What’s Wrong with the World

The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.

About

What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Of public school teachers and purple penguins--the zero-sum game continues

I have been saying for a long time that the coercive GLBTQR)(*& agenda reaches a new level in interactions with transsexuals. The whole idea, which I believe some Christians have cherished, of saying, "We don't discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation alone" and then being left to get on quietly with whatever worthwhile thing you want to be doing is brought smack up against the reality that the "T" in the alphabet soup concerns someone else's bizarre public behavior. You are required to play along with that behavior.

I have also brought up the issue of teachers at public schools in conversations with people who have an (utterly unrealistic) idea of repealing non-discrimination laws (which will never happen anyway) and then recognizing "same-sex marriage" in a more libertarian legal context. What about teachers at public schools? Would they, even in that unreal libertarian landscape, face coercion to go along with a homosexual agenda? I think the answer is pretty obvious.

In the recent purple penguins brouhaha in Lincoln, Nebraska (of all places), we see those two points coming together.

In case you missed it, here's a brief summary: A middle school in Nebraska was giving its teachers training in how to deal with "transgender" students. As part of the training it passed out a handout from a completely insane group stating that gender isn't binary and all the rest of it. You can see the handout here. The handout, using sentences in the imperative mood, tells teachers how they should go about rooting out their own and students' gendered thinking. I'll give some samples of that in a moment. One of the teachers, alarmed, leaked the handout to parents. Parents were understandably upset. Word of the training Lincoln teachers were receiving went out to conservative media, which publicized it. The school district, playing damage control, said that they don't have actual policies mandating the practices "suggested" (in the imperative mood) in the handout, so of course this is all a tempest a teacup. The superintendent, Steve Joel, defended the training program and attempted to quell alarm by making the baldfaced statement, "We don't get involved with politics." The liberal would-be-debunking site Snopes jumped into the act, making much of the fact that the school district doesn't officially require teachers to follow the mandates in the training handout and hence marking the claims in the conservative media as a "mixture" of truth and falsehood.

So where do the purple penguins come in? That was one "suggestion" made by the handout as a substitute for gendered expressions. The handout instructs teachers:

Don’t use phrases such as "boys and girls," "you guys," "ladies and gentlemen," and similarly gendered expressions to get kids’ attention. Instead say things like "calling all campers" or "hey campers" or "could all the athletes come here." Create classroom names and then ask all of the "purple penguins" to meet on the rug.

If you have any question as to whether debunking is in order, I suggest that you go and read the document for yourself. It assumes that teachers are (or will be) on board with the complete elimination of gender binaries and then tells them what they ought to do to excise any traditional ideas of male and female from their own thinking and language, impose the new worldview on their students, and actively introduce and promote gender-bending ideas. It is utterly radical. For example:

Have visual images reinforcing gender inclusion: pictures of people who don't fit gender norms, signs that ”strike out" sayings like “All Boys...” or ”All Girls..." or "All Genders Welcome" door hangers.
When you find it necessary to reference gender, say ”Boy, girl, both or neither.”When asked why, use this as a teachable moment. Emphasize to students that your classroom recognizes and celebrates the gender diversity of all students.

Here is one of my favorites. Emphasis added:

Be intolerant of openly hostile attitudes or references towards others EVERY TIME you hear or observe them, but also use these as teachable moments. Take the opportunity to push the individual on their statements about gender. Being punitive may stop the behavior, at least in your presence. Being instructive may stop it entirely.

Isn't that reassuring? Teachers will punish your child for evincing "openly hostile attitudes" towards gender-bending, but only if they must. They would rather brainwash them into accepting gender-bending. Viz.,

Point out and inquire when you hear others referencing gender in a binary manner. Ask things like, ”Hmmm. That is interesting. Can you say more about that?” or "What makes you say that? I think of it a little differently.” Provide counter-narratives that challenge students to think more expansively about their notions of gender.
Avoid using "normal" to define any behaviors.

If you were a parent and if the school your child attended were training its teachers with this material, would you be reassured by being told that words like "boy" and "girl" are not officially banned and that this training material is not reinforced by explicit school policy? The question should answer itself. The material is absolutely coercive both of teachers and of students. The assumption of "gender binaries" is treated as a wicked form of bigotry to be punished when necessary and removed from all minds and from the whole running of the school by relentless propaganda whenever possible.

If you were a teacher who refuses actively to advance the gender-bending agenda, and if you had been given this handout in a training session, how reassured would you feel about your job security if the superintendent told the press that the imperatives in the handout are "suggestions" rather than official school policy? If you had any brains, not reassured.

As far as I am concerned, parents should have gotten their children out of the public school if at all possible years ago. To those who have no other options--they are poor, for example, and have to work just to keep food on the table, or one member of the couple is adamant about keeping children in the public school--my deepest sympathies go out. But for others, not so much. At this point we have gone far beyond parody, beyond satire. Here the war on reality is carried relentlessly into the minds of the youngest children.

This story exemplifies so many things: The utter craziness of the left and the bankruptcy of the public schools. It also exemplifies the fact that the left simply will not allow itself to be ridiculed in the public mind without pretending that someone, somewhere is lying or exaggerating. We saw this with the story about the wedding chapel in Coer D'Alene, but it is even more evident here. In this story a public school passes out an utterly radical gender-bender brainwashing plan as part of teacher training, and the left tells us to shoot the messenger. Ah, yes, that's it: The problem lies with the parents who are upset, the teacher who leaked the document, and National Review, which brought this to national attention. Not with what is being taught to the children.

There are a few Christians and conservatives out there who will dutifully play along, lecturing others about the need to be precise. Now, I myself do try hard to be precise, and when I report stories like this I do look into them and word what I say carefully. Well and good. But the temptation to miss the forest for the trees here is huge. Oh, horror, horror! Some news story (not from National Review) used a phrase such as "bans the terms 'boys' and 'girls'" when in actuality the school merely endorsed training materials in which teachers are told (in the imperative mood) not to use "boys and girls" as a general phrase. Presumably the teachers are allowed to use the term "boys" when referring to a group of students who have given "boy" as their "preferred gender"! Wow, I feel so much better. And maybe a teacher who says, "The heck with all of that. I'm going to go on saying, 'Boys and girls' to my class all the time, and I will never, ever, say, 'Boy, girl, both, or neither'" won't lose his job. Maybe. Because, you know, these training materials are "suggestions." Wow, I feel even more better. How irresponsible those conservative news outlets are!

Reasonable parents know that that is not the story. The story is the disgusting, anti-reality dreck that teachers are being told to promote in their classrooms.

So let's not be bullied into thinking that our own side is just irresponsible. Instead, let's draw the lessons and the conclusions needed for our own work in the world. And the first one should be--please, please try to get your kids out of public school if at all possible.

