Friday, July 15, 2011

California's New Law To Teach About Gays In Schools, and Other Diversity-Related Topics

I've been asked about this law in a couple of different places now, so I'll just go on record with my thoughts. First, I like what NewsAlert quoted from the SF Chronicle:
"If children in other countries are learning math and science, and American children are learning about the private lives of historical figures, how will our students compete for jobs in the global economy?" said Sen. Sharon Runner, R-Lancaster (Los Angeles County), the vice chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Education.
Additionally, I don't believe in teaching about the "contributions" of people from different groups, which is a cute way of stating the actual goal. If someone did something noteworthy, let's teach about that. But if what they did is noteworthy only because they're gay, or black, or female, or Mormon, or whatever, especially if being gay, black, female, or Mormon isn't related to what they accomplished--well, isn't teaching that way more than just a little paternalistic?

Can you name the first black astronaut? Was the fact that he was black important to his being an astronaut? Why do I need to know about the first gay astronaut? Why are color or sexuality important when learning about astronauts? This is my point.

Update: On a related note, NewsAlert again does yeoman's work and points us to a story about how Omaha schools used "stimulus" money. How, exactly, is this supposed to stimulate the economy?
Public schools in Omaha spent $130,000 in federal stimulus money on cultural diversity books for all 8,000 school staffers including: teachers, administrators, and even janitors that teaches that a color-blind society is not enough to end racism.
Dr. King and Thurgood Marshall would not be welcome among the diversity-philes of today.

And the University of California system sure is cutting to the bone, isn't it?
California’s budget crisis has reduced the University of California to near-penury, claim its spokesmen. “Our campuses and the UC Office of the President already have cut to the bone,” the university system’s vice president for budget and capital resources warned earlier this month, in advance of this week’s meeting of the university’s regents. Well, not exactly to the bone. Even as UC campuses jettison entire degree programs and lose faculty to competing universities, one fiefdom has remained virtually sacrosanct: the diversity machine.

Not only have diversity sinecures been protected from budget cuts, their numbers are actually growing. The University of California at San Diego, for example, is creating a new full-time “vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion.” This position would augment UC San Diego’s already massive diversity apparatus, which includes the Chancellor’s Diversity Office, the associate vice chancellor for faculty equity, the assistant vice chancellor for diversity, the faculty equity advisors, the graduate diversity coordinators, the staff diversity liaison, the undergraduate student diversity liaison, the graduate student diversity liaison, the chief diversity officer, the director of development for diversity initiatives, the Office of Academic Diversity and Equal Opportunity, the Committee on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Issues, the Committee on the Status of Women, the Campus Council on Climate, Culture and Inclusion, the Diversity Council, and the directors of the Cross-Cultural Center, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center, and the Women’s Center.


pseudotsuga said...

Holy Rainbow, Batman! That's a LOT of diversity bureaucracy. But only for the correct kind of diversity, mind you.
And this is all necessary, or else students' degrees from UCWherever will be worth less than the paper they are printed on now (assuming that the paper passes the okay of the Environmental/Green Campus/Global Warming/Recycling committees.)

KauaiMark said...

"...noteworthy only because they're gay, or black, or female, or Mormon, or whatever?"

total waste of time and $$

Michael said...

Our public universities keep looking more and more ridiculous. We had the housing bubble burst, now it's likely that higher education in our country may be the next flop. Parents and students should rightfully be asking "What exactly are we getting for our $$$?" A lot of nonsense. That's OK - just makes being a grad from one of our Nations Service Academies look better and better.

KauaiMark said...

and...what about the contributions to history from natural redheads, left handeds, unusually short or tall people and clowns and mimes?

DADvocate said...

Will they dare address any of the negatives associated with any of the diverse groups, such as the role the lifestyle of many gay men played in the spread of AIDS?

neko said...

Will they dare address any of the negatives associated with any of the diverse groups, such as the role the lifestyle of many gay men played in the spread of AIDS?

Well, clearly it was caused by the white, heterosexual male doctors whose innate hatred of people different from themselves kept them from researching a disease that didn't affect them. Duh!

You seem to suggest that their lifestyle choices were somehow affecting them with negative consequences. We can't allow that kind of judgemental thinking to taint the innocent and open minds of students.

Anonymous said...

Just keep teaching kids about creationism and abstinence and what Jesus would do. Dear lord save us from the religious right - and all their hatred and hypocrisy.

Darren said...

So failing to bring sexual preferences into discussions about people is a province of the religious right? Why is sexual preference important in historical figures--I thought we weren't supposed to judge people on their sexual preferences?

I assume by your comment that you're a troll, just trying to get my ire up. Just so you know: I'm not a member of the religious right at all, and I *still* see this as a stupid idea.