Our Public Schools

This is the latest fad of the California public school system:

Everyday there’s a new reason for parents of modest means to wish they had more choices in educating their children. The latest is the seemingly relentless drive to turn public education into a form of social engineering even as schools fail in their primary mission of teaching basic skills.

Exhibit A is a bill that just passed the California State Senate on a 22 to 15 vote. The bill would impose a statewide mandate requiring all schools to create a “bias-free” curriculum that recognizes the contributions of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community (known as LGBT for short). Written by Senator Sheila Kuehl of Santa Monica and backed by the California Federation of Teachers, the bill envisions such things as identifying historical figures as gay when they are discussed in class. A closer reading makes it clear there is also an intent to discourage any disparaging references to anyone who’s gay, even if the comments are unrelated to the subject’s sexuality.

Ms. Kuehl’s backstory has inevitably become part of the debate. She played Zelda in the 50s sitcom “Dobie Gillis,” but rumors about her sexuality allegedly prevented her from having a bigger run in Hollywood, launching her on a career as an activist and politician. As for the specifics of what might be taught in future California textbooks, Democratic Senator Gloria Romero said she hoped they included mention of Sen. Kuehl’s pioneering role in advancing gay rights. “I don’t see how we’re going to understand what she’s accomplished without knowing who she is,” Ms. Romero told fellow senators.

It used to be that legislators were satisfied to have a public building named after themselves. We may now be entering a brave new world where some of them expect also to be immortalized in the curriculum.

Ms. Kuehl says her bill merely builds on current efforts to have public schools foster the acceptance of women and minorities. But many public schools have instead turned into bastions of political correctness in which homage to “diversity” has become a type of secular religion. I suspect backers of Ms. Kuehl’s bill are hoping it squelches any opposition to same-sex marriage or public financing of sex-change operations from being expressed in class. Senator Kuehl says the goal merely is to instill a sense of pride in gay students. Randy Thomasson, a spokesman for parents opposed to the change, was skeptical: “I seriously doubt California students will excel from learning about our leaders based on who they slept with.” He also noted the national implications of rewriting California textbooks to be gay-friendly, given that the state represents 12% of the nation’s textbook market.

14 Responses to “Our Public Schools”

  1. kelly says:

    Yeah, let’s not try and teach tolerance to the kids. Students being academically educated while at the same time learning about ALL people in the world in which they live would be very, very BAD. Let’s make sure they go to private or selective voucher schools where they can be sheletered (hidden) from the real world. There they can be academically educated without the “nuisance” of having to deal with our wonderfully diverse nation.


    HP – Honestly, you are killing me here.

  2. There is teaching tolerance, and than there is brainwashing, this certainly falls in the latter.

    For example, being the tolerant person that you are, how supportive would you be of having military soldiers come into the classroom and discuss the virtues of being a United States soldier? Or banning in the classroom any negative views and only allowing positive views of United States military power throughout the world? Would you be supportive of that? In other words, there is such a thing as politicizing an issue and taking it to levels far above merely teaching ‘tolerance’.

  3. Lizzy Liz says:

    what does your sexual prefrence have to do with education. It makes no sense. I do not agree.It is the parents choice to make there children aware of whats going on today in society. Not for our schools to taint there innocent minds. That is the problem today accepting everything society throws at us.

  4. DD says:

    If the California school system is going to pass an ‘bias-free’ bill…….why not pass a ‘bias-free’ bill that has to do with other ‘life-styles’ or ‘ideologies’, i.e., intelligent design?

    We are talking about ‘biases’ right?

    Let’s teach TOLERANCE on other ideologies and belief systems if they are going to continue to use that argument. 😉

  5. kelly says:

    Brainwashing? Do you honestly feel that teachers are going to come out and teach homosexual lifestyles to kids? Come on! That is not the purpose of bias-free curriculum. The purpose is so that we teach kids to be accepting (tolerant) of all people. Do you know how common it is to hear kids say “that’s so gay” or “faggot” for example? That kind of language is totally unacceptable. What they don’t realize is that it is hateful speech.

    Now let’s talk about your soldiers. Yes. The thought of soldiers in the classroom is not one that makes me happy. It all depends on the circumstance though. If the soldier were to come in to the classroom and no other community people were to come in then absolutely not because I would be pushing an agenda with my students. If the soldier came in along with various other community helpers such a a postal carrier, police officer, trash collector etc, this would be ok.

    Anyway, I know that there is no sense in wasting any more time on this issue since we will never, ever agree. How truly sad it is to live in a world where we have to even have discussions about tolerance. Why can’t we appreciate all people for who they are and what they bring to the table?

  6. There are many reasons why this falls under brainwashing, but for now, I will just point to a few.

    1. Most important to me is that homosexuality as a lifestyle is not a morally benign issue. Reasonable, honest, good hearted people can disagree about whether or not homosexuality as a lifestyle is morally acceptable or not. To push it on children as a defacto morally benign issue is to take sides in this debate, and is therefore trampling on the rights of families to decide their own moral direction.

    2. These are children, and frankly, they shouldn’t be hearing about homosexuality and the natural or unnaturalness of it at such an early age. When you are talking about first and second graders, whether or not they should hear this should be up to their parents, not up to educrats who don’t personally raise these children.

    3. It doesn’t allow the parents/children any other option. If, for example, the public school system supported vouchers where it gave parents the ability to opt out of this program, well then, we are talking about something different. But the same people that want to force this program down the throats of those who morally object to it, are the same people that will fight tooth and nail against any system that allows parents to send their kids to a different school. In other words, this isn’t just brainwashing, this is forced brainwashing.

