Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

A closer look at how education funding REALLY works

original article: I’m an Educator Who Disagrees with Teacher Walkouts
January 18, 2020 by Ajalon J. Stapley

This is a post from my blog that I wrote back in 2018 when the “Red for Ed” frenzy, to increase Arizona’s education funding, was happening.

I’m an educator with a different perspective from what you probably see in the media regarding Red for Ed protests. I worked in public schools for 12 years, as an afterschool provider, teacher, administrator and more. I’ve taught in three states and don’t claim to be an expert in everything education, but I have my experiences, and don’t agree with what’s happening. Let me explain.

1. We chose to be teachers and knew it didn’t pay much. Most of us don’t pick this field for the money, but we are accountable for our choices. You can easily research pay scales, benefits, etc. for districts and states. We do our searching, make our choice and sign the contract. I had a professor spend an entire class explaining how he supported his family on a meager teacher’s salary, with sacrifices, but he made it work, and encouraged us to really ponder this before moving on in the program.

But, some argue, the hours, all the hours and little pay don’t balance out. I know the hours dedicated teachers put into their jobs, I’ve been there. We do what’s expected, then more because we care. I cried when I got my first paycheck, after deductions, it wasn’t much more than what I made in college. In time though, I came to appreciate the other benefits of my job, like healthcare, retirement plan, and days off.

Yes, days off. I enjoyed the flexibility of choosing to relax, travel, catch up on work, or find ways to earn extra money. Teachers are nine, maybe ten-month employees. I know they take work home, often go in on weekends and holidays, and prep during the summer, but ask your friends in the private sector, I’m sure they don’t get the time off you do. Also, I’ve seen the breakdown of teacher salaries into $/hour. It’s low, but we’re not alone. My husband is active-duty infantry in the army; you want to compare little pay per hour spent at the job? It’s no contest, he wins. Or rather–he loses.

2. Have you done your due diligence? Outdated supplies and grotesque conditions in schools are understandably frustrating and should be fixed. But are administrators always making the right decisions? I worked at a high school of 1,100 students with a principal and three assistant principals — three! Their combined salaries were almost $500,000. In another district, schools hadn’t seen updates in years, but administrators were able to get brand new tablets. Is this the wisest use of district funds?

According to the Auditor General Report in Arizona, “…between fiscal years 2004 and 2016, the percentage of resources spent on instruction declined…. At the same time, the percentages spent on administration, plant operations, food service, transportation, student support, and instruction support have all increased.” In this chart, you see Arizona falls below the national average for dollars going towards instruction, yet they spend the same or more in other areas. Why isn’t the money going directly to the classroom? Can every person who is protesting say, with 100-percent assurance, that their district uses every dollar wisely and there’s nothing that can be done better?

But my administrators are wonderful, they’re not the bad guys! Them — the legislature! They’re the bad guys!

This isn’t a good guy, bad guy thing. It’s about honestly assessing if any improvements can be made. So before marching off to the capital, try scrutinizing your district’s budget reports. Sure it’s not as exciting — and doesn’t make for good selfies — but give it a go.

3. Demands on teachers increase every year. This — I wholeheartedly agree with — 100 percent! New federal and state requirements, district policies, the work keeps piling up and never stops. But why? My mentor teacher said something that’s always stuck. She said when she was younger, schools were responsible to teach reading, writing, math, science, and social studies–go figure? Now add in character education, health, hygiene, sex ed, food programs, psychological services, the list never ends; for decades schools have implemented programs to fill the gaps from home and they are overstretched. Schools are failing because parents are failing. Why are we not having this conversation? Of course, quality teaching is important to student learning, but so is quality parenting. As one veteran teacher remarked, “They don’t make parents like they used to.” And that is the truth.

Teachers and schools are not miracle workers. What can they do about the student who can barely read, but falls asleep in class every day because he’s up till 10 playing video games? Or the 5th-grade boy who cusses, gets in the face and verbally threatens his teacher, and when dad gets to school, all blame goes to the 5’3″ woman. Or the girl caught blatantly cheating on a test, but still gets her birthday bash that weekend. Or the boy suspended for drawing violent pictures about teachers from school, and his mom takes him to Disneyland the next week. (Yes, you read that correctly.) This is just a smidgen in my slew of personal stories; ask anyone who’s worked with kids, they have their own. What has happened in our culture?! Let’s start that conversation! As educators, we are some of the leading experts on how a child’s home life impacts their success at school, why are we so mum about it?

Because it’s out of our control, we might offend people, there’s no easy solution.

True, true, and true, but what’s the alternative? You put all your frustration on a small group of people — point finger, blame, dehumanize, yell, and hate. Such is the pattern in our society these days.

4. Make realistic requests.

Have you read the demands of the Oklahoma Education Association? The state boosted the average teacher pay 16 percent by proposing the state’s first tax increase in 28 years. This would bump the average OK teacher salary to $51,376, slightly higher than the state’s median household income of $50,943. But this didn’t meet all their demands, so on strike they went. For nine days. What were the demands? Included in the expensive list was a cost of living increase for retirees — sooo more money for people who don’t work with kids anymore, and a $5,000 raise for school-support staff. I know it sounds nice but giving people money, just because, is not realistic. Is bus driving now a highly skilled, highly trained job? As wonderful as the crossing guard is, does she impact student achievement? Giving employees money as a thank you for being great is a privilege the private sector has, not the public sector, whose pay is funded by taxpayers.

When I taught in Washington, there was an initiative on the state ballot, and more on local ballots, to decrease class sizes. Also, that year districts were picketing and striking for more funding, specifically higher pay. Taxpayers heard, “make my job easier and pay me more money.” Pick one! In a teacher’s lounge discussion about this, one staff member snickered, “We really just want to get paid more.” And you know, I’m ok with that! Who doesn’t?! But when you are at the mercy of the taxpayers, be reasonable and realistic. I know the protesting states have seen funding cuts, years without raises, and more. Most people wouldn’t argue with some change, but be careful what you ask for, or rather what you demand. Talk to your friends in the private sector, how often have they dealt with years of stagnant pay, pay cuts, and layoffs? Can they demand a 20 percent raise and walk out of the job if they don’t get it?

5. You’re either with us or against us in the fight to fund education.

Really? So either I completely agree with your movement or I hate teachers and kids? What if I am a teacher, what if I have kids, in the public schools? Why do things have to be so polarized? This is neither fair or realistic as life is not so black and white. I know many people who appreciate teachers and don’t’ like to see schools struggle but they simply don’t want to get taxed more. They’re struggling too, your parents, the voters, they want to keep money in their paychecks like you want to see more. Both are fair. I know small business owners who, between the recession, Obamacare, and minimum wage spikes, are strapped. You can’t nickel-and-dime people because you think you have the moral high ground.

Then tax the big corporations! Remember things are not just black and white. Take my home state, Arizona. Many businesses have been relocating to AZ because of low corporate taxes, especially from their highly taxed neighbor to the West. Businesses bring jobs, growth, and money, do you want that to leave? And the “us against you” mentality isn’t reserved only for the public. In Washington, I heard stories of past strikes where teachers, who had the nerve to show up to work, had rocks thrown at their cars. Speaking of strikes…

6. A strike will hurt the people you claim to love. It’s difficult to make-up curriculum missed from an assembly let alone days of striking. Kids will lose out on learning, period. And their parents? They are left scrambling to find a place to send them. You care so much, what about a parent who has to miss work and lose pay to watch their kid? In Arizona, there was talk of graduation dates being pushed back due to the strike. Think about the implications and how this makes you look. I respect other tactics, but I don’t agree with going on strike. In the words of Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt:

[…a] strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable.

7. Playing the martyr. I had a professor warn us not to eat lunch in the teacher’s lounge because of the negative cesspool that sucks you in like a poison. He was right; many teachers have a “woe is me” attitude. I know disrespectful students, crazy parents, and piled-up demands can suck the soul out of you … just suck it right out! But all the complaining, coupled with the chip on some’s shoulder that what they do is so important, and soo unappreciated, and they are sooo superior to their peers, who (gasp) work only for the money, irks me. I didn’t go into teaching for the praise of my peers or accolades from society; if you did, you chose the wrong profession. When I was a teacher I knew what I did mattered and that it made a difference, I knew it was unappreciated and hard, but I had my reasons for choosing it; I didn’t need a bumper sticker or t-shirt telling the world that cared about kids and therefore was amazing for all my sacrificing. Plenty of people sacrifice for their jobs and many jobs help our communities; we’re not the only ones.

Once I was waiting for a staff meeting to start, it was the usual gripe session: unruly kids, apathetic parents, late nights for conferences, data reports, etc. Don’t get me wrong … I was right there with them. This job is taxing. But as I looked around at our library, humble but nice, the pleasant view out the windows, the tasty pot luck my wonderful principal organized, my thoughts turned to my husband. Weeks away in the hot desert for job training with almost no communication, where he slept on the ground, ate MREs, and used a wet wipe for a bath, I thought to myself, Gosh, we are such whiners. Can’t we just look at the positive, be grateful for what we have, and do our jobs. And maybe try to find joy in it.

“But I have done my job!” shouts the menopausal teacher as she bangs her fists on the desk. “I’m done looking for the positive, it’s time to show my wrath!” She’s met with a roar of applauds, cheers, likes, and shares.

Ooo-kay, you’re entitled to your feelings. So am I. Can we please stop with the self-righteous indignation? Maybe it’s just me, but when people go fishing for sympathy — or scream for it in my face — I just get annoyed.

“But it’s justified because teachers have the most important job in society!”

Mmmm…

Parents do. And they’re failing.

8. Money isn’t a magical fix. Yes, increased funds and higher teacher pay can make some difference, but it will not solve everything. Here are two articles that say increased spending improves student achievement.

And here are two that say it doesn’t.