Comments (51)

A fun trick in response, if you had an especially strong-willed child, would be to have the child stop treating the "teacher - student" binary as meaningful. Have the child respond to the teacher's "directives" as if they were merely interesting comments, and the teacher's "explanations" of her authority as a bigoted, pernicious point of view, and go on to ask the teacher things like "hmm, that sounds interesting, can you say more about this hypothesis of so-called 'authority' that is imposed on a so-called 'student' without his consent? It's certainly not my perspective." And so on. Have the child learn the "anti-toleration" blather down-cold, so he can use it back at the teacher: "you don't seem to value other points of view..." And when the teacher and principle call you to deal with the child, you merely exclaim "why, I have no problem with Johnny at home, I show respect for his perspectives and we have a very positive environment. I don't know why you insist on making him feel inferior by your "teacher - student binary nonsense. Don't you think someone who is teaching has room to learn anything?"

Of course (as Lydia says), the best answer is to pull your kid from school. And tell everyone why, and encourage them to do the same. And send letters to the school officials telling them why. Etc.

I have reached the point where the "damage control" engaged in by these education bureaucrats if far more offensive to me than the original offense. What an insult to the public's intelligence, to make the claim that there's nothing to see here because the district had no intention of ever enforcing these training materials, and furthermore that by passing them out the district wasn't actually endorsing them.

Your run-of-the mill liberal man on the street is no better, either, because that's the guy writing and disseminating these laughably disingenuous exculpatory articles for Snopes.

"Please try to get your kids out of public school if at all possible."

Isn't this just a kind of retreat? Surrendering the public schools, funded with your money, to others?

That's a really tired argument which has been poor from the first time it was made. "We" do not control the public schools. Funded with our money or not, they are at this point deeply poisonous, almost without exception. If the government were taking your tax dollars and providing poison to you with which to feed your children, it would be an absurdity to argue that you have to keep on feeding your children the poison while going to committee meetings to try to lessen the dosage, because otherwise it would be a "retreat" and a "surrender." The facts are what they are. Don't go on poisoning your kids. It's a shame the gov. is buying mental poison with your tax dollars, but that doesn't mean your children have to swallow it. Pay the extra money and get them good mind food instead. No amount of PTA-ing and school board meeting attendance is going to make the contents of a public school education reliably wholesome fare.

And frankly, when this sort of thing (in the o.p.) is being peddled, one wonders at what point the "keep your kids in public schools, because otherwise it will be a surrender" argument _will_ be recognized as refuted. If this isn't a reductio, what is? Not that there haven't been enough others. Look up GLSEN and Planned Parenthood and what they are bringing to school kids sometime. What is it going to take for people to stop making this argument? I really don't know. Actual orgies, teacher monitored, on site? Kids already get beaten up in plenty of schools, yet people would apparently still tell *their* parents not to "retreat," so I guess mere physical harm isn't doing it. Because we're paying for it. Which makes no sense at all.

If parents are capable of teaching their kids at home, they are capable of countering any silly teaching that comes out of the public schools.

I'm from Ontario, though, and maybe the situation is much worse in the United States.

1. It is difficult to raise children to be counter-cultural even when you are teaching them at home, however excellent a teacher and parent you may be. To do so when they are immersed in that culture 8-10 hours a day, 5-6 days a week (classes + activities) is well-nigh impossible. Besides, who wants to spend your entire severely limited family time de-toxing the children?

2. Much of what is taught in the public schools today is not merely "silly"; it is toxic, deadly to soul and to mind. I see it every day in my college students, most of whom are from Christian homes with parents who have certainly tried to raise them righteously. Some are of course strong in the faith, but many are at best weak and easily led astray. And academically, very very weak, which makes it even harder for them to understand and live by Truth.

If parents are capable of teaching their kids at home, they are capable of countering any silly teaching that comes out of the public schools.

As Beth says, why? What a worse-than-waste of time. And it's not true, anyway. Maybe you'll deprogram, maybe you won't. The people who are set up as authority figures all day all week, and the peers who form the young person's closest friend group, are hugely influential. The idea of deliberately exposing children to insanity and, in many cases, outright pornography and toxic behavioral influences, as well as an entire worldview that is completely false, because...because why? It makes no sense. Oh, that's right, because I'm paying for it so I have a _right_ to expose my kids to that. Say, what? And because maybe I can counter it. Enough. Maybe.

And as Beth says, it isn't just silly but often deeply sickening. Did you look up GLSEN's materials? You didn't? Or maybe that sort of pornography directed at children just doesn't bug you.

This is a senseless way of thinking. It presupposes that there is some vastly powerful positive reason to make it a priority to have one's children in the public school. There is no such reason.

I'm from Ontario, though, and maybe the situation is much worse in the United States.

I wouldn't bet on it, but the main post speaks for itself, as does much other information, concerning the situation in the U.S.

Again, if that sort of brainwashing doesn't bother you, I suppose very little will. And don't get me started on the poor education in and of itself.

In fact, there is a gigantic cumulative case coming from multiple vectors for getting one's children out of public schooling.

"What a worse-than-waste of time."

I suppose you would never waste time teaching your kids any of the things other people believe just so as to refute it? You certainly wouldn't teach them what evolution is, so that you can teach them why you don't believe it?

We obviously disagree as to what actually transpires in a typical day at public school.

In Ontario there are publicly-funded Catholic schools. Any opinion on those?

I suppose you would never waste time teaching your kids any of the things other people believe just so as to refute it? You certainly wouldn't teach them what evolution is, so that you can teach them why you don't believe it?

There is a gigantic difference between what you describe there and deprograming from intensive, one-sided teaching over a period of hours, days, and weeks from authority figures. I don't know how to explain that difference to you if you don't understand it, but your jumping from one to the other does show a pretty big lack of understanding about education.

In Ontario there are publicly-funded Catholic schools. Any opinion on those?

Why, yes, actually. I do have _some_ information on that subject.

http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2012/05/zero_sum_game_again_dont_bothe.html

While we're on the subject of Canada, see also the link given there concerning Quebec:

http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2009/09/were_all_relativists_nownews_f.html

By the way, I don't recall if it was in Ontario or some other province, but when Dawn Eden, a Catholic writer and blogger went to speak at a "Catholic" high school in Canada some years back, she was booed when she suggested giving a shout-out to virginity. The students also took, in some numbers, to social media to mock her pro-chastity message. Some kind of massive failure had happened there in catechesis and Catholic formation, methinks.

