There is a bill in my Virginia legislature co-sponsored by Delegate Tim Hugo (R) and Senators Dick Black (R) and Dave Marsden (D) to force all localities to use the "East Sea" when using "Sea of Japan" in our textbooks. This is a nice example of government and education intersecting.
- If we are only using ebooks, does "textbook" cover it. That sounds silly, but legislators need to be very specific. Of course most teachers use many resources other than a textbook so does that mean if it passes it doesn't apply to handouts (digital or paper) since they are decidedly not textbooks. Both "Sea of Japan" and "East Sea" are in our state requirements to teach, called the Standards of Learning. For what it is worth, our textbook already has both as you can see above.
- In Virginia, and in the US government it always helps to have co-sponsors (or as we can them in VA, co-patrons) so a bill has the chance to die twice. Here is what the bill is doing in our state senate and here is what is going on in the house.
- It has bipartisan support, although limited as you can see from the co-patrons in the House and the Senate.
- McGuireWoods, one of the states most powerful lobbying firms is now involved.
- It actually has international implications as the Japanese ambassador to the US just met with Virginia's governor on the issue. Since Japan is a big trading partner with Virginia it obviously has economic ramifications as well.
- Where is the line between state legislators and localities and for that matter the federal government and the two lower entities. In Virginia we have something called the Dillon Rule which muddies our line which makes me wonder if this piece truly falls under it.
- What exactly is the controversy? The Japanese support the name "Sea of Japan" and the South Korean prefer "East Sea."
So if you want an interesting example to discuss with your students this might be one of many where government impacts them in school. Of course there are so many more!