In my ever, ever humble opinion, it’s not the answer. Families are. Education is already the number one expenditure in most states. In 2015, New York ranked first in per-pupil spending ($19,818), Utah ranked last ($6,555), yet Utah’s students consistently outperformed New York’s.

I lived in western Washington where they just love to vote themselves into higher taxes. I think they confuse taxation with charity; they’re not the same thing. The result was a very expensive place to live with average schools. The teachers I worked with were dedicated, the district had program after program to help students, yet they ran across the same problems I’ve seen elsewhere. We can give our hearts and souls to our students and make some impact, but what happens in the walls of their own homes (or doesn’t happen) has the greatest impact.

In conclusion: I understand the frustration. However, I would like to see more personal research and less bandwagon jumping, more facts and responsible spending by all, and mostly, let’s start the conversation — the campaign — to advocate for stronger families. I’ll wear those shirts every day. “Stronger families, stronger schools, stronger communities.” Or, “Where have all the fathers gone?” Or, “That device will never replace you as their parent.”

If we truly care about kids, we need to advocate for what most matters to them: safe, stable, caring, responsible families. That is the bedrock of a society.

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children, crisis, culture, education, family, funding, public policy, tragedy, unintended consequences

Filed under: children, crisis, culture, education, family, funding, public policy, tragedy, unintended consequences

The dehumanizing effects of the fear of failure

original article: The Deadly Dance of Perfectionism: How the Rhetoric of Family Planning Hurts Children
November 21, 2019 by Susan Martin

As a child, I never knew exactly what my dad did, but I knew that his office was the first place where I had ever seen anatomical pink and magenta models of the uterus and the embryo. I remember sitting with my mother in our family station wagon and looking up into the exotic jungle of scarlet bougainvillea that pressed against the glass of his beautiful corner office, displaying its deeply ridged flowers, just like the pink plastic model.

My father and I used to race each other up the stairs of the Population Center, and I remember the feeling of my heart pounding in my chest as I reached the last step before he did. I would triumphantly turn around and wait for his brown shoes and white cotton socks to appear on the top step before jumping out so that he could pretend to be surprised. Beating my father up the stairs confirmed my feeling that someone wanted me. I was strong and fast, and thus worthy of my father’s love. (Later, this would develop into a mania for long-distance running and endurance training.)

“Wantedness” was originally a term coined to describe a mother’s attitude toward the birth of a child. Sociologists decided that the degree to which a birth was wanted could be measured by accounting for less than perfect timing, less than perfect finances, or simply emotional hesitancy on the part of the mother. Yet its wider applications had more to do with phenomenology than with science. It could describe a person’s value in the social economy and the environmental factors limiting that value.

As I grew older, moved out, went to college, and began a career, my father would return periodically to the question of wantedness. He would ask me if I was content with my life’s circumstances, my partner or boyfriend, and so forth. It was his way of measuring my happiness. He taught me that there was nothing more important than arranging your life in such a way as to create a balance between your “wantedness” and the events of your life. It was essential to make careful choices in order to achieve the outcomes you wanted. Yet, to me, it seemed even more important to make the right choices to ensure that I would continue to be wanted by others. At any of life’s crossroads, I might slip into a state of “unwantedness” simply by making the wrong decision.

Where family planning stated that educated reproductive choices resulted in better families, the unspoken assumption was that educated sexual choices would help separate sex from reproduction. As a child, I concluded that the “right” behaviors were those that resulted in being continually wanted by my parents, and then by friends and peers. Surprisingly enough, the result of being exposed to wantedness was not conformism, but a rigid perfectionism based on achievement. My conclusions were shared by a whole generation of women and men who could only prove self-worth through professional achievement. As adults, we switched academic institutions and professional specializations frequently, and did not let ourselves be taken in by marriage or even by long-term professional commitments. Being depressed or heartbroken was just the price of having a career. The unspoken promise that was embedded in perfectionism was that the political system would eventually reward high-achieving people by having our sexuality set free from the conditions of biology through advances in contraceptive technology—a promise especially aimed at women academics: do everything right, and the political system will make sure that sex stayed far away from sexual reproduction.

The Gospel of Public Health

I grew up within the emerging culture of population studies and maternal and child health. My father, J. Richard Udry, and his colleagues sought to bring the new science of fertility measurement to third-world countries, thereby preventing an imagined population explosion of unwanted births. Behind the new science of population studies, however, lay the old science of eugenics. North Carolina, like many other southern states, still had sterilization programs in place until the mid-nineteen-seventies. Politically and culturally liberal social scientists reframed eugenics in updated language, emphasizing the need to give women control over their fertility and then rewarding them if they made decisions to have fewer children.

In the fairy tale world of public health, no mother would ever again have a baby and then suffer with feelings of guilt or regret, and no child or teenager would ever again feel pressured into gender roles that didn’t suit his or her deepest inclinations. Potential fathers would voluntarily register for sterilization rather than produce children in less than ideal environments or prevent their wives from pursuing educational and financial opportunities. All this would come about by discipling communities in the new science of family planning. The gospel of public health said that women’s desire to have children and nurture the young could be modified through education. Educating the mother of the household about contraceptives would result automatically in smaller families, because that’s what “everyone wanted.” Public health continuously projected the image of reproductive progress: a perfectible male and a perfectible female to go along with a perfectible human family, shorn of excesses to fit into a modern world.

One of the target geographical areas for the new science of fertility control was southeast Asia, and Thailand in particular. As the Population Center’s funding grew, it began to attract large numbers of students from Thailand and India. On Friday nights, graduate students from Thailand would gather at our house to play table tennis and talk shop in the basement. Part of the idea of these get-togethers was to introduce the graduate students to American academic culture and to model the benefits of family planning and fertility control. The family was presented not just as a procreative and biological unit, but as an aesthetic and social one. The symmetrical ideal was a family of four, and this “family planning pyramid” began to appear everywhere on posters and flyers related to family health. As one part of a two-child family, my sister and I were supposed to model this ideal—the lower the number of children, the more likely it is that the individual child will be intelligent, gifted, and nurtured. I felt this pressure keenly. To be loved and wanted, and to do my part to spread the gospel, I knew that I had to play my part perfectly.

A Dangerous Dance

In his work, my dad made numerous trips to Bangkok. Once, he brought me a little dancing golden prince from Thailand, with crescent shoes and a hat shaped like a little, upside-down golden cup. He danced with one arm up and one arm down, standing on the end of one of his long, pointed shoes.

In spite of his placid expression, the prince’s dance looked very difficult. If he moved too quickly to one side or the other, the pagoda hat might slide off. If he did not stand correctly, his shoes would surely bend, and he would stumble to the ground. To me, negotiating friendships felt like the dance of the Thai prince: my ankles ached and my arms throbbed, but I didn’t dare stop proving that I was worthy of being wanted. One day, in the fourth grade, we learned a polka in which we had to change partners. I was so upset at the thought of my best friend dancing with someone else that I walked up to the new girl and kicked her sharply in the shins. Any time I was rejected in a friendship, I interpreted it as a final judgment on my worth as a human being. Any time I attempted a new undertaking, it had to be perfect. I already knew that I had to continually win my parents’ approval and attention to continue to be “wanted.” It was only natural that the same should apply to my other relationships.

When I was ten years old, my father’s sister died after an overdose of sleeping pills. My parents told me it was because “she could not control her own fertility.” I did not know if they meant that she had suffered through an unplanned pregnancy and abortion, or if my four cousins were just too much for her. In any case, I concluded that motherhood had gotten in the way of what my aunt really wanted: fewer children. Clearly, “being in control” was very important. I must learn to do it very well, for if I failed, I might pay with my life. The prospect that losing control over fertility could so quickly lead to lethal “unwantedness” made the idea of having a family very dangerous. Since I was female and soon to enter puberty, it seemed to make me dangerous, too.

The gospel of family planning was not only preached in Southeast Asia. It was also taught to us at school. “Health class” now meant “sex” class, and sexual experimentation seemed to be the only acceptable way to become a healthy person. I was taught to apply the new philosophy of sexual freedom to constructing myself. Any conclusions based on biological clues as to my sex were to be ignored on the grounds that they were too conservative and would constrain me to follow traditional gender roles. All conclusions based on my individual gifts, inclinations, and predispositions were to be evaluated according to the social standard of progress, and I was rewarded for making decisions that went counter to my own biological sex.

Well into college and graduate school, my perfectionistic quest to be wanted corroded my soul, mind, and body. There were now so many conditions being placed on what could make me desirable—as a student, as a potential mate, or as an employee—that I couldn’t win. I could no longer reliably know how to make myself desirable in the eyes of the world. It was better, I decided, to work on fulfilling my own wants and desires. The fear I had developed about friendships in grade school turned into a tendency to verbally tear down other women who dared to challenge my fragile ego. Sarcasm had been the daily catechism in our house—a form of verbal warfare in which science always won. Contempt was heaped on those of differing political, cultural, or intellectual views. Even as an adult, these lessons lingered. I had a pathological need to prove that I was smart by putting others down—a practice that has sadly become a standard feature of social science.

The Language of “Wantedness” Hurts Children—and Adults

Today, we are living in a society where the ideals of family planning that were envisioned in the seventies have largely been realized. The way couples talk about family size and fertility in casual settings has been so touched by “the magic wand of family planning” that we imagine there is one-hundred-percent correspondence between an imagined number of births and the shape of the families we have. Not only family size, but the sex and genetic makeup of a birth are subject to the rubric of “wantedness.”

Even when people talk about their personal fertility, no one questions the logic of “wanted vs. unwanted births.” Yet when this kind of rhetoric permeates a society, the first thing to go is the capacity to form and sustain long-term relationships of the kind that hold the family together, like marriage. The decision to have children ceases to be something that people plan for by becoming married. Instead, it is viewed as extraneous to marriage as an institution.