Of course my children know about evolution; they probably studied it more carefully and in depth than their public-educated counterparts did. And I'm glad to say that as adults they believe in the special creation of man and can tell you why, both Biblically and scientifically -- because they studied these two theories side-by-side. But why on earth should I have let someone else teach them evolution as fact, not theory, and then have to spend our family time teaching them why it's a problem and why special creation is both Biblically and scientifically sound? That's so . . . inefficient. And my students who grew up in Christian homes and whose parents are staunch believers in special creation, but attended public school, are much more likely to believe in some form of theistic -- or even naturalistic -- evolution than those who were home educated.

Jordan, we do know what goes in a typical day in an American public school. We aren't just making up straw men or drawing on way-out, rare examples. Sure, there are some good teachers and good classes in some schools -- I know some of them. And many of them are leaving the system because they cannot change it from within. If they can't, our children certainly can't!

And it is unjust for you to accuse home educators of not teaching what they don't believe in. Broad-brush generalizations and assumptions based on untrue stereotypes perpetuated by the media and academic establishment will not win you listeners.

It strikes me as particularly odd that Jordan has never yet in this thread said a word about the main post. This is actually happening in this Lincoln Public School district. This is a not something I have made up out of my head. This is a huge problem. And no, it is not merely "silly." It's far worse than that--the attempt completely to destroy children's clear sense of themselves as definitely male or female by unsettling their "gender binary" thinking. This is severely wrong in terms of child psychology. But Jordan apparently prefers to talk in generalities.

My original comment quoted the main post. I don't disagree your assessment of what's happening in the Lincoln Public School district. I disagree with your conclusion: "try to get your kids out of public school if at all possible".

"We do know what goes [on] in a typical day in an American public school."

I was in 12th grade in 2004. I have a sister just entering high school. I know several (Christian) public school teachers quite well. I too know what public school is like. In my Baptist church, most kids (I believe) are homeschooled. I am not out of the loop.

"And it is unjust for you to accuse home educators of not teaching what they don't believe in."

I never said that. I meant that it can't be time-wasting to debunk what your child was taught at school if you would have taught him about the same thing for the purpose of debunking. The point was about time-wasting.

"The point was about time-wasting."

Indeed.

If parents are capable of teaching their kids at home, they are capable of countering any silly teaching that comes out of the public schools.

Boy, that's a zinger, Jordan. Not only is it wrong at face value for the reason Lydia gives, it is wrong psychologically and materially as well. On the surface, in the after hours the parents rarely get anywhere near as much "quality time" to de-program as the teachers and school and other kids get, to hammer a message home - what with household chores, homework, and other scheduled activities (piano, soccer, etc). And after-the-fact deprogramming probably takes 2 to 3 times as much time and effort as the initial programming takes. And that assumes that you LEARN about the programming pretty much simultaneously with when it occurs, which you usually don't. And it assumes that the programming takes place as specific events, rather than as a cultural milieu which it often is. It would take the wisdom of Solomon to successfully counter that kind of surround-sound programming, and frankly hardly any of us has that level of wisdom.

(Which doesn't even raise the issue of recovering a child's latency when the teacher or other students (or another parent, or an outside "consultant" as likely as not) utterly destroys your child's innocence with outrageous images and descriptions, which out to be a crime as well as subject to severe civil penalties.)

But in addition, even when you are successful in "countering" any silly teaching that comes out of the public school, you have yet another problem: you have then successfully undermined your child's trust and respect for legitimate authority. The more you say "you don't need to / shouldn't believe in what the teacher says" the more you display for the child a (false) view that authority is subjective, or that the right of an authority to command your compliance is always and inherently debatable. When parents entrust their child to a teacher, it used to be understood that this was a very great position of trust, referred to as "in loco parentis" for the period of school hours - standing in the place of parental authority. When this trust is damaged by the teacher going off the rails, and then the parent has to explain to the child that the teacher has gone off the rails, it damages PARENTAL authority to an extent, because the teacher's authority was an image of the parent's. And it damages ALL authority in a sense as well. I saw this in my own home growing up: the more my parents had to step in and say to us kids "the teacher is wrong on this" the more my siblings got the notion that authority itself was pretty shaky stuff. And I saw it in my peers as well.

Two quick things:

First, while Lydia's strategy may be the best one in the short-term for anyone who can manage it, by itself it is just that: short-term damage control. Keeping one's children out of toxic waste is a good idea, but it won't do anything to either clean up the waste or to prevent future pollution; mutatis mutandis for toxic values.

Second, it may be instructive for readers of this blog to consider the words of Charlene Cothran on how gay advocacy often works. Cothran is a former lesbian and former editor of a magazine for black lesbians (Venus Magazine). She begins describing the strategy at 2:33 in the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQGA-n4JyOY

We need to put together and enact a strategy to combat this in a way that shows genuine Christian love to those who have been deceived by the evil one.


PhilosoFarmer
Ephesians 5:11

"But in addition, even when you are successful in "countering" any silly teaching that comes out of the public school, you have yet another problem: you have then successfully undermined your child's trust and respect for legitimate authority. The more you say "you don't need to / shouldn't believe in what the teacher says" the more you display for the child a (false) view that authority is subjective, or that the right of an authority to command your compliance is always and inherently debatable."

That is too broad a generalization. If the silly teaching is specific to one area (typically, interpersonal relationships), then countering it should not remove respect for all the rest of the areas where authority touches. Calling kids purple penguins does not affect the authority of the multiplication table. Some subject areas are more contaminated than others, of course (it is really hard to contaminate physics, much easier with social studies). What one must do at home is teach the student good critical thinking skills and reverence for The Lord. Armed with these things, they should have not trouble seeing the triteness of the silly arguments by the teacher.

I am not advocating public school education. The system is just to sick, these days, but if one must use the system, children can be inoculated to some extent.

The Chicken

First, while Lydia's strategy may be the best one in the short-term for anyone who can manage it, by itself it is just that: short-term damage control. Keeping one's children out of toxic waste is a good idea, but it won't do anything to either clean up the waste or to prevent future pollution; mutatis mutandis for toxic values.

Philosopharmer, I'm not _entirely_ sure what you are implying should be done. I myself would like it if "public school" could go back to meaning the local, parent-supported schoolhouse in which Laura Ingalls Wilder taught, which did not inculcate a toxic worldview. Or, more recently (if we take it that he knew what he was talking about), the Maryland public schools in the 1940's and 1950's which Whittaker Chambers spoke so eloquently about sending his children to. The road from here to there is unclear, to put it mildly. I'm glad that apparently you agree that having one's children in the current public schools is not going to contribute to their redemption. But I do not see that we Christians have to have a plausible strategy for redeeming them, either. Sometimes things really have become irredeemably corrupt and getting worse rather than better. Some signs that that may be true in the case of the public school system include the downward spiral in other areas as well as morals--areas such as physical safety, discipline, anti-gun insanity, increasing federal control of the academic side with academically ridiculous methodology that will not teach academic basics.

