In his NY Times piece today, The Wilds of Education, Frank Bruni argues that education is about exposing not protecting students relative to the realities of the world we expect them to successfully navigate. This directly contrasts with the failed attempt by public school decision makers to ban from standardized tests any words that would make students "uncomfortable," like: divorce, slavery, poverty, hurricanes and, of course, birthdays.
When we advance as a civilization toward engaged learning, we will expect that students are ready to know the realities of the world when their questions about them authentically emerge. The job of educators is to guide discoveries at the edges of comfort so learners feel more wise, compassionate and empowered by their learning, no matter what the subject.
When it comes to raising the next generation, we have a couple paths to follow and carve. One is protecting them from learning how to undertand what's uncomfortable and the other is equipping them with the tools to do so. The option we don't have is handing them a world devoid of things about which they might feel less than confortable.