The effects of the family planning rhetoric of the 1970s changed a generation. One can hear the echoes in the way we talk about the family today. Classifying human beings as “wanted” and “unwanted” has insidious and enduring effects. Instead of family bonds, it creates groups of human beings who have to prove they are worthy of life before receiving it. For my generation of late baby-boomers, we were not so much career-driven as driven to achieve in any area. We delayed child-rearing, and opted for long-distance relationships that lasted only until the next academic opportunity arose. Instead of being resilient, we were unable to endure conflict and were crushed under criticism, a disease that ruined collegial cooperation and stifled academic discourse. Our assumptions could not be criticized, and any challenge had to be met with total resistance.

The ideology behind the perfect family was not nearly as pretty as the sterile plastic models of the womb looked. The beautiful pink and magenta models of the womb in the big, sunny office never became what they should have become: life. The ideology said that families would be improved when sex was kept far from birth, and that when a relationship or a person was no longer wanted, one simply did away with it, setting it aside to die like one of my father’s potted plants. Over time, anatomical models became frightening to me, because they never changed—the embryos were always suspended, never complete. The plants in the office window continued to fascinate me though, especially the “Crown of Thorns,” a tangled tree that forced scarlet flowers up through wooden thorns. Messy, tangled, and uncontrolled, it was a survivor, a desert tree, that continued to produce life even in old age.

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abortion, biology, children, culture, eugenics, family, feminism, health, ideology, philosophy, sex, unintended consequences

Filed under: abortion, biology, children, culture, eugenics, family, feminism, health, ideology, philosophy, sex, unintended consequences

Does AFP’s sloppy reporting reveal bias?

On Monday, November 18, the AFP published a “Breaking” news story about more than 100,000 migrant children being detained by US immigration services. By Wednesday, the story has been deleted. Why would the AFP scrap a story after two days? It turns out a vital piece of information was neglected in the original story: the main premise was wrong.

AFP deleted a story incorrectly accusing the Trump administration of detaining over 100,000 migrant children

Searching online for an extant copy of the original AFP story (authored by Ben Simon and Nina Larson) shows the initial story highlighted a recent UN report on migrant children detained in over 80 countries across the world. But the AFP story focused on how the US handles these children, and more specifically, it blamed the sad situation on president Trump.

One syndicated copy of the story (from Vaal weekblad) shows quite clearly the current US administration is blamed for the situation.

AFP syndicated story blames the Trump administration for detention of migrant children

The story’s opening paragraph tells us a recent study was published in which responsibility was assigned to the Trump administration (emphasis added):

Lead author of the United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, Manfred Nowak, said the figure refers to migrants children currently in custody who reached a US border unaccompanied, as well as those detained with relatives and minors separated from their parents prior to detention.

President Trump is even named in the AFP story (emphasis added):

The US is the only UN member state that has not ratified the convention which took effect in 1990.

But Nowak said that did not absolve President Donald Trump’s administration of wrongdoing with respect to the detention of migrant children at the southern border with Mexico.

But AFP’s notification that it’s story is being withdrawn makes a substantial correction:

AFP is withdrawing this story.

The author of the report has clarified that his figures do not represent the number of children currently in migration-related US detention, but the total number of children in migration-related US detention in 2015.

We will delete the story.

So a fuller perspective on the story actually places responsibility for the situation at the foot of the Obama administration. Yet, rather than issue a correction, as is common practice in the news industry, the AFP has instead opted to withdraw the story. The desire to cast blame is already out of the bag, given the story was clearly worthy of being reported on Monday. Is the story no longer news worthy simply because the AFP was forced to admit president Obama should be the object of ridicule?

When the detention and caging of migrant children became a coast to coast outrage in 2018, the US main stream media was sure to cover the story ad nauseam. The first articles critical of the Trump administration inconveniently used 2014 photos of caged migrant children, photos taken when the Obama administration was detaining them. Conservatives responded to the 2018 bombshell with skepticism about the leftwing outrage, given the complete absence of outrage when the Obama administration built those cages and detained tens of thousands of migrant children.

Many people question the sincerity of leftwing outrage given its highly selective application – even on the same issue. If separating migrant children from their parents and detaining them in cages is a moral outrage today in the Trump era, it was equally outrageous in the Obama era. The lack of public outrage of this matter in the Obama years, and the AFP’s initial interest in it this week yet sudden disinterest in the same matter after discovering president Obama should have been blamed in their own story, makes the outrage look less moral and more political.

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bias, children, hypocrisy, immigration, left wing, liberalism, news media, president, progressive, propaganda, public policy, relativism, separation

Filed under: bias, children, hypocrisy, immigration, left wing, liberalism, news media, president, progressive, propaganda, public policy, relativism, separation

Displacing girls, the (hopefully) unintended consequences of the transgender moment

original article: 8th Place: A High School Girl’s Life After Transgender Students Join Her Sport
May 6, 2019 by Kelsey Bolar

When two high school athletes who were born male but identify as female tookfirst and second place at Connecticut’s girls indoor track championship this year, it wasn’t just a local news story.

To some, it was a story of triumph and courage. The winner, a junior from Bloomfield High School, set a girls state indoor record of 6.95 seconds in the 55-meter dash, and went on to win the New England titles in both the 55-meter dash and the 300-meter dash.

To others, it was a story of shock and disappointment: Is this the end of women’s sports?

To Selina Soule, a 16-year-old runner from Glastonbury, it was personal.

A junior, Selina missed qualifying for the 55-meter in the New England regionals by two spots. Two spots, she said, that were taken by biological boys.

Had the boys who identify as girls not been allowed to compete, Selina would have placed sixth, qualifying to run the 55 in front of college coaches at the New England regionals.

Instead, she placed eighth, watching the 55 from the sidelines after qualifying in only the long jump, an event in which the transgender athletes didn’t compete.

“It’s very frustrating and heartbreaking when us girls are at the start of the race and we already know that these athletes are going to come out and win no matter how hard you try,” Selina told The Daily Signal. “They took away the spots of deserving girls, athletes … me being included.”F

While the debate over transgender athletes and fairness is complex, the situation in Connecticut has brought forth another complicating layer: Plenty of parents and high school girls appear to object to the participation of biological boys in girls sports, but fearing public bullying and backlash, they’re not speaking out.

Publicly, at least.

The stakes of remaining silent are high: Policies are being formed in real time at the local, state, and federal levels regarding transgender individuals, student athletes, and sports.

Most prominently, on March 13, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced HR 5, the Equality Act, a bill that would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes under federal civil rights law.

The legislation would create a civil right for male athletes to self-identify as females at any time, critics say, without any evidence of physical changes to their bodies.

A Voice for the Voiceless

Selina Soule, a 16-year-old runner from Glastonbury, Connecticut, shares what it’s like being forced to compete against biological boys. (Photo: The Daily Signal)

When the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, or CIAC, said biological boys who identify as girls can compete as girls in sports, most track athletes remained mum.

Connecticut is one of 17 states that allow transgender high school athletes to compete without restrictions, according to Transathlete.com, a website that tracks state policies in high school sports across the country.

Encouraged by her mother, Bianca Stanescu, who has been in the forefront in challenging the state policy, Selina is one of the few students, if not the only one, giving a voice to countless others who appear to feel the same way.

“Everyone is afraid of retaliation from the media, from the kids around their school, from other athletes, coaches, schools, administrators,” Selina explained. “They don’t want to drag attention to themselves, and they don’t want to be seen as a target for potential bullying and threats.”

In a visit to the Nutmeg State, The Daily Signal spoke with four other track athletes from two high schools in Connecticut. Echoing Selina’s sentiments, they asked to remain anonymous.

“I think it’s a very important thing for people to really understand where we’re coming from, instead of just immediately going to, ‘We’re transphobic,’” one said. “Just the way that our society is built, it snaps on people so quickly.”

“We live in such a cruel world, and society is just so hard to figure out sometimes,” another girl told The Daily Signal. “You never know what the reaction is going to be. It’s so hard because you want your voice to be heard … but, how can you know what to say that will affect things positively, instead of people twisting what you’re saying and turning it against you?”

‘An Equality Issue’

The girls’ parents, too, expressed a high level of concern for protecting their daughters’ identities, not even wanting to identify them by high school.

Connecticut is made up of small towns, the parents explained, and given the relatively small number of athletes affected, people can connect the dots.

“There’s really nothing else you can do except get super frustrated and roll your eyes,” the first girl said, “because it’s really hard to even come out and talk in public just because of the way with the far left, and how just immediately you’ll just be shut down.”

“It’s not like we’re saying that we don’t like transgender people,” she added. “It’s just an equality issue where these girls are trying their absolute hardest to try and get those good things on their college resumes, and then it just gets completely taken away from them because there’s a biological male racing against them.”

The athletes say they don’t fear only being bullied or portrayed as a bigot. They also hope to attend college, and are afraid their politically incorrect views could hurt their prospects.

“I personally want a future in athletics in college,” a third girl told The Daily Signal, “but I feel like if there’s a coach that disagrees with my personal opinion, or a board that disagrees with it, then they’ll already have a predisposition with me and then it’ll affect maybe playing time or my ability to get into that college.”

“We have college down the road—I’m scared that that could get impacted,” a fourth girl said. “Sometimes the coaches will just like look at the lists … and if you’re not No. 1 then they won’t choose you.”

“I have heard opinions where coaches are just going to look at your times, and that they don’t really care where you place,” the first girl added. “But college coaches are going to these bigger meets, and when they don’t see you there, they’re not necessarily focusing on you. They’re focusing on the people that are there.”

“It kept Selina from getting to New Englands, where she had the opportunity to be running in front of college coaches, which is just unfair,” she added.