The charter school movement has had some promise, and that promise has not entirely evaporated, but even there the Common Core threatens to remove the uniqueness that was the whole point of charter schooling. Moreover, the impossibility and undesirability of a truly "religion-neutral" education (for kids all day, five days a week, nine months out of the year) makes charter schooling problematic as well.

In many ways any desire to reform the public schools at the root is stymied by a combination of various judicial diktats and the "carrot" of federal money.

This is a subject in which I am very interested, but right now I have no Big Ideas for how to make things substantially better, and I don't think I have to have such big ideas. Sometimes big ideas are poor strategy in their own way.

Chicken, I think both you and Tony are right. That is, certain areas are worse than others, and telling the student, in essence, that his teacher is a crazy political liberal doesn't necessarily mean teaching the child to disrespect his teacher's knowledge of mathematics.

Moreover, your qualified statement that "it is possible to inoculate to some extent" is of course true.

But Tony's point which you quote is *a* reason, in addition to many others, for making it a priority to educate one's children in other ways. It is far preferable, especially with younger children, for them to be *able* to take their teachers for role models. It doesn't matter perhaps *as* much with college-age young people, though even there it's always a nice thing if a young person can really become a "disciple" of a truly wonderful and inspiring teacher and can have his life turned in the direction of some excellent pursuit. For young children, though, the separation between, "Miss Grey is a brilliant teacher, but she's all messed up in her worldview" is a big strain. Children are natural followers. High schoolers as well, for that matter. And what parents understandably yearn for is to be able to _affirm_ that instinct to follow and to put one's children in the charge of people whom the parents also admire and trust. In that way, one doesn't have to be turning one's kids into cynical critics from age six.

I'm afraid that the "cynical critic at age six" route is almost certainly _necessary_ if one is forced to send one's child to a public school, and this is what Tony was saying is undesirable overall.

Perhaps one vivid way of seeing this is the scenario in which the beloved Miss Grey is living in dire sin, approved by the school. Your little child comes to idolize her and starts parroting stuff about "her wife." Then what? At that point it doesn't much matter that Miss Grey is good at teaching the multiplication table.

What one must do at home is teach the student good critical thinking skills and reverence for The Lord. Armed with these things, they should have not trouble seeing the triteness of the silly arguments by the teacher.

In one of my very rare disagreements with MC (but only partial), five- and six-year-olds *can't* be armed in this way. They aren't ready for it cognitively or any other way. They are still vulnerable and dependent on what their elders tell them and cannot make the distinction between what the teacher says and does that's okay and what is not. My kindergarten teacher locked me in the equipment closet one day because I had cried in class, and I was too afraid to tell my parents because she was the *teacher* and they had put her in authority over me -- if *she* had punished me, I must have needed to be punished, even though I didn't understand why! (I'm still claustrophobic, 50+ years later, too.)

Maybe high schoolers with very solid foundations in faith and academics can manage this dichotomy, but few if any who are younger.

As someone who sends his children to public schools, a couple of thoughts:

1) Obviously, some schools are worse than others and YMMV depending on the school system and the specific school with respect to how bad liberal indoctrination is going to be;

2) As an example of the good and bad one finds in some local schools today, my kids still start the day with the Pledge of Allegiance (including "under God"!) but the Christmas show is now the "Winter Assembly";

3) While I think I've been lucky with respect to my own daughters, if I had to do it all over again I would either homeschool them or send them to a Catholic elementary school and then an all girls Catholic high-school -- I have to do too much de-toxic when they get home and tell me what they learned in history class!!!;

4) As for what is to be done, a couple of thoughts: (a) we should eliminate the federal Department of Education -- it is unconstitutional and the feds have no business being involved in education; (b) states should try and give parents maximum flexibility via some sort of tax credit or voucher scheme -- that way if parents want to homeschool, they aren't penalized and if they want to send their kids to a 'private' school they aren't penalized -- in other words, radically re-think what we mean by public schooling so that there is no one size fits all model and everyone can use their tax money on the schooling they think is best for their children.

I used to be a strong supporter of vouchers but have had to change my opinion from watching how things have historically developed. For example, Canada is a cautionary tale in the way that public funding of Catholic schools has seriously, seriously undermined the schools' ability to keep its identity. (See link above.) In the U.S., it appears that even the acceptance of funds by Christian schools under George Bush's faith-based initiatives (apparently for various special needs programs) has subjected the schools to having to use Common Core throughout their curriculum. In the area of home schooling, a number of states have begun "virtual charter schools" for home schoolers. They receive a small subsidy for textbooks, free computer, things like that. This has been especially big in western states. What the HSLDA has documented repeatedly is that controls have always increased over the curriculum and content of the home schooling. In some cases parents have at first had a lot of freedom and then later been told that they couldn't use religious curriculum in their home school program because now they are in essence running a public school at home! In Alaska, I believe it was, a requirement for oversight interviews between the students and public school teachers was introduced. So that is another cautionary tale about the negative effects of home schoolers' accepting government money for their home schooling program.

HSLDA believes as of now that tax credits have not historically introduced the same problems, so they have usually supported tax credits for home schoolers. As we all know, anything involving govt. money or even credits or cost-shifting can be used to introduce control. A parallel here would be the use of churches' status as 501c3 entities to control their political speech. But it may be that tax credits are sufficiently indirect that there would not be a problem. By the same token, however, tax credits are often not as useful to the people involved as dollar-for-dollar vouchers or other direct subsidy, but that is a price I'm fully willing to pay.

(One nice thing about home schooling is that it really is very cheap. Or it can be. If one doesn't count the mother's or father's time as money, that is. :-))

John Tory, now running for mayor of Toronto, was the leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives some years back. He floated the idea of publicly funding other religious schools besides Catholic ones. It was a dumb idea, since most folks sending their kids to private Christian or Jewish schools don't want full funding anyway, for the reasons mentioned. (And, of course... state-funded Muslim schools!?)

And, of course... state-funded Muslim schools!?

It's funny you shd. mention that, because a problem along those lines has arisen with charter schools in the U.S. As indicated, I'm generally a little more positive toward charter schools (which are public schools) but still would much prefer not to send my child to one. However, if I knew an impoverished family whose parent(s) had to work, so couldn't home school, and who could not afford private school, I would suggest that a charter school might be _somewhat_ better.

In any event, what has happened is that under the charter school movement in the U.S. there have been problems with "public madrassas"--essentially, Muslim public schools. Pressure has been put on them and they have sometimes been forced to back off on the more blatantly official use of the schools to promote Islam, but it's an interesting phenomenon. I myself don't believe that religion neutral schooling is even _possible_, and I think that the attempt to make education of the young religion neutral is a mistake. But I would not personally want to subsidize a Muslim school, for obvious reasons! All the more reason to decentralize education and privatize.