    4. This isn’t merely a ‘bias free’ curriculum, this is one that goes out of its way to paint homosexuality in a positive, non-critical light. As my quote above demonstrates, “A closer reading makes it clear there is also an intent to discourage any disparaging references to anyone who’s gay, even if the comments are unrelated to the subject’s sexuality.” If that isn’t brainwashing, what is?

    As much as you want to paint it as such, this is not an issue of tolerance vs. intolerance. This is more of an issue of ‘freedom of religion’. It is like what David Horowitz says about free speech, (paraphrasing)”I may disagree with everything you say, but I will fight for your right to say it”. In other words, this is not about whether one thinks homosexual lifestyles are morally benign or not, this is about whether parents have the right to believe and teach to their children their own moral virtues, homosexuality being just one of them.

  7. Israel says:

    Kelly, let’s be honest. You want to promote homosexuality. You base your argument on the basis that we need to teach tolorence. Why can’t tolerence be taught without bringing sexuality into it? Shouldn’t we be teaching children to be nice to all people?

    When HP mentions the military, the fact that your already showing your uneaseness with the military shows that you might need some tolerence training in that department as well. After all, the military is an honorable profession. Military people should be able to come into school like any other professional alone without the premise of community helpers. It saddess me to hear teachers feel the way you do. I guess your a product of liberal college education. However, I commend you for reading HP’s website. I hope it will expand your insight into conservativism. Even if we don’t agree with each other.

  8. Kjerringa mot Strommen says:

    HP and Israel:

    Kelly is the product of a home in which ethical conduct and the Golden Rule, fairness and respect for others are paramount. She has no interest in “promoting homosexuality”. Along with all the academic knowledge and skills she is teaching her students, she would like them to grow up to be students of good character, respectful of others.

    The military is already very visible on the high school campuses (by virtue of NCLB and the dominant culture in our society). I see them every week with free access to students. They have far more access to students, in fact, than college recruiters. The other reality of the military – that the grandiose promises are not usually fulfilled, the issue of killing innocent people in a country we invaded is not presented at all. So much for “equal time”. That is not an issue of tolerance. However, disrespectful speech, “that’s so gay, that’s so retarded”, etc. is an issue that needs to be addressed. Certainly, a history text is not the only or even the most appropriate place to do this.

    Unfortunately, high school history texts have “historically” had a political agenda. One only needs to read how the “Mexican American War/La intervencion norteamericana” is depicted on either side of the border.

    Perhaps we should agree to disagree. Ad hominem remarks may make you feel better but they don’t prove your arguments.

  9. Observer says:

    “Unfortunately, high school history texts have “historically” had a political agenda.”

    -Kjerringa mot Strommen

    Well, history texts have certainly have had a social agenda and they are definitely dripping with bias. However, is it scholastically necessary to mandate via the educational standards the sexual habits of historical figures? Will we examine, for example, the how many sexual partners James Baldwin had in his life time? This is not a trivial question, for it is the sexual act between two persons of the same sex that determines if one is a homosexual. And if it is important to know that a historical figure had sex with another person of the same sex, why would it be any less important to learn the number of sexual partners he or she had?

    I’m not convinced that it is a scholarly endeavor to teach kids about the sexual practices of historical figures.

  10. For the record, in case there is any confusion, I completely second what Kjerringa mot Strommen said about Kelly. I know Kelly personally, and know her to be a very caring, hard working teacher, who deeply cares about her students well being, both educationally and ethically.

    We may disagree strongly on various issues, but Kelly’s (and Kjerringa mot Strommen, and Observer, for that matter) character and dedication to her students has never been questioned.

  11. Israel says:

    Thanks Kjerringa mot Strommen & HP!

    Kelly, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to attack you if this is how a came across. But it’s worth noting that our kids have sexuality introduce to them at very young ages. With the weaknesses of the public school system, schools need to focus on the basics first. After all, many public school are failing. Yet, we have these stories of schools focusing on historical figures because of their sexuality? I believe children would be better serve by concentration on the subjects of math, sciences and the english language. Teaching tolorence is great as long as it doesn’t delve into the nuances of sexuality. Even the mentioning of homosexuals is fine with me. After all, we have all experience great relationships with people who happen to be gay. My biggest concern though is this placing importance on someone due to their sexual orientation. Now that’s should be irrelevent.

    Have a great day all!

  12. El Profe says:

    I think the answer to all of this liberal brainwashing and tolerance drivel might be found in a close examination of Pakistan’s madrasas, with a mind to implement such a model in this fine country.
    Unlike schools in our libertine, God-hating country (which is going to hell in a hand-basket, incidentally) no tax-payer money is wasted on “teaching” “tolerance” at all because it is rightly assumed that a lifetime of strict adherence to God’s word has taught children all they need to know about “tolerating” their fellow man and about proper human sexuality. As a result, every single citizen (including some women and a few (like two or three) minorities) prosper and are happy mastering their readin’ and writin’ skills in a world that, thanks to capitalism and our beloved free market system, is CHOCK FULL of exciting career choices!
    This is yet another example of the government trying to tell us which “ridiculed minority” we can or can’t ignore our children being ignored hating, and as a child of immigrants who has successfully learned how to dress, speak and act “normal”, I’m as sick of it as anyone who would say he/she is.

    Smear the fear

  13. Michael says:

    Yeah religious folks like Pat Robertson and those cooks who protest outside of soldiers funerals because they think god is punishing the US for its acceptance of homosexuals are real tolerant people.

  14. La Profesora says:

    Thus far, schools can actually be denied federal funding if they present homosexuality as a positive/acceptable alternative lifestyle. even high schools with adults in ’em.
    Oddly, the military is allowed to come in to a classroom and talk about the virtues of being a U.S. soldier. to grade schoolers, if they wanna.
    Ergo, this whole article is moot and I’m going back to drinking…

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