine. Savitribai Phule is regarded as a crucial asset in the social reform movement in Maharashtra.
Battling for women education
Savitribai Phule fought for women’s education from the cultural patterns of the male-dominated society as a mission of her life. She worked towards tackling some of the then major social issues like women’s liberation, removal of untouchability and widow remarriages. Due to her efforts for women empowerment in the society, Savitribai Phule used to be followed by orthodox men and was abused by them in obscene language. People would target her with rotten eggs, cow dung, tomatoes, stones but she ignored all that, just to reach her school. After suffering so much, she once decided to give up but her husband, Jyotiba Phule came in full support for her. Jyotiba Phule encouraged his wife to continue with her cause.
But still, both husband and wife faced fierce resistance from the orthodox elements of society. Savitribai Phule got herself admitted to a training school and came out with flying colours with another Muslim lady, Fatima Sheikh. After that, she started her own school for girls education in Pune in 1848. Although, the response Savitribai Phule got was not that much uplifting but she was determined by what she was doing.
With the passage of time, people started to accept them and hence both husband and wife were able to open 5 more schools in the year 1848 itself. Taking a note of Savitribai Phule’s hard work, British government honoured her for her educational work. Jyotiba and Savitribai were also opposed to idol worship. For their work, both husband and wife were socially isolated and were attacked by the people whom they questioned.
The next big step that she took was to take a stand for widows. In those days, if a man used to die of old age or some sickness and the girls they had married were left, widows. The windows were treated like an unwanted piece of dump in the society. Widow’s head was shaved and they were not allowed to use any cosmetics that may make them look beautiful. Such a condition of widows moved Savitribai Phule and her husband. Thus, they went on for a protest to stop barbers from shaving the heads of widows.
Here are some of the facts related to the life of Savitribai Phule and her husband, Jyotirao Phule during there struggling for various social causes.
In 1897, Savitribai Phule with the full support of her son, Yashwantrao Gupta, opened a clinic to treat those affected by the pandemic of the bubonic plague when it appeared in the area around Nallasopara. As per records, she used to feed two thousand children every day during the time of the epidemic.
Two books of her poems were published posthumously, Kavya Phule (1934) and Bavan Kashi Subodh Ratnakar (1982). Savitribai Phule wrote many poems against discrimination and advised to get educated. Being a poet and a philosopher and wrote on the importance of education and knowledge and removal of caste discrimination.
In 2015, the University of Pune was renamed as Savitribai Phule Pune University to her honour deeds.
Savitribai Phule died on 10 March 1897 while serving a plague patient.
Google India Celebrate her Birthday January 3, 2017, with Doodle.
Savitribai Phule was herself a victim of child marriage as she was married to Jyotirao Phule when she was only 12 years old.
Savitribai Phule opened ‘Infanticide prohibition house’ care centre for pregnant rape victims and helped them to deliver their babies. She put up boards on streets about the “Delivery Home” for women, who were forced for their pregnancy. The delivery home was called “Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha”.
Savitribai Phule worked towards abolishing the caste-based and gender-based discrimination in the Indian society.
In 1852, Jyotirao Phule and Savitribai Phule were felicitated by the government for their commendable efforts in the field of education and other social causes.
After her marriage, Savitribai Phule enrolled herself in a training centre at Ms Farar’s Institution at Ahmednagar and in Ms Mitchell’s school in Pune.
Savitribai Phule fought against all forms of social inequalities for any section of the society. They even moved by the plight of untouchables in the society. As untouchables were not allowed to take out water from the wells, meant for the upper caste. So, Savitribai Phule and Jyotiba Phule started their own reservoir of water for the untouchables in the vicinity of their house.