Lydia,

I think what my tentative reform proposals were trying to do you summarize with this sentence:

"All the more reason to decentralize education and privatize."

What I don't like, for many reasons, is that hard-working tax-payers (i.e. me!) are forced to pay for public schools and then not use them. Hence, my suggestion related to vouchers and/or tax credits. However, perhaps the better way to go is simply end all state support of education for most people except for the truly needy -- then you would simply be paying taxes to support the poor children's education and you could try, via the ballot box, to enforce common-sense educational reforms for those poor kids while at the same time everyone else would be free to spend their own money on schooling as they see fit.

Charles Murray has a wonderful example of how this would work in one of his lesser known works called In Pursuit: Of Happiness and Good Government. If I have the time, I'll try and pull some quotes from this passage where he describes his vision of how libertarian schooling would work in practice.

You can well imagine, though, the outcry if it were proposed that only the poor should qualify for state-funded K-12 education. I can predict exactly the lines the argument would take, and to some extent the empirical predictions would be correct: It would be predicted that state-funded education only for the poor would be lower in quality than what we presently have and that the atmosphere would be even more dangerous. To some extent, that is probably true, as it is what we already see in the inner city public schools. Where there is not a lot of local money in the form of property taxes pouring in (because the local area is impoverished) and where only the poor are the "customers," the whole place becomes a madhouse--drugs, gangs, violence, the whole works.

Not to mention the fact that plenty of people with money actually still _want_ their kids in public schools, at least the ones they have in their nicer suburbs. They might not be as concerned as we are about worldview, or perhaps they are liberals themselves and agree with the worldview being taught. They like the perks, such as gifted children programs or fancy computers. They feel like they are being good citizens by sending their kids to public schools. They may feel uncomfortable about their children being sexualized early, but to some degree they have their heads in the sands, and for the rest, they honestly believe that "all teenagers are going to have sex" and so are resigned. And even people with a certain amount of money don't always want to start paying the ruinously high cost of tony private school tuition, which is what they would choose if they had to. (No two-bit fundamentalist Christian schools for their kids!) So they are not too unhappy where they are and would not vote for a "public schooling only for the poor" option even if it were politically on the table. If the Common Core educational stuff gets crazy enough, it may frustrate enough of these political moderates (or even liberals) into changing their mind on how good their present situation is, but there's a real frog-in-the-pot thing going on there and a surprising willingness to suffer the vagaries of educational fads. I have known people who will resignedly teach their own children to read on the side and hope for better days ahead rather than saying, "If they can't teach my seven-year-old to read, why do I have my kids in this allegedly 'good' suburban public school?"

Lydia,

I'm not sure how much you care if this thread turns into "how to reform our current system of public education", but until you tweet your whistle, I will continue to offer comments:

1) "Where there is not a lot of local money in the form of property taxes pouring in (because the local area is impoverished) and where only the poor are the "customers," the whole place becomes a madhouse--drugs, gangs, violence, the whole works."

Liberals certainly make this argument, but I think it is pernicious and I'd like to read about more conservatives pushing back against the idea that more $ = better schooling. Study after study has shown it is just not true (too many confounding variables).

I agree there is the more basic question of how to provide stable and decent learning environments for poor children. I would argue that we simply need to push back against liberals who resist serious discipline in school -- my favorite educational blogger, Education Realist, talks quite a bit about how just one or two disruptive students can make teaching a class of 20 kids impossible. Until we are serious about throwing those kids out of regular schools (and probably into some sort of boot-camp situation) we won't get a handle on the problem. And of course liberals are fighting such measures because they create a disparate impact on minority students (never mind these measures will help minority students who want to learn -- the import thing for liberals is that we can't ever punish disruptive black boys!)

2) "Not to mention the fact that plenty of people with money actually still _want_ their kids in public schools, at least the ones they have in their nicer suburbs."

I think this is a good and important point and so my reforms would have to be sold as allowing such suburban public school fans to essentially continue to fund their precious schools via fees instead of taxes. If suddenly your property tax in rich suburb X, Y, and Z goes down $12,000, why can't you just turn around and use that money for junior's expensive public school? But it also might force some of those parents to ask hard questions about their suburban schools' spending plans -- I'll never forget my parents lonely campaign to get our local school district to stop spending money on fancy new buildings (and therefore raising property taxes again and again). They didn't think the high school needed a new Olympic-sized swimming pool, fancy gym facilities for the football team, etc., etc.

They didn't think the high school needed a new Olympic-sized swimming pool, fancy gym facilities for the football team, etc., etc.

Hear, hear! Cash strapped Catholic (and other) schools have consistently turned out quality education, even in black urban areas, without college-level labs and Olympic level sports facilities. You just don't need them for basic education. The people pushing these usually have too much money and not enough sense on their hands.

I agree there is the more basic question of how to provide stable and decent learning environments for poor children. I would argue that we simply need to push back against liberals who resist serious discipline in school

It is absolutely true that discipline is a big part of it. And the (long since lost) trust of parents to the teachers to discipline appropriately was part of that. But the divorce between parent's views and culture and standards of behavior and that of the teachers and administrators makes that impossible. And the hugeness of the public schools makes THAT gulf inevitable. So...part of the solution (just part, mind you) will be small schools, consisting of families of mostly the same or similar point of view about standards of behavior and excellence, which means schools that can organize not solely by location alone. It would also help if we could get back to neighborhoods that were also some what organically similar (having more in common than just "we all commute").

But another aspect of getting the state out of the business of running education is that we don't need "the solution" to providing education to school children on a state-wide basis. I mean that in two senses. First, there doesn't have to be just one solution, there can be many different ones for many different causes of poverty and arrangements of communities. We shouldn't be in the business of looking for a one-size-fits-all solution. Get the state out of the way, and let the parents themselves propose solutions - changes that they can implement or at least see working. Subsidiarity says that if a smaller community is not solving a problem, the larger community isn't supposed to take it over, it is supposed to help the smaller community overcome the obstacles to its carrying out its OWN duties and purposes.

Secondly: educating young people is not really that much of a mystery. By golly, they did it in the millions in the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s without the level of problems of today, amid conditions that 97% of Americans today would call "poverty". Religious institutions are still doing it, (sometimes, anyway, when they are not under pressure to the government to kow-tow to modernist fads). Practically any literate adult can teach any non-disabled kid to read using phonetics. Etc. Get the clappy-trappy nonsense out of the schools and teachers heads, and let them teach reading, writing, and arithmetic in the early years, for crying out loud. Stop pretending that to be a teacher you have to have a Ph.D. in child psychology, and let's just find those wholesome, sympathetic, kindly, nurturing souls who want to teach but don't want to get those silly Ph.Ds. (Yes, a higher degree in the subject matter you are teaching will help some in the higher grades. But I learned fine high-school biology from a teacher who didn't have a higher degree, same with geometry.) About 2/3 of the reason the schools keep trying to "solve" the "problem" with special higher training is that they can't recognize the root problem for what it is: students are unprepared to learn because PARENTS haven't taken over responsibility to be the leaders in deciding their kids' education nor in making family life conducive to learning (divorce being the big break-point here). You can't solve in school a problem in the home. See above regarding "similar" families.

Jeff, that's fine, I'm not tweeting my whistle. Here's an interesting tie-back to the main post: Are there actually educational reforms on the structural level that, in our current cultural milieu, would make the kind of wicked nonsense in the main post less likely in the public schools?

My fear is that the answer there is no. I wouldn't be in the least surprised if there are plenty of private schools that teach that same type of wicked nonsense. I mean, it's nice that tax dollars aren't subsidizing it, but my point is that the educational elites are deeply in touch with their own craziness and determined to foist it on the kids through whatever avenues open. The reason that I connected the particular evil in the main post with public schooling was because, if the conservative parents (or even sane parents?) to whom I was addressing the post get their children out of public schooling, hopefully they will choose better next time, whether it be with a much saner private school or with home schooling. In many ways what I am trying to promote is an attitude of not just settling for whatever the educational establishment offers you. Sending one's kids to public school is, if one could do otherwise, a paradigm act of such settling. It's saying, "This is what's being offered at the local educational provider, so I guess this is what we get."

I think that stories like this can shock parents into not settling and can make them decide that they are going to take a more radical approach to their children's schooling.

Can the public schools be brought back from that type of badness in the main post? I really doubt it, because that is what is being promoted at the level that is educating the educators. We could downsize public education, as you suggest, and that might lessen the exposure of young people to this sort of stuff, but only to the extent that parents find or create better alternatives.

On the question of the role of money in education. I think part of the problem is that things cost more money than they should in public education of any kind. Hence, teachers are paid union scale. Or there is burdensome and expensive paperwork to satisfy the lawyers. This is why more important things (necessary infrastructure, for example) may suffer where funds are cut--because there are perverse incentives in the system that drive up costs for basic services.

I'm a little late to the party, but Jordan is spot on. Retreating from the local school at the first sign of trouble is cowardly and contrary to Paul's command in 1 Corinthians 16:13 to "act like men." There is a level at which the prudent play is to homeschool, but working parents don't always have that luxury. Knowing what your kid is being taught, developing good relationships with the teachers and administration, taking an active role in PTA/extra-circular activities, and "home educating" are all ways Christian fathers and mothers should be staying involved in their children's lives.

Plus not all public schools are created equal. The level and content of education will probably be better in rural Tennessee than it is in San Francisco or Boulder. This factor is seemingly never mentioned when us public schoolers are given the commandment to remove our kids from what is apparently the den of Satan. Not to mention that children are much more likely to be influenced by their peers than by their teachers. This is one of the better arguments for a private school setting, and one I would consider should I have kids someday.

I for one am glad both my parents work in public education and are able to show Christ's light to the world. I'm glad my high school principal saw it as his mission to be a godly leader for the over 1,500 students and faculty members he oversaw. (This is a man who walked around campus and praying for his students prior to each school day). I'm glad my former youth pastor, now head pastor at my parent's church, has enrolled his kids in the local school and spends his time volunteering/mentoring at a school in the poorer part of town. Their influence is stronger than the loon pushing for calling children "purple penguins" could ever have.

Retreating from the local school at the first sign of trouble

The first sign of trouble???? That's almost enough to leave one speechless. This is by no means the "first sign of trouble." In fact, the public schools have been getting increasingly worse for the past fifty years!

There is a level at which the prudent play is to homeschool, but working parents don't always have that luxury.

Yeah, I said that. Working parents also sometimes have to put their babies into daycare. Is that also mandated by the Apostle Paul? Good grief. I expressed sympathy for people who literally have no choice. People who have no choice often have to settle for bad situations, because they have no choice. That's a far cry from saying that it is unmanly to give your child the best education you can, when you can.

Knowing what your kid is being taught, developing good relationships with the teachers and administration, taking an active role in PTA/extra-circular activities, and "home educating" are all ways Christian fathers and mothers should be staying involved in their children's lives.

All of that has been answered over and over and over in this thread. Btw, please notice: In the main post, the parents are _very_ involved and their children are _still_ being taught this disgusting nonsense. It isn't working, is it?

Plus not all public schools are created equal. The level and content of education will probably be better in rural Tennessee than it is in San Francisco or Boulder.

In some ways yes and in some ways no. The parents in Lincoln were apparently quite shocked that this craziness came to their school. They thought they had one of the better schools as well.

There are some things that differ and some things that are the same. In fact, the ACLU goes about the country _deliberately_ attempting to find and stamp out local differences in a number of areas, using various court precedents for their purpose.

Moreover, in terms of educational quality, the Common Core is going to erase many of the differences in quality that do remain.

Besides which, in the main post I was talking about the gender-bending insanity, not about educational quality per se.

Not to mention that children are much more likely to be influenced by their peers than by their teachers.

That is an exaggeration. They are influenced by both, and the peers themselves are influenced by what they are taught and what is assumed, including the kind of explicit propaganda and atmospheric brainwashing suggested by the materials I discussed in the main post.

Their influence is stronger than the loon pushing for calling children "purple penguins" could ever have.

Again, an exaggeration. I actually disagree with you. A whole school district full of teachers following the commandments in the handouts, together with all the other pro-homosexual propaganda they are going to have to endorse, will do a _lot_ more harm than the influence of three good people trying to "shine the light of Christ" in a system in which they are explicitly forbidden from promoting religion (per court precedents).

Part of my point in the main post was the _coercion_ upon the teachers. Perhaps you didn't notice. I was _assuming_ that there are good teachers in the system who don't want to teach this stuff and whose arms were twisted by the materials at the training session. Much insanity comes from the top down. In fact, that type of coercion is _designed_ to eliminate whatever wholesomeness remains in the system because of local differences and good individual teachers.

Example: Bill Diss, a math teacher (of all things), Catholic, was fired for not allowing Planned Parenthood to come into his class to promote their filth to students.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/12/18/pro-life-math-teacher-fired-after-his-vocal-opposition-to-planned-parenthood/

There is a level at which the prudent play is to homeschool, but working parents don't always have that luxury.

Of the homeschooling parents I know, it is not a luxury. It's a hard sacrifice. Rarely do these parents take their children out of school "at the first sign of trouble". The parents I know are Catholics; the first sign of trouble was the institution of public schools in order to brainwash Catholic children out of their papist beliefs. And that was more than 150 years ago here in the United States. It's gotten worse from there.

Even now, if there weren't this moral perversity saturating schools, why would I leave my child(ren) for 8 hours a day (plus commuting time) in the hands of other people? Every day, 5 days a week? It's unnatural. Men, and now women, racking up student loan debt and working outside the home for so many hours a day for iPads and beach vacations is the main reasons these cesspools continue to exist. Unless there were extreme need, I'd rather grow vegetables, live in a trailer and homeschool.

Consider that the majority of pro-homeschoolers who did attend public school did not have anywhere near your experience, even in rural Washington state or suburban areas of the Bible Belt. Your anecdote is the exception, not the rule.

Well, yes, there is also the odd assumption that bricks-and-mortar schooling is the default setting, by the natural light (or something), and that home schooling is undertaken only as some sort of counsel of desperation.

I have not even addressed this assumption, but Marissa's comment touches on it.

Home schooling itself is more a way of life than simply a method of education. To some degree the importance of that way of life is a matter for each family's choice, but many of us who home school cannot imagine the hectic activities-based nature of schooling life, nor can we imagine wanting to have our children raised by others to that extent. That's a lotta hours, even if the atmosphere is all good. And it seldom is "all good." My parents sacrificed to send me to Christian schools as a child to avoid the Chicago public school system, and there was plenty in my K-8 Christian school to which I would not want my children subjected. This was forty years ago, and it was mild by comparison with much that I know of, but still there.

Then there is the sheer issue of cliquishness and all the unhealthy social patterns that arise from too much "being raised by peers" and by the desire to be cool. Children _agonize_ over not being part of the "in" crowd. They waste _huge_ amounts of emotional energy over it and develop self-image problems as a result. Home schooling has the potential to avoid all of that and develop much greater maturity and good sense in children at a younger age. That is not a Christian vs. public school issue. It is a school issue, period. Rare, rare is the school where kids don't develop that toxic relationship to peer pressure and the desire for acceptance.

I was lucky enough to go to a very small, fundamentalist Christian high school that largely avoided that sort of thing, but it was incredibly unusual in that respect.

Just for the record concerning those conservative pockets of the country.

Let me tell you about rural TN. Academically, TN is always in the lowest 5 states in the nation, and I can attest that it belongs there, having had to try to teach its graduates for the past 15 years. (Oh, and it was amazing how the test scores spiked when they switched from the nationally normed Iowa to the TCAP . . . and yet the students remain hopelessly unprepared. Thanks, NCLB.)

And it was a rural TN school that had a wonderful voluntary program where students from the local small non-denominational Christian college came once a week to tell Bible stories and talk about them to the kids. (It was very simple to opt out of if you wanted; there were some other activities available for those who didn't want to be part of this.) The kids LOVED it. But along came Freedom From Religion, because ONE family in the community was "offended" by this voluntary activity, and poof! it's gone forever.

And while the teachers in this area tend to be more conservative generally, they are products of the culture, too, and many teach whatever they educational establishment at large promotes. And how that establishment promotes it. So Common Core is here, and the kinds of dangerous nonsense Lydia exposes above is on its way. Parents' preferences won't make any difference; "progress" (not to mention federal funding) is the order of the day.

So, yes, is it a tad better here than in a Northeastern city. But for how long, and how many warning signs do you wait for?

First thing we did when we moved here was find out how to keep our youngest out.

And I shouldn't write after a day of grading wretched papers. All typos above are inadvertent and the product of an exhausted mind and too much exposure to illiteracy.

Given how bad the Christian schools were 40 years ago, I wonder how my parents and their five kids ever made it out of the public schools with their faith and good sense in tact.

Thus I conclude that you underestimate parental influence (vis-à-vis peer pressure and teachers' influence) and overestimate the amount of time wasted on controversial material (e.g., not arithmetic) in the classroom. I also think you overestimate how badly kids from loving families want to fit in and are willing to conform.

I also think you overestimate how badly kids from loving families want to fit in and are willing to conform.

I had a loving family and _desperately_ wanted to conform. I was just lucky enough to be sent to Christian schools and in particular to an even more narrow-minded Christian school for high school than for K-8.

But again, Jordan, are we necessarily saying kids will lose their faith? No, we aren't necessarily saying that. I don't see anywhere above where I or anyone else has stated that. So I think you are attacking a strawman here.

Let me also add this, though: Why are so many millenial Christians getting on-board with the homosexual agenda? Why do so many of them feel so uncomfortable with the Christian position on that moral issue? I believe that public schooling and wussy Christian schooling have a _lot_ to do with it. In general, an educational atmosphere that is "accepting of gayness," even aggressively so, for twelve years even *before* getting to college.

In fact, we're constantly being challenged to get with the program and just to accept that millenial Christians are not on-board with the traditional position. Statistically, I'm afraid that's all too true. I know of young people myself who are in many ways sincere Christians but are confused about this issue. There's nothing like relentless propaganda and "my best friend is gay" and all the rest of it to create confusion in the minds of the young.

You know, Jordan, I want a lot more for my children's education from their most formative years and on to young adulthood than for them to make it through it without losing their faith! We're talking about where they spend 30-plus hours per week of their most mentally alert time, about the majority of their friendships, their social group formation, their worldview formation, the adult authority figures placed before them. I believe I can do much better for them than public schooling along multiple axes, worldview being one of these, but only one. Again, you seem to think that the burden of proof is on the person who *doesn't* send his child to the public school, as though sending one's child to public school is prima facie owed somehow and we should be willing to do what it takes--hours of deprogramming, etc., etc.--to make it work. I feel *zero* duty of that kind and *zero* force to that notion of a prima facie case. I don't have to justify *not* using the public schools. That's not where the burden of proof lies. Any education is a product offered to me as the parent for my child. As far as I'm concerned, the public school education on offer is a poor product for many reasons, and I'm very grateful to have the option to say, "No, thanks."

But again, Jordan, are we necessarily saying kids will lose their faith? No, we aren't necessarily saying that.

No, you're not. But you've described public schooling as "toxic", "programing", "brainwashing". Beth called it "deadly to soul and to mind".

There's nothing like relentless propaganda and "my best friend is gay" and all the rest of it to create confusion in the minds of the young.

Of course, I would deny that public school is _relentless_ propaganda. It is occasional propaganda. I think it can be handled by wise parents the way it would be in the case of homeschooled children who will, at some point, encounter it.

Again, you seem to think that the burden of proof is on the person who *doesn't* send his child to the public school, as though sending one's child to public school is prima facie owed somehow and we should be willing to do what it takes--hours of deprogramming, etc., etc.--to make it work.

If I were saying "Please try to get your kids into a public school if at all possible" then the burden of proof would be on me. The burden is not on you to defend homeschooling as a legitimate option. That I never denied and certainly do grant. I deny that "Please try to get your kids out of public school if at all possible" is a reasonable conclusion. The public schools, bad as they are, are not there yet. There are good reasons for parents who _could_ take their kids out to keep their kids in. But you don't need to justify homeschooling.

I want a lot more for my children's education from their most formative years and on to young adulthood than for them to make it through it without losing their faith!

Absolutely. For myself and my wife, that's exactly our experience too: we remember being in schools where it was a major, full time battle to keep your faith intact in school and emerge from it still a Christian but not necessarily with a mature, expansive, flourishing faith. And (for us) that was in shoddy Catholic schools that were trying to always keep up with the (public school) Joneses, though always 5 to 10 years behind - so the public schools around us were turning out kids who generally lost their faith even earlier, anyway. We aim for a higher target: kids who not only are willing to continue going to church, but can articulate their faith intelligently (which not one in 50 could when I growing up) and are happy in that faith and experience joy in a real friendship with God. It is extraordinarily difficult for a kid to come to that when much of his peer interactions (and many of his teacher/student interactions) are (at best) explaining why some X or other isn't "weird and stupid" and (sometimes) being ragged unmercifully for not sleeping around for the sake of "puuuuuuuurrrrrity". We don't aim to set our children extraordinarily difficult challenges to their faith when we don't have to.

It is surely the case that different public schools are better than others - as is true of private schools as well. I found that out in close-up detail when I was a substitute teacher in public schools. But here's the catch: the system is trying to drive all public schools to be the same ABOUT SOME THINGS, and one of them is uniform acceptance of the GBLTXQNSMRPZ mindset as normal. Any given public school may not be there...yet. But virtually every public school is closer to there now than just 2 years ago, which is a LOT closer than any of them were 10 years ago, and practically all of them will be still further along the track in another 2 years. So Jordan, pose the question this way: where will you draw the line? At what point will you be willing to say: "that's it, I can't have my kid being imposed upon THAT way!"? Is there anything that would constitute a line?

Because, you know, most decent people 40 years ago would have been entirely ready to say "trying to ensure that my kids think that acceptance of the GLBTWNYUCD mindset is the upright, normal way to be a loving person" is past the line. So, so many of those people are now boiled frogs. Ribbit.

I think it can be handled by wise parents the way it would be in the case of homeschooled children who will, at some point, encounter it.

I completely disagree that what home schooled kids encounter, at least the way I'm working this thing, is at all the same *at the same ages*. Now, anybody can grow up, become a white collar worker for Pfizer, and be sent to propagandistic sensitivity training. At the age of twenty-two.

Or, to back it up somewhat, anybody can run into _some_ of that at college, but I'll be honest with you: If one is the customer and is paying for college, one should choose one's courses wisely and not be willing to settle for the propaganda being too pushy. There are such things as complaints to the chairman if the teacher is bullying the students, even at the college level. But at least by that time we are talking ages 18 and up.

So, no, it isn't at all alike. The books assigned for teaching, the language used, and the *sheer amount of time spent in an "accepting" atmosphere* are not at all the same at the same age. In fact, the very age at which a child so much as knows that there is such a concept as "gay" or "homosexual" is entirely different, and that in itself makes a difference to the likelihood of acceptance.

If I were saying "Please try to get your kids into a public school if at all possible" then the burden of proof would be on me.

Jordan, I think if you read your comments you will see something rather like that assumption. Look at your repeated references to, "You _can_ do this" or "You _could_ do that" or "I know of kids who have gotten through with their faith intact" or "Why not do such-and-such?" You have repeatedly ignored or overlooked the points we have repeatedly made about the sheer weirdness of sending one's kid into an atmosphere of ideas for *hours each day* from which one has to work extremely hard to deprogram him. Yet you keep on recommending this.

I'm afraid one really does get the impression that you think the prima facie case is for public schooling and that one has a responsibility to knock oneself out trying to work it out.

Frankly, reading your repeated comment themes, I'm tempted to point out that parents are not married to the public schools. It's not as though we have to do everything we can think of to make the relationship work before getting a divorce.

Lydia,

You hit the nail on the head with this:

So, no, it isn't at all alike. The books assigned for teaching, the language used, and the *sheer amount of time spent in an "accepting" atmosphere* are not at all the same at the same age. In fact, the very age at which a child so much as knows that there is such a concept as "gay" or "homosexual" is entirely different, and that in itself makes a difference to the likelihood of acceptance.

This is personal for me -- in some sense I have failed my children. There are complicated reasons for this, but I see up close what good public schools (meaning ones that don't relentlessly push the GBLTXQNSMRPZ agenda, as Tony would put it), do to my kids, and without even trying hard my kids default position is that there is nothing wrong with being gay, so-called gay "marriage" is O.K., etc. It is more than their teachers and formal curriculum -- as Lydia says it is their reading materials, their peers, etc. The public schools swim in the broader culture and if you live in a blue state that embraces liberalism it is hard to escape this culture unless you are firmly counter-cultural (i.e. you home-school or send your kids to a special, strict Christian school).

Tony's right -- I live among boiled frogs.

I completely disagree that what home schooled kids encounter, at least the way I'm working this thing, is at all the same *at the same ages*.

But you don't have that level of control. What if your kids see lesbians kissing at the mall? Or perhaps you would never take them to the mall. What if a public-schooled kid in Sunday School or youth group tells them about a meaning of "gay" that's not "happy"? Or perhaps you don't put them with the public-schooled kids at church. Do they overhear an adult in the church foyer talking about same-sex marriage?

My wife grew up on a farm. Learned about sex from some cattle at about 4 years old. She knew where babies come from long before I did. I would not call this a bad method of sex ed. At least, I don't see negative results.

In general, I think you underestimate children and overestimate adults. A well-meaning adult could produce a toxic home education environment. I'm not saying that's common, but it does happen. Further, the sea change in views on same-sex marriage has occurred among the adult population in a matter of a few years. Are children really that much more susceptible to peer pressure? The 18-year-old home school graduate is susceptible to the same propaganda at college as the public school grad. I think the only difference is that the home schooled one is more likely to come from a good home and be bright.

But I have no love for the public schools. I just don't think they're brainwashing centres.

But you don't have that level of control.

Jordan, you have been a polite interlocutor, and I have tried to respond in kind, but I ask you to consider that perhaps you don't know what you are talking about here. I have a grown child who is *over twenty-one years old