Uncomfortable Opinions

The athletes’ hesitation to speak out publicly begs the question:

How did society get to the point where high school girls now fear their uncomfortable opinions could prevent them from being admitted to the very institutions where uncomfortable opinions are supposed to be explored?

Whatever the answer, few could blame them, given the vitriol on display in today’s public square.

Business Insider removed a writer’s article defending the casting of Scarlett Johansson to play a transgender man in an upcoming film, for example. The publication said the article violated its “editorial standards,” and the writer later quit.

Authorities in Canada allegedly threatened to arrest a father if he refers to his biological daughter as a female in private or in public because she identifies as a boy.

And in schools, The Daily Signal has documented multiple cases of biological girls being forced to share locker rooms or bathrooms with boys, despite their safety concerns and discomfort.

But again and again, those on the “wrong side” of this conversation are too afraid to speak out.

‘Door Is Open for Any Other Sport’

A junior in high school, Selina Soule is asking for fairness to be returned to her sport.

Selina’s mother, Stanescu, told The Daily Signal that she has done “everything that I thought would be possible to help this and just open a conversation” about what’s happened in Connecticut and what could happen should Congress pass the Equality Act.

“The doors have been shut over and over again,” Stanescu said. “People are afraid to speak.”

In addition to potentially instating a nationwide bathroom requirement, health care mandate, and a “preferred pronoun” law based on gender identity, the Equality Act would enshrine in federal law the right of biological boys to compete as girls in all sports.

If the measure passes, Stanescu warned, “women will be completely eradicated from sports.”

What’s happening in Connecticut, she added, will happen across the country—and not just in track and field.

“Yes, it has been affecting track and field in Connecticut, but the door is open there for any sport, and that is something that could become also a safety issue,” Stanescu said. “It’s taking away the opportunity to win for the girls, but in sports that have physical contact, [it] could become a serious safety issue.”

“It could be potentially very dangerous if you have a transgender female that’s competing in basketball, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey because they are so physically superior to females,” her daughter Selina added.

Selina says all this while making clear she supports athletes “being true to themselves.”

“I have friends in school who are transgender and I know when they are struggling to come out or deciding to come out, I was there supporting them,” she said. “And when they were freshly out, I was caring towards them. I was never rude or disrespectful.”

But the situation in sports has “nothing to do with their gender identity and how they feel,” Selina said. “It has to do with what is right and what is fair in athletics.”

Looking forward to her senior year, Selina said she hopes to run track in college. She referred to the long jump event as her “safe haven” where “the results were fair no matter what, because it was girls competing against girls.”

“But now, unfortunately,” she said with a disappointed look on her face, “one of those athletes has started to compete in long jump. So now none of my events are safe.”

children, culture, diversity, extremism, ideology, liberalism, political correctness, progressive, public policy, relativism, unintended consequences

Filed under: children, culture, diversity, extremism, ideology, liberalism, political correctness, progressive, public policy, relativism, unintended consequences

Public Education’s Dirty Secret

original article: Public Education’s Dirty Secret
February 10, 2019 by Mary Hudson

Bad teaching is a common explanation given for the disastrously inadequate public education received by America’s most vulnerable populations. This is a myth. Aside from a few lemons who were notable for their rarity, the majority of teachers I worked with for nine years in New York City’s public school system were dedicated, talented professionals. Before joining the system I was mystified by the schools’ abysmal results. I too assumed there must be something wrong with the teaching. This could not have been farther from the truth.

Teaching French and Italian in NYC high schools I finally figured out why this was, although it took some time, because the real reason was so antithetical to the prevailing mindset. I worked at three very different high schools over the years, spanning a fairly representative sample. That was a while ago now, but the system has not improved since, as the fundamental problem has not been acknowledged, let alone addressed. It would not be hard, or expensive, to fix.

Washington Irving High School, 2001–2004

My NYC teaching career began a few days before September 11, 2001 at Washington Irving High School. It was a short honeymoon period;  the classes watched skeptically as I introduced them to a method of teaching French using virtually no English. Although the students weren’t particularly engaged, they remained respectful. During first period on that awful day there was a horrendous split-second noise. A plane flew right overhead a mere moment before it blasted into the north tower of the World Trade Center. At break time word was spreading among the staff.  Both towers were hit and one had already come down. When I went to my next class I told the students what had happened. There was an eruption of rejoicing at the news. Many students clapped and whooped their approval, some getting out of their seats to do a sort of victory dance. It was an eye-opener, and indicative of what was to come.

The next three years were a nightmare. The school always teetered on the verge of chaos. The previous principal had just been dismissed and shunted to another school district. Although it was never stated, all that was expected of teachers was to keep students in their seats and the volume down. This was an enormous school on five floors, with students cordoned off into separate programs. There was even a short-lived International Baccalaureate Program, but it quickly failed. Whatever the program, however, the atmosphere of the school was one of danger and deceit. Guards patrolled the hallways, sometimes the police had to intervene. Even though the security guards carefully screened the students at the metal detectors posted at every entrance, occasionally arms crept in. Girls sometimes managed to get razors in, the weapon of choice against rivals for boys’ attention. Although I don’t know of other arms found in the school (teachers were kept in the dark as much as possible), one particularly disruptive and dangerous boy was stabbed one afternoon right outside school. It appears he came to a violent death a few years later. What a tragic waste of human potential.

As the weeks dragged painfully into months, it became apparent that the students wouldn’t learn anything. It was dumbfounding. It was all I could do to keep them quiet; that is, seated and talking among themselves. Sometimes I had to stop girls from grooming themselves or each other. A few brave souls tried to keep up with instruction. A particularly good history teacher once told me that she interrupted a conversation between two girls, asking them to pay attention to the lesson. One of them looked up at her scornfully and sneered, “I don’t talk to teachers,” turning her back to resume their chat. She told me that the best school she ever worked at was in Texas, where her principal managed not only to suspend the most disruptive students for long periods, he also made sure they were not admitted during that time to any other school in the district. It worked; they got good results.

This was unthinkable in New York, where “in-house suspension” was the only punitive measure. It would be “discriminatory” to keep the students at home. The appropriate paperwork being filed, the most outrageously disruptive students went for a day or two to a room with other serious offenders. The anti-discrimination laws under which we worked took all power away from the teachers and put it in the hands of the students.

Throughout Washington Irving there was an ethos of hostile resistance. Those who wanted to learn were prevented from doing so. Anyone who “cooperated with the system” was bullied. No homework was done. Students said they couldn’t do it because if textbooks were found in their backpacks, the offending students would be beaten up. This did not appear to be an idle threat. Too many students told their teachers the same thing. There were certainly precious few books being brought home.

I tried everything imaginable to overcome student resistance. Nothing worked. At one point I rearranged the seating to enable the students who wanted to engage to come to the front of the classroom. The principal was informed and I was reprimanded. This was “discriminatory.” The students went back to their chosen seats near their friends. Aside from imposing order, the only thing I succeeded at was getting the students to stand silently during the Pledge of Allegiance and mumble a few songs in French. But it was a constant struggle as I tried to balance going through the motions of teaching with keeping them quiet. 

The abuse from students never let up. We were trained to absorb it. By the time I left, however, I had a large folder full of the complaint forms I’d filled out documenting the most egregious insults and harassment. There was a long process to go through each time. The student had a parent or other representative to state their case at the eventual hearing and I had my union rep. I lost every case.

Actually, the girls were meaner than the boys. The latter did not engage at all. They simply ignored me. Except for the delinquents among them, the boys didn’t make trouble. The girls on the other hand could be malicious. One girl even called me a “fucking white bitch.” It was confidence-destroying and extremely stressful. I was often reported to the principal for one transgression or another, like taking a sheet of paper from a student. Once I was even reprimanded for calmly taking my own cellphone from a girl who’d held on to it for half an hour, refusing all my requests to hand it back. The administration was consistently on the side of the student. The teacher was the fall guy, every time.

The abuse ranged from insults to outright violence, although I myself was never physically attacked. Stories abounded, however, of hard substances like bottles of water being thrown at us, teachers getting smacked on the head from behind, pushed in stairwells, and having doors slammed in our faces. The language students used was consistently obscene. By far the most commonly heard word throughout the school, literally hundreds of times a day, like a weapon fired indiscriminately, was “nigga.” The most amazing story from those painful years was the time I said it myself.

Sometimes you just have had enough. One day a girl sitting towards the back of the classroom shouted at some boy up front, “Yo! Nigga! Stop that!” I stood up as tall as I could and said in my most supercilious voice, “I don’t know which particular nigga the young lady is referring to, but whoever it is, would you please stop it.” The kids couldn’t believe their ears:

“Yo, miss!  You can’t say that!”
“Why not? You say it all the time.”
“Uhh…  Because you’re old.”
“That’s not why. Come on, tell the truth.”

This went on for a bit, until one brave lad piped up: “Because you’re white.” “Okay,” I said, “because I’m white. Well what if I said to you, ‘You’re not allowed to say some word because you’re black.’ Would that be okay?” They admitted that it wouldn’t. No one seemed to report it. To this day, it’s puzzling that I didn’t lose my job over that incident. I put it down to basic human decency.

Of course my teaching method had to be largely scrapped. The kids didn’t listen to me in either French or English. But they had a certain begrudging respect for me, I think because I told them the truth. I’d plead with them, “Look, kids, you’re destroying yourselves. Yes, the system stinks, but it’s the only show in town. Please, please don’t do this to yourselves. Education is your only way out.” But it was useless. I didn’t possess whatever magic some teachers have that explains their success, however limited. 

