Friday, May 22, 2009

Pushing a Gay Agenda, or Merely Teaching About Gays?

Is teaching kindergartners about gay relationships really appropriate, necessary, or even a good use of school time?

A group of parents in a California school district say they are being bullied by school administrators into accepting a new curriculum that addresses bullying, respect and acceptance -- and that includes compulsory lessons about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community that will be taught to children as young as 5 years old.

The parents from the Unified School District in Alameda, a suburb of San Francisco and Oakland, say these issues are best learned at home and most definitely are not age-appropriate for elementary school children...

Among the course materials that could be added to the curriculum is "And Tango Makes Three," a children’s book about gay penguins struggling to create a family. The book has been banned in some areas of the country.

Before you comment based strictly on your feeeeeeelings on this issue, please go read the full article to get a flavor of all the issues that play a part in a controversy such as this.


Mrs. C said...

"The move toward the new curriculum began two years ago, when teachers noticed that even kindergarten students were using derogatory words about sexuality, such as 'fag.'"

Suddenly, teasing started only two years ago?? Nope. That's just when these activists decided to make their move.

I think it's problematic that the schools won't even allow opt-outs. Whose children are they, anyway? Does the district think it owns the children?

I'll say a lot of bad things about the schools in my district, but I WILL say that I've never had a problem opting my children out of sex ed or other silliness.

Ellen K said...

Why hasn't anyone addressed this from the issue of age appropriateness? While I have no problem with lessons on bullying, why does it have to be a gay penguin? Why couldn't it be a small penguin or a fat penguin? And as for the use of derogatory terms, that should be addressed by the parents and teachers just as you would any other derogatory term. I will not let any of my students interchange the word 'gay' with 'stupid' for example. But I don't feel the need to lecture them about sexual freedom.

Loni said...

I don't see anything wrong with teaching tolerance of this sort to five-year-olds.

The main reason that many object to this sort of thing is that GLBT is referring to a different sexuality. Really though, homosexuality is just as sexual as heterosexuality is. We can explain to a kindergartener that someone has a mom and a dad...and that ends there. Exactly what that mom and dad do need not be mentioned. The same goes for a homosexual couple. This is not an early introduction to sex ed; this is merely an early teaching about accepting different people and lifestyles...something that even the religious right shouldn't feel offended by (after all, it is homosexual sex that is against christian teaching, not homosexuals).

I am tired of anti-gay sentiment being treated as a legitimate viewpoint that needs to be treated with such respect and care. Racist, sexist and antisemitic parents are not given the right to dictate the curriculum of public schools. Why then are we concerned with making sure that bigoted homophobes are accommodated as such?

Mrs. C said...

You're so right, Loni! Parents shouldn't have any input into the education of their children! Nor yet the formation of their political and religious viewpoints.

It was very wrong of me to think otherwise.

Loni said...

And you have missed the point in what I've said. Sure everyone has an input in what they're children are taught. That's why there are democratically elected local positions to decide the curriculum. If you don't like the results, you can pull your child from particular lessons; you can pull them from public school; you can pull them from organized schooling in general.

But in this case, we're talking about giving the power to nix tolerance-education to the intolerant. I've pointed out that this is not gay-sex education. This is merely teaching that families come in different forms and that we need to "tolerate" them and treat them as "humans" and not "evil faggots". If you are against this sort of teaching, I think you need to reexamine your moral standing...especially if your one of the types that wants to bring Jesus into the picture.

I don't appreciate sarcasm. Say what you mean.

Mrs. C said...

What I mean? Sodomy is not family. Can I be any clearer?

And yeah, you'd better believe I'd pull my kids from those "lessons."


maxutils said...

Sodomy ISN'T family? Damn, maybe that's my problem. . .

I kid. Of course family isn't based around a sexual act -- I was heterosexually married, and I KNOW that to be true. I'm not sure that's what homosexuals want, though -- I think it had something to do with two people who love each other choosing to spend their whole lives together, very much like heterosexuals do. Oh, wait, that's not true either -- heterosexuals, about half the time or more, elect to divorce. Hmmm . . . this is harder than I thought.

My problem with this lesson is that we're forcing the curriculum to teach something that really shouldn't be part of the curriculum. Most of my friends growing up had divorced parents. I have a friend now who's never met his father. I have more than one relative who is gay. When I'm in school as a child, I don't need to be told what is normal. Normal is what most people do, and if you think that's a heterosexual married couple anymore you're sadly (perhaps for more than one reason)mistaken. One of the reasons that a school might teach about different types of living arrangements is because more homosexuals are choosing to raise children; another is that so many grow up in households without two parents -- and you can't much as you might like to, Mrs. C, blame homosexuals for that.

Mrs. C, how's that religion thing working out for you? Does it make you a better person, or happier, or does it make you hate people you don't know for doing something you don't have to witness with someone they love? I know Loni, and I don't know if she's arguing from principle, from experience, or both, and it doesn't matter because Loni is an exceptionally intelligent, funny, good person. I'm not religious, and somehow I get that. I wonder how my heterosexual parents screwed me up that way.

And finally, let he who is without sodomy cast the first condom . . .if polling data is correct, virtually every person in the country over the age of 18 has engaged in at least one act of sodomy (remember, that's virtually any sexual act other than heterosexual intercourse). You might be that person, Mrs. C, so when God comes to look for that one pure soul to spare our nation, I'll send him your way.

Loni, I'm sorry, but I DO like sarcasm. But you knew that already.

Mrs. C said...

So... religion = hate. Because my religion dictates a viewpoint that certain acts are sins and immoral. And further, I actually try to apply the Bible to my daily life and think about what God has to say about a matter.

I don't even get where I blamed homosexuals for *anything* in this comment section. Where are you pulling that from?

I don't get where you get this idea that I'm hating people I don't know. Did I say I hated anyone? Did I say I didn't know homosexuals personally?

I don't get where, based on a discussion about curriculum choices I have with your blog friend, that a personal attack and an implication that I'm a sodomite need to be flung around. That's just crude.

Darren, I'm surprised you even published that.

Darren said...

Why would you be surprised? With very few exceptions, mostly involving foul language, I publish all comments.

Anti-religious bigotry is as ugly as any other, it's just more fashionable.

I publish many comments here that I think are bigoted, and readers can draw their own conclusions about the authors. "I report, you decide." :-)

maxutils said...

Mrs. C, if you'll look back at my comments, you might notice a couple of things. first, I didn't imply that you WERE a sodomite, I hypothesized that you WEREN'T. I merely pointed out that most people, my self included, are sodomites of greater or lesser degree. Sex aside, anyone who's eaten a shrimp you've violated Leviticus anyway. Or, are some sinners more equal than others? And, I ASKED you if your religion made you hate others. I don't know if you do or not -- I just know that if you don't hate homosexuals, you should perhaps examine your tone, since what you've written has led a less clever sort like me to jump to that conclusion, as I also did in implying that you MIGHT like to blame them for destroying families. And, you may know homosexuals, but if you bust out with this kind of opinion around them, I can't imagine why they would hang out with you.
Clearly, I am not religious, and I will freely admit that I don't see any value in it, or any logic in it. But, I am not a bigot. If your religion asks you to believe that homosexuals are sinners, so be it. I'm all in favor of you applying the Bible to your way of life. I don't agree, but we could still be buddies. Where you cross the line with me is when you start publicly declaring that that behavior is sinful, or deciding that some category of people should not enjoy the same protection of law. As you did. Just as you have the right to practice your religion in your world, I have just as much right to not practice it. And, I find nothing harmful in a curriculum that teaches that all people should be treated equally. If you disagree, pull your kids, and let that be the end of it. Or, put your kids in a school that subscribes to your beliefs.

Mrs. C said...

Yeah, Darren, I know... but usually people aren't so... forthright? on my blog...

maxutils, if I'm paying for the school, I shouldn't HAVE to find a new school for my children because I find one aspect of the curriculum downright distasteful. I ought to be able to opt my children out. I even ought to have an equal say in curriculum selection and development. I pay taxes just as you do.

I'm sure there are other ways to ensure that children are not bullied in school. A nice, general "no teasing for any reason" rule would suffice. I mean, we don't need a stinkin' workshop for that. It would take up ZERO class time, except for a brief "laying out of the rules" at the beginning of the year... which everybody does anyway.

maxutils said...

On your last points, we have no quarrel. As for paying . . .you'd be totally right if it were a private school. If it's public, you get just as much say as I do -- with the exception that the public school is not there to push a religious belief. Opting out is fine; and if you read my first response, you'll see I agree with you about pushing the curriculum towards teaching about family structure. I AGREE that the school shouldn't be outright teaching that, just that, should it come up it not be a big deal either way. More the teachable moment aspect, rather than the today's-lesson-is-about-homosexual-families aspect. The only problem is, even though you pay taxes just like me, I don't believe that religion should influence curriculum AT ALL in a public school. No evolution, for example. We can disagree about that, but unfortunately the only way to settle that is through debates, ballots, and courts.

I'll take 'forthright.'