Aside from the history teacher from Texas, other Washington Irving educators stood out as extraordinary, and this in an unimaginably bad learning environment. One was a cheerful Lebanese math teacher who had been felled as a child by polio. He called himself “the million dollar man” because of his handicapped parking permit, quite a handy advantage in Manhattan. Although he could only walk on crutches, he kept those kids in line! His secret? A lovely way about him and complete but polite disdain for his students. Where he came from, students were not allowed to act that way. Another was a German teacher, the wife of a Lutheran minister. Her imposing presence—she fit the valkyrie stereotype—kept those mouths closed. You could hear a pin drop in her unusually tidy classroom, and she managed to teach some German to the few hardy souls who wanted to learn it. 

The most impressive of all was a handsome black American from Minnesota. He towered over us all, both physically and what the French call morally. He exuded an aura that inspired something like awe in his colleagues and students. I think he taught social studies. He was the only teacher who got away with blacking out his classroom door window, which added to his mystique. He engaged his students by concentrating their efforts on putting together a fashion show at the end of each school year. They designed and produced the outfits they strutted proudly on the makeshift catwalk, looking as elegant and confident as any supermodel. To tumultuous applause. They deserved it.

Although the school was always on the verge of hysteria and violence, it had all the trappings of the typical American high school. There were class trips and talent shows, rings and year books—even caps and gowns and graduation. High school diplomas were among the trappings, handed out to countless 12th graders with, from my observation, a 7th grade education. The elementary schools had a better record. But everyone knew that once the kids hit puberty, it became virtually impossible under the laws in force to teach those who were steeped in ghetto and gangster culture, and those—the majority—who were bullied into succumbing to it.

Students came to school for their social life. The system had to be resisted. It was never made explicit that it was a “white” system that was being rejected, but it was implicit in oft-made remarks. Youngsters would say things like, “You can’t say that word, that be a WHITE word!” It did no good to remind students that some of the finest oratory in America came from black leaders like Martin Luther King and some of the best writing from authors like James Baldwin. I would tell them that there was nothing wrong with speaking one’s own dialect; dialects in whatever language tend to be colorful and expressive, but it was important to learn standard English as well. It opens minds and doors. Every new word learned adds to one’s wealth, and there’s nothing like grammar for organizing one’s thoughts. 

It all fell on deaf ears. It was impossible to dispel the students’ delusions. Astonishingly, they believed that they would do just fine and have great futures once they got to college! They didn’t seem to know that they had very little chance of getting into anything but a community college, if that. Sadly, the kids were convinced of one thing: As one girl put it, “I don’t need an 85 average to get into Hunter; I’m black, I can get in with a 75.” They were actually encouraged to be intellectually lazy.

The most Dantesque scene I witnessed at Washington Irving was a “talent show” staged one spring afternoon. The darkened auditorium was packed with excited students, jittery guidance counselors, teachers, and guards. Music blasted from the loudspeakers, ear-splitting noise heightened the frenzy. To my surprise and horror, the only talent on display was merely what comes naturally. Each act was a show of increasingly explicit dry humping. As each group of performers vied with the previous act to be more outrageous, chaos was breaking out in the screaming audience. Some bright person in charge finally turned off the sound, shut down the stage lights, and lit up the auditorium, causing great consternation among the kids, but it quelled the growing mass hysteria. The students came to their senses. The guards (and NYC policemen if memory serves) managed to usher them out to safety.

Once, on two consecutive days, enormous Snapple dispensers on a mezzanine were pushed to the floor below. Vending machines had to be removed for the students’ safety. On another occasion, two chairs were chucked out of the building, injuring a woman below. Bad press and silly excuses ensued. Another time, word spread that a gang of girls was going to beat up a Mexican girl. There was a huge crush of students who preferred to skip the next class to go see the brawl. The hallway was packed, there was pushing and shoving, causing a stampede. I was caught in it and fell to the ground; kids stepped over me elbowing each other in the crush of bodies. Eventually, a student helped me to my feet. Badly shaken, I was taken to the nurse’s office. My blood pressure was dangerously high; I was encouraged to see a doctor, but declined. My husband came and brought me home.

Shortly thereafter, the teachers union (United Federation of Teachers, or UFT) fought the Department of Education, which had recently loosened the already lax disciplinary rulings. They organized a press conference and asked me to speak at it about the worsening security situation. The principal refused me permission to leave even though my supportive assistant principal found a fellow language teacher to take over my classes. As soon as school was out, though, a union rep implored me to rush downtown with him as the press conference was still going on. Questioned by reporters in front of the cameras, I spoke about the stampede. There was a brief segment on the local evening news.  The principal was furious, and the next morning screamed at me in the lobby that I was a publicity seeker who just wanted to give the school a bad name. However, the UFT was successful in this case, as the former, less inadequate disciplinary measures were restored, and things went back to their usual level of simmering chaos.

Although it was clear that my generally robust mental state was deteriorating, I did not want to quit. The UFT encouraged me to go into counseling; I didn’t see the point but acquiesced and agreed to see one of their social workers for therapy. Her stance seemed to be, “What is a nice girl like you doing in a place like that?” I started to write about the situation to people in authority. The UFT president Randi Weingarten and the DoE head Joel Klein were among the recipients of my letters detailing the problems we faced. I visited my local city councilman, who listened politely. I did not receive a single response.

Soon thereafter, my beloved husband died after a brief illness. The students knew, so were somewhat subdued when I returned to work. But one afternoon a girl, I forget why, muttered “you fucking bitch.” I finally broke. I screamed at the whole class and insisted that they all get out of the classroom. Furiously. Any physical contact was strictly forbidden between staff and students, so my voice alone did the job. It was also strictly forbidden to send one student out of the classroom, never mind the whole class. The good-hearted teacher next door came to my aid. The administration took pity on me and did not press charges.

In the meantime, the UFT somehow found the “nice girl” a job at Brooklyn Technical High School. There was one going for a French and Italian teacher, as there were not enough classes for another full-time French teacher.

Brooklyn Tech, 2004–2009

Brooklyn Tech was considered one of New York’s “top three” high schools. Students had to test in. My first principal was a big, jolly black man, but he got caught on a minor offense and was sent packing. His misdeed was bringing his daughter to school in New York from their home in New Jersey, which, although against the rules, was hardly unheard of. There was a $20 million restructuring fund in the offing for his replacement. The new principal ended the unruly after-school program that purportedly prepared underprivileged children for the entrance exam. Disruptive behavior subsequently dropped considerably.

The new principal ‘s word was law. Under the last-in-first-out system, my job was never secure. Most students were the children of recently arrived immigrants from Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. A minority were from older Irish and Jewish immigrant families. The many obvious cultural differences were fascinating.

Our assistant principal was an amusing old cynic who loved a hassle-free life. Under him, teaching was a pleasure. It was hard work, as classes were large and students handed in assignments to be graded, but it was rewarding. On Friday afternoons he would announce, “Okay, girls and boys, it’s time to go to the bank,” our signal that we could leave with impunity before the legally stipulated hour. However, some teachers always stayed behind for hours on end to avoid bringing work home.

Despite the disruptive students at first, the classes were manageable. What the youngsters lacked in academic rigor, they made up for in verve. However, as the years passed, micro-management became more burdensome. Supervision became stricter, with multiple class visits and more meetings. Some “experts” up the DoE ladder decided that we had to produce written evidence that our lesson plans conformed to a rigid formula. The new directives did not take into account that foreign-language teaching requires instilling four different skill sets (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) and therefore a different, more flexible methodological approach. Unfortunately, our easy-going assistant principal had his fill of the worsening bureaucratic overload and retired. Instead of an eccentric opera buff with a sense of humor, an obedient apparatchik would enforce the new rules. 

In the spring of my 5th year there, he informed me that I had been chosen to replace the Advanced Placement French teacher, as her results were poor. I did the AP training course and prepared for the new challenge that would begin in September. The day before school began, however, he phoned to say that my job was terminated. “There wasn’t enough interest in French” to justify my position, apparently. This was despite vociferous protests from students and parents. I would like to know if, as a member of the UFT’s advisory council, I had asked the principal too many questions. He was so kind as to find me a place at a “boutique” school way down in Brooklyn’s Flatlands.

Victory Collegiate High School, 2009–2010

Victory Collegiate High School seemed promising. It could boast of Bill Gates money, and was one of only two or three new experimental schools co-located in what was once the venerable South Shore High School. It served the local, partly middle-class, partly ghettoized black community. The principal informed me proudly that the students wore uniforms, and no cellphones were allowed. The classes were tiny in comparison to other high schools, and there were no disciplinary problems.

Despite the devastating blow to my career, I set out hopefully on the long commute to Canarsie. The metal detectors should have clued me in. Any pretense of imposing uniforms was eventually abandoned. Cellphones were a constant nuisance. Administrators turned a blind eye to the widespread anti-social behavior.

It would be repetitive to go over the plentiful examples of the abuse teachers suffered at the hands of the students. Suffice it to say, it was Washington Irving all over again, but in miniature. The principal talked a good game, believing that giving “shout-outs” and being a pal to the students were accomplishing great things, but he actually had precious little control over them. What made matters worse, the teaching corps was a young, idealistic group, largely recruited from the non-profit Teach For America, not the leathery veterans who constituted a majority at the two previous schools. I was a weird anomaly to these youngsters. What? I didn’t feel pity for these poor children? I didn’t take it for granted that they would abuse us? The new teachers were fervent believers in the prevailing ideology that the students’ bad behavior was to be expected, and that we should educate them without question according to the hip attitudes reflected in the total absence of good literature or grammar, and a sense of history that emphasized grievance. 

One example of the “literature” we were expected to teach was as racist as it was obscene. The main character was an obese, pregnant 14 year-old dropout. The argot in which it was written was probably not all that familiar to many of the students. Appalled, I asked an English teacher why the students had to read this rubbish. She was shocked at the question: we have to teach “literature the kids can relate to.” Why on earth did the school system believe that such a depraved environment as depicted in this book was representative of the very mixed group of families that inhabited the area, many of whom were led by middle-class professionals from the Caribbean? The “language arts” department (the word “English” was too Euro-centric) made one obligatory bow to Shakespeare—a version of “Romeo and Juliet” reduced to a few hundred words. It was common knowledge that the Bard was “overrated.” 

My small classes faced a large photograph of Barack Obama displayed proudly in front of the classroom over the title “Notre Président.” The picture resonated as little with the students as the Pledge of Allegiance. Like at Washington Irving, all I managed to do was to get them to stand for it and sing some songs. I did have the rueful satisfaction towards the end of the year, however, of being told after the class trip, “Mary, you won’t believe it! The kids sang French songs all the way to Washington!”

In the classroom, the children did as they pleased. Since the classes were smaller, some students managed to learn a bit of French, but most obdurately ignored me. One memorable 16 year-old fresh from Chicago loved French but was contemptuous of me. She was tall and slender, quite beautiful, and in love, it seemed, with another girl in the class, who was not blessed with similar beauty. Throughout the year they were an item. I finally managed to separate them, insisting that they change seats when it became increasingly difficult to stop them from necking in the classroom. That was when, despite her love of French, the Chicago girl left my class never to return, except once, when we were watching a movie. She came in, sat down and watched with us, breezing out again at the film’s end. This was not unusual behavior. Some students had the run of the hallways, wandering around as they pleased.

As before, students engaged fully in the ancillary aspects of high school life. As before, I tried to encourage them to engage in the learning process. On one memorable occasion, I said to them: “You are not here to play, you are here to develop your intellect.” The puzzled stares this remark elicited spoke volumes. It seemed an utterly new concept to them.

The school had an exceptionally good math teacher, among other excellent ones. In November, students sat for the preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test that all juniors were required to do in preparation for the real thing in the spring. I had to proctor the first half. As instructed, I walked up and down the aisles keeping an eye on things. It all went smoothly. When the language section was over and the math part began, however, students stopped working. They sat there staring at the desk. I quietly encouraged them to make an effort, but the general response was, “I ain’t doin’ it, miss, it’s too hard.” I could not get them to change their minds; they sat doing nothing for the rest of my shift.

The preliminary test results that came back in the spring were abysmally low—despite the fact that every single response bubble on the math test had been filled in. Either the next proctor forced the kids to randomly fill in the bubbles, or some administrators did so, another example of the rampant deceit the school system indulges.

After the terrible 2010 earthquake in Haiti, a number of Haitians joined the school. These youngsters were remarkable for their good manners and desire to learn, for their outstanding gentility in fact. They provided a most refreshing change, but it didn’t last. They quickly fell into the trap of hostile resistance.

By June, things were really depressing. Not only was the academic year an utter failure, word spread that 10 girls had become pregnant. Since there were only about 90 girls in the school, this represented over 10 percent. The majority of the pregnant girls were freshmen, targeted it was said by a few “baby daddies” who prided themselves on their prowess and evolutionary success. One of them, however, was the beautiful “lesbian” from Chicago. As her jilted partner moped around, cut to the quick, it was impossible not to feel terrible for her.

Once again, I finally and suddenly broke. The threat was from an unlikely source, a big lad who was always subdued. He was in the special education program, and never gave any trouble when I substituted in that class. But one afternoon, for some unknowable reason, this usually gentle giant came up to me and said, “I gonna cut yo’ ass.” That was the final humiliation I would suffer in the New York City public school system. 

I left that afternoon never to return. I left much behind: trinkets I’d brought from France, hoping to use them as prizes for the highest achievers; my beautiful edition of Les Fables de Jean de la Fontaine; class records, French magazines, CDs and other educational materials. But I brought away something priceless: an insider’s knowledge of a corrupt system.

One teacher phoned me to say that in her culture “I gonna cut yo’ ass” should not be taken literally, it just meant that he would teach me a lesson. “I don’t care,” I replied. Another called to express her astonishment that I would abandon my students. Why on earth did that matter, I answered, they hadn’t learned anything anyway. The school would hand out passing grades no matter what I did. 

*     *     *

It is not poor teaching or a lack of money that is failing our most vulnerable populations. The real problem is an ethos of rejection that has never been openly admitted by those in authority.

Why should millions of perfectly normal adolescents, not all of them ghettoized, resist being educated? The reason is that they know deep down that due to the color of their skin, less is expected of them. This they deeply resent. How could they not resent being seen as less capable? It makes perfect psychological sense. Being very young, however, they cannot articulate their resentment, or understand the reasons for it, especially since the adults in charge hide the truth. So they take out their rage on the only ones they can: themselves and their teachers.

They also take revenge on a fraudulent system that pretends to educate them. The authorities cover up their own incompetence, and when that fails, blame the parents and teachers, or lack of funding, or “poverty,” “racism,” and so on. The media follow suit. Starting with our lawmakers, the whole country swallows the lie. 

Why do precious few adults admit the truth out loud? Because in America the taboo against questioning the current orthodoxy on race is too strong and the price is too high. What is failing our most vulnerable populations is the lack of political will to acknowledge and solve the real problems. The first step is to change the ”anti-discrimination” laws that breed anti-social behavior. Disruptive students must be removed from the classroom, not to punish them but to protect the majority of students who want to learn.

bureaucracy, children, education, government, racism

Filed under: bureaucracy, children, education, government, racism

Public education and hyper speed sex ed

original article: Sex Ed and Stalinism at the Local School Board
February 13, 2018 by AUSTIN RUSE

I usually avoid really sick, appalling spectacles. I skip movies like Saw. But last Thursday I saw something worse. I went to the sex-education committee meeting of the Fairfax County School Board. I have never seen anything as shocking.

Understand, that I have sat through years of shocking meetings. My day job is monitoring and lobbying the United Nations. But, I have never seen or heard anything like this. This meeting was a horror show. And a Soviet one at that.

The Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee (FLECAC, pronounced flea-cack) advises the Fairfax County School Board for the content of the sex-education lessons taught to students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

This group has come up with over 80 hours of sex-education for these poor kids. And some of it is straight-up pornography.

Rich, Leftist, and Libertine

This school district in Northern Virginia, one of the largest and richest in the country, is among the most leftist in the country. No big surprise there. Twenty-five years ago, they were already promoting “Two Mommies” to the little tots.

But the sexual revolution ideology kicked into hyper speed a few years ago. Fairfax leftists put transgender ideology into schools a full year before Barack Obama’s Department of Education mandated it for the rest of the schools in the country. Last year the Trump administration cancelled the mandate, though Fairfax County is clinging onto it.

This committee has long embraced the rest of the LGBT program. “Oral sex” is introduced to kids as young as 12.  Thirteen year olds are told about “anal sex” 18 separate times in one year’s lessons.

The FLECAC committee is made up of about two dozen people. They’re appointed by the overwhelmingly leftist Fairfax County School Board. Four voting members are students, chosen no doubt because they’re members of student LGBT clubs, and most other members appear to be teachers and administrators.

If the idea behind the committee is to get community input, why stack it with people on the county payroll?

The School Board’s Supreme Soviet

Last Thursday night, two regular citizen members of the committee tried to offer amendments to the curriculum. What happened to them is right out of the Politburo of the Supreme Soviet.

The subject was the phrase “sex assigned at birth,” which appears numerous times in the lessons. This is a politically-charged slogan that teaches that it’s wrong for a delivery room doctor to say a penis means boy or a vagina means girl. A child should be left to his own gender choice later in life.

One citizen member made a motion to remove this phrase from the lessons and to simply use the word “sex” instead. Through parliamentary maneuvers, other members of the committee made sure the amendment was put off indefinitely without debate. The vote to cut off debate and never speak about it again passed 23-3.

The member who offered the amendment asked for a roll call, so that those voting to keep in “sex assigned at birth” would have their names associated with their votes. The motion for a roll call was killed by voice vote.

No debate, no accountability.

Another citizen member made a motion that, somewhere in the numerous lessons about various contraceptive methods taught beginning in eighth grade, there ought to be something about the possible health risks of certain contraceptives.

This, too, was shut down without debate, by a vote of 23-3. A roll call of the vote was shouted down by voice vote.

Hush, Adults Are Listening

The first citizen member made a motion to include a discussion in the lessons about the health risks associated with hormonal and surgical “transitioning.” This, too, was not allowed.

One county employee member asked why there was no lesson on anal sex for the seventh graders. There was oral sex, but why was anal sex missing? The chairman of the committee assured her that the anal sex begins with lessons in the eighth grade.

This revealing moment was followed by another: The chairman actually apologized, with a nervous laugh, for using those graphic terms.

Did it not occur to her, or anyone else on the committee, that she was apologizing to the adults in the room for using words that are scripted into the lessons they have created for children?

It was clear to me that much of the reaction to these motions was a kind of animus toward traditional morality. The glee with which the majority cut off the legitimate concerns of the minority was breathtaking.

Christians as the Taliban

One new member of the committee is a democratic activist named Daniel Press. He was the one who was most vociferous that these motions not only be trashed, but that they not even be discussed. On his Facebook page he calls Christians the Taliban and has an image of Christ on the cross over the mocking words: “Total Winner.”

The other thing that struck me was the sheep-like attitude of most of the members of the committee. There were a few loudmouth ideologues, to be sure.  One student member treated us to an anti-American diatribe ending with the charge that transphobia stems from white supremacy. For the most part the members were silent. But they were lickety-split to raise their hands whenever called upon to vote against debate, discussion, and accountability. That they could not allow.

Finally, it’s remarkable how fast such new and fantastical notions have entered the leftist mindset. The notion of “sex assigned at birth” was itself born just a few years ago. And yet, these people are so certain of its truth, they clap hands on their ears to avoid hearing anything contradictory. Even more, they clap their hands on the mouths of anyone who might want to question this new tenet of faith.

Blind Faith, False Faith

This brings to mind two things: brainwashing, and bad religion. The committee members may not know it, but they have been brainwashed to believe things that are simply not supported by either science or reason. Theirs is faith plain and simple, and the worst kind of faith, the kind that contradicts reason, the kind that can only be imposed. Theirs is a blind faith, taking as gospel whatever the sexual zeitgeist vomits forth.

And so what are parents to do? Opt their kids out of Family Life Education and take over the school board. One is easy, but both are necessary. Sexual Stalinism, of the kind I witnessed a few nights ago, has no place in the education of our children.

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anti-religion, bias, bigotry, bureaucracy, children, corruption, cover up, culture, education, elitism, ethics, extremism, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, public policy, reform, scandal

Filed under: anti-religion, bias, bigotry, bureaucracy, children, corruption, cover up, culture, education, elitism, ethics, extremism, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, public policy, reform, scandal

A mom’s/teacher’s experience shows big bureaucracy usurps the will of the people

original article: How Common Core Taught Me Bureaucrats Will Always Win Unless We Slash Big Government
January 3, 2018 by Jenni White

 

During summer 2010, while researching an article to address yet another tax-and-spend initiative to fund public schools, I stumbled upon a 33-page state law passed that spring titled “Schools; relating to teacher incentive pay plans; modifying requirements.”

Although a portion of the legislation did address teacher incentive pay, the bulk was used to establish a state longitudinal database, a “Teacher/Leader Effectiveness Evaluation” (TLE) system, a way to “turn around” low-performing schools, and institute something called the “Common Core State Standards” into Oklahoma policy with a single sentence.

A Google search led me to discover that cementing these four programs into state law increased the likelihood of our state receiving Race to the Top grants from the Obama administration. As a former public school teacher, the change in educational landscape represented by even one, let alone four, of these programs concerned me. As a small government gal and a parent with kids in public school, I wanted to know why our state would institute a whole raft of new, untested, educational programs just to get federal funds.

In June 2011, after months of investigation aimed at answering these questions, I published a paper with 179 references entitled “Common Core State Standards and Race to the Top; An Introduction to Marxism 101.”

Oklahoma’s Common Core Repeal

From 2011 to 2014, the Common Core Four, as National Review dubbed us, fought Common Core and student data collection in the Oklahoma legislature. We logged hours and hours of travel across the state and country, showing up anywhere we were invited—mostly Republican women’s clubs—where I talked about Common Core. Eventually I found myself on radio and news shows from Utah to Florida, including national media programs like Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, and NPR, discussing my research.

Finally, and many thanks to the Herculean efforts of state Sen. Josh Brecheen and state Rep. Jason Nelson, a law repealing Common Core and requiring the state to develop new “Oklahoma standards” was passed the last day of the 2014 legislative session. Following a state Supreme Court ruling denying a lawsuit to scuttle the bill, from Common Core supporters including four State Board of Education appointees, Gov. Mary Fallin signed the bill June 5.

By the time school started in the fall, we were fielding question after question through our Facebook page akin to, “They’re still teaching Common Core at our school! What do I do?”

I was not surprised that schools would continue to use Common Core curricula, but was surprised it was so blatantly done and with so little regard for the law. This turned out to be the least of my surprises. After an exhaustive search for an answer, the biggest shock we got was that we’d overlooked the most important part of House Bill 3399—an enforcement mechanism.

Unfortunately, our hard-fought, hard-won Common Core repeal bill was little more than a suggestion at best. Nowhere in its endless legalese did it address punitive action for continued use of Common Core. Other than contacting their local district attorneys (which several parents did and were ignored, with replies  of “Why would we spend money going after Common Core ‘law breakers’ when we’ve got meth labs on every corner?”) we were told parents should run for local school boards to keep it out of their schools.

After licking our wounds from this setback, we pulled up our big girl panties and prepared to watchdog the curriculum mandates re-write process, thinking we’d see Common Core end there.

Oklahoma’s Common Core Standards Re-Write Saga

The standards re-write process began in earnest in January 2015 under direction of a new state superintendent. In February, Dr. Sandra Stotsky—an education policy powerhouse and member of the Common Core State Standards Validation Committee who refused to sign off—and Dr. Larry Gray, a math professor at the University of Minnesota, were among four experts asked to testify before the Standards Process Steering Committee about how Oklahoma’s new academic standards (OAS) could advance beyond Common Core.

Very long story short, after producing critiques of all four subsequently released standards drafts, Reclaim Oklahoma Parent Empowerment, the grassroots organization I help lead, asked the legislature to grant more time to the re-write process before officially making OAS the state’s new curriculum and testing mandates. From that moment on, the Oklahoma education establishment (#oklaed) engaged in a series of social media attacks against ROPE, and me personally, to marginalize us as “tinfoil hats” for suggesting any overlap between OAS and Common Core, and me as a hater of public education.

Leo Baxter, a state school board member who sued to stop the Common Core repeal, was especially vocal, taking to social media every moment he could, at one point calling Stotsky an “arrogant miscreant” (while misspelling Massachusetts).

Rather than stand their ground against a vocal, largely uncivil, minority of Oklahoma teachers, the Oklahoma senate gaveled out of session rather than vote on Oklahoma’s new “Oklahoma Academic Standards” (OAS). On March 28, 2016, OAS became law through administrative processes written in the bill, leaving Oklahomans who fought desperately for better education standards with nothing for all our years of citizen advocacy.

Oklahoma and Common Core Today: One Teacher’s View

Emotionally spent after years of fighting government for better education opportunities only to end up very publicly attacked, I wrote a blog post detailing all the ways I’d come to believe Common Core had beaten us despite Oklahoma’s repeal. I stand behind every observation today, but I wanted to know if others had the same pessimistic conclusions, so I interviewed several.

Sandy Harrell, an Oklahoma math teacher who participated in the “Common Core Is Not OK” pushback, at first assured me, “Common Core is not gone from Oklahoma classrooms,” before telling me how unclear the new mandates are, echoing a common complaint about OAS. The thing that frustrates her most however, is the fact that, “Some teachers and administrators thought adopting CC was a step in the right direction. There are teachers who still use CC in their classrooms because they think it superior to OAS.”

An April 2015 article in the Hechinger Report called “Gone but not forgotten? Common Core lingers after Oklahoma’s repeal” reinforces Sandy’s point. Here, the author interviews several Oklahoma teachers including Oklahoma teacher of the year (2009) Heather Sparks, who admits that not only does she use Common Core-aligned teaching materials, she also writes Common Core-aligned lesson plans for a teaching website.

Harrell told me many of her fellow teachers are “grasping at straws” to satisfy OAS with limited budgets and outdated resources. This often leads them to reach for curricula from outside suppliers, which correlate OAS and CC math standards.

“I’m curious how Smith Curriculum and Consulting can equate each OAS and CC standard to provide teaching resources if the two sets of standards are not closely related, as some OSDE employees have claimed,” Harrell said. “As a teacher, I have to be able to justify every lesson and method I teach. I have yet to hear anyone justify why CC is superior to PASS [Oklahoma’s previous academic standards].”

Oklahoma and Common Core Today: A Legislator Responds

Josh Brecheen, the Oklahoma state senator responsible in great part for HB3399, told me, “It’s a teacher by teacher decision as to whether they are bringing Common Core aligned curriculum into the classroom. It’s my hope teachers continue to honor the wish of Oklahomans who voiced their opposition to the Common Core State Standards through their elected officials.”

For Brecheen, the biggest threat to Common Core independence in Oklahoma has to do with the new state superintendent’s desire to have taxpayers pay for every high school junior to take the ACT, a college entrance exam controlled by a private company.

“ACT is known to be aligned to the Common Core and if a teacher uses Common Core curriculum, rationalizing it will prepare students for the ACT exam, this undermines HB3399 and ultimately, the voice of parents in our state,” Brecheen said.

Interestingly, the information regarding ACT’s alignment with Common Core has since been scrubbed from its website. Thankfully, my experience with disappearing pages from the Common Core webpage taught me to take lots of screenshots.

The senator also believes using the ACT in such a way “puts private companies in charge of what is being taught in our state and not teachers and parents,” yet most Oklahoma lawmakers, as well as those in many other states, seemed largely content to mandate ACT for all juniors. “National curriculum uniformity driven by company profits and a national marketplace for their goods and service offerings will stagnate educational improvement long term as well as threaten each state’s traditional values,” Brecheen says.

Oklahoma and Common Core Today: A Parent’s Take

Like many Oklahoma parents, Melissa Wilkins watched her third grader, Ashlyn, turn into someone she didn’t know during the 2014 school year.

“We started every morning with a fight because she constantly complained of a stomach ache and cried because she didn’t want to go to school,” she said. “We would finally get her around and out the door to catch the bus, and then I would catch myself almost dreading her walking back in the door after school. It wasn’t uncommon for her to walk in the door, hit or kick her baby brother for no reason, and then run back to her bedroom where she would yell or cry, again for no reason I could understand.”

After talking to another parent, she found her daughter’s school was implementing Common Core math and English just in time to take the state’s new third-grade reading test, the results of which could keep her from moving to fourth grade. While taking part in Common Core repeal activities, she also met many times with Ashlyn’s teacher, wondering why her daughter had slipped from a fifth-grade reading level to barely above third grade.

When she saw her daughter’s practice tests, “I was appalled,” she said. “Not only was the content immoral, but the questions were so subjective that there simply could be no right or wrong answer.”

After fighting so hard for her kids’ education, Wilkens’ life changed once Common Core was repealed. Through her advocacy on Common Core, she became interested in “alternative means” of education, because her four children “all have very different approaches to learning.”

Wilkens homeschooled her other two children for a year, after which she enrolled them in an Oklahoma online charter school. Wilkens continues to be frustrated by numerous reading assignments given to her oldest son, who was required to read graphic, anti-Christian literature in his senior English class.

“Is Common Core dead in Oklahoma? I would say no,” Wilkens says. “Am I better prepared to lead my children through the challenges posed by this toxic set of standards? Yes! Being a political activist cannot be my primary role, but I will never again be scared to dig deeper when my gut tells me something isn’t right.”

Oklahoma and Common Core Today: A Teacher of Teachers

Barbara McClanahan is an associate professor of educational instruction at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Early in our fight, we were asked to give a presentation in the far southeast part of the state, where we met this diminutive powerhouse who had done all her own research on Common Core and come to the same conclusions. Until Common Core was repealed, she spent her time like we did: testifying before government committees, writing, and traipsing about talking to anyone who would listen.

Barbara says, “In the fall of 2011…I began to have my teacher candidates attempt to apply the new CC standards to the lesson plans they were required to write for 1st-3rd grade students. We began to discover that the standards components for these age groups and grade levels simply did not match the developmental concepts they were learning about in their textbooks. I became quite frustrated and began looking outside my institution, which seemed to have no answers, for an explanation.”

To her the Common Core victory was hollow, she says, in part because both Oklahoma City Public Schools and Tulsa Public Schools loudly proclaimed their continued use, but also because the standards don’t help children learn to read well. In the end, she says, her position on standards changed.

“Whereas I used to feel that standards were a useful tool, the fact that they have been co-opted in the service of high-stakes standardized tests makes their usefulness highly questionable. Standards, in the end, lead to standardization, which is fine for widgets, but not for children,” Barbara says.

And What About Me?

I learned through this process that education policy in this country simply can’t be shifted by citizens anymore because there are too many moving parts and entrenched policy makers tied to progressive education methods to have any real impact. So I quit fighting for public education.

Part of me hates that, but I was beginning to look a bit like the Elephant Man from banging my head into unmovable walls, and my husband and kids deserved more of my attention. Today, I help run our small farm, teach three classes at our homeschool co-op, and drive my kids’ studies like a good natured tyrant.

If I learned anything from Common Core, I learned that local is the answer to nearly every government problem, and I turned my attention to my tiny Oklahoma town of 2,700 where, in April, I became mayor. Now I fight battles largely winnable, in a picturesque little town on a plot of land where I can see both the sunrise and sunset, and pray that national public education will get better despite the near impossibility of parents and local voters to significantly affect it.

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bureaucracy, children, culture, education, government, indoctrination, legislation, legislature, marxism, nanny state, politics, public policy, reform, tragedy

Filed under: bureaucracy, children, culture, education, government, indoctrination, legislation, legislature, marxism, nanny state, politics, public policy, reform, tragedy

Is your elementary student being instructed with sexualized propaganda?

original article: California elementary schools to use pro-LGBT history textbooks
November 14, 2017 by Dorothy Cummings McLean

 

Children in California will be learning to identify historical personages by their sexuality.

The Advocate reported that the California state board of education approved “10 LGBT-inclusive history textbooks” for elementary school students in grades K-8 last week. It also rejected two textbooks on the grounds that they did not include “LGBT history.” The exclusion of LGBT history violates California’s FAIR Education Act.

The FAIR Education Act, once informally called the LGBT History Bill, was written by Senator Mark Leno. FAIR stands for “Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful.” It ensures that the political, economic and social contributions of people with disabilities as well as those people identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender are included in textbooks of California’s state-funded schools. It also added sexual orientation and religion to a list of characteristics that California schools already could not present in a negative way.

In 2008, Mark Leno became the first openly gay man to be elected to the California State Senate. He introduced the LGBT History Bill in 2011. Fifty-eight other bills penned by Leno were made into law, including the California Universal HealthCare Act and the establishment of Harvey Milk Day in California.

When the LGBT History Bill was presented, there was opposition from traditional family organizations. Candi Cushman of Focus on the Family told LifeSiteNews that the Bill was unnecessary because “California has some of the most pro-active laws in the nation in this regard already on the books.”

Cushman added, “The appropriate emphasis in history books and social science books is to honor people because of their contributions. It just seems kind of crazy to be promoting them based on their political or sexual identity. You wouldn’t want to leave people out based on that, but neither do you want to base the entire reason that they’re included in history on sexual identity. It should be based on their historical contributions.”

However, homosexual rights advocates welcome the new LBGT-inclusive textbooks. Rick Zbur, head of Equality California, told the Advocate that this “is the next step for California students to learn about the contributions of LGBT people.”

“Approval of these textbooks means that California schools will now have access to approved materials that accurately represent LGBTQ people … ”

Renata Moreira, executive director of the pro-homosexuality Our Family Coalition, told the Advocate that “LGBTQ students, and those with LGBTQ families, will finally be able to see themselves and our history accurately reflected in textbooks in California.

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bias, children, culture, diversity, education, homosexuality, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, sex

Filed under: bias, children, culture, diversity, education, homosexuality, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, sex

The importance of society being rooted in marriage between one man and one woman

original article: Defense of Marriage Is a Social Justice Issue, Scholar Says
October 10, 2013

 

Maintaining marriage as a union between a man and a woman is a matter of social justice, said Ryan Anderson, a political scholar and editor of the online journal Public Discourse, in a recent talk.

Speaking to students at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Anderson acknowledged that efforts to redefine marriage are often characterized as being rooted in a sense of justice.

However, he said, the case against redefining marriage is actually an argument based upon justice, “precisely because marriage exists as the prime institution of social justice that guarantees and protects the rights and well-being of children.”

“If you care about social justice and you care about limited government; if you care about the poor and you care about freedom – it’s better served by a healthy marriage culture than by government picking up the pieces of a broken marriage culture.”

Anderson, a Ph.D. candidate in political philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, is also co-author of the book, “What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense.”

Determining marriage’s definition and limits is the primary concern of the marriage debate, Anderson said in his Oct. 9 talk.

“Everyone wants marriage equality: we all want the government to treat all marriages as equal, but that begs the question – what is marriage?

He explained that many of those who promote the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples understand marriage to be an intense kind of romantic relationship between sexual partners. In this view of marriage, adult desires and sexual needs are of primary concern, and the needs of children produced by such a union are secondary.

However, this understanding of marriage is lacking, Anderson said, as it does not take into account the needs of children, “nor can it describe or define or defend” the norms surrounding marriage, such as why government is involved in it; its restriction to two people; why it is sexual; and why it should be permanent.

This understanding of marriage “makes it more about the desires of adults and less about children” and their needs, said Anderson, adding that “the consequence of redefining marriage is that more people will think of their relationship in those terms and that it will produce bad social outcomes, especially for children.”

But across diverse societies and throughout history, he contended, marriage has been understood as a “comprehensive union” in which man and woman become “one flesh,” particularly in their ability to create children. As a whole, in this understanding, “marriage is ordered to the comprehensive good in the creation and raising of children.”

This understanding is also “based on the social reality that children deserve a mother and a father” and that “there’s something about gender that matters” in the raising of children.

“There is no parenting in the abstract: there is mothering and there is fathering,” he said, and both mothers and fathers “bring different gifts” to children.

He pointed to studies examining socio-economic factors, which show that children raised by their biological mothers and fathers fare better than those raised by other family structures, particularly same-sex parents.

In addition, Anderson observed that “the breakdown of the family” in the latter half of the 20th century was accompanied by a rise in social dysfunction, marked by a widespread number of indicators ranging from school performance to crime rates to decreased adult happiness. These indicators show a marked correlation with fatherlessness rates in the home.

Mothers are always present at a child’s birth, the scholar continued. “The question for culture is whether a father will be present, and if so, for how long?”

“If you redefine marriage in law, there will be no institution left that even holds as an idea the right of a child to have a relationship with both a mother and a father.”

Such a redefinition “holds up in law that men and women are functionally interchangeable” thus preventing the law from teaching “that fathers are essential.” Rather, it “will make fathers optional,” likely compounding the already-existing consequences of fatherlessness in society.

“If you care about the poor, what can we do to make it more likely that these men commit to the women that they are in relationships with, and then take responsibility for the children that they create?” Anderson asked.

“The reason why the state is in the marriage business is to maximize the opportunity that every child will be raised by a mother and a father, and preferably by the mother and the father that created the child,” he said.

“The state wants to ensure that a man and a woman commit to each other as husband and wife, permanently and exclusively,” he stressed, “and when this doesn’t happen, the social costs run high.”

children, culture, family, ideology, philosophy, public policy, reform, relativism, unintended consequences

Filed under: children, culture, family, ideology, philosophy, public policy, reform, relativism, unintended consequences

She assured me this sort of thing would not happen, nonetheless it is happening

original article: A sixth-grade teacher tried to pull a fast one on parents by assigning a sexual orientation quiz
October 13, 2017 by Pat Gray

Parents in an Atlanta suburb were not happy when they found out their children were subjected to a sexual orientation and gender identity quiz by their sixth-grade teacher at Lithonia Middle School.

The quiz included wildly inappropriate fill in the blank questions regarding sexual preferences and suggestive references to homosexuality and transgenderism, but parents were having none of it.

“Why are they teaching that in school? What does that have to do with life?” an infuriated Octavia Parks told Fox 5 Atlanta.

“We’re talking about a sixth grader who still watches Nickelodeon. I’m not ready to explain what these words are nor what they mean,” said Parks.

The district is currently investigating. Pat pulled no punches when he got wind of the story and praised the parents for standing up to this kind of stuff but highlighted the double standard. Check out what he had to say in the clip.

To see more from Pat, visit his channel on TheBlazeand listen live to “Pat Gray Unleashed” with Pat Gray weekdays 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. ET, only on TheBlaze Radio 

children, corruption, culture, diversity, education, homosexuality, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, scandal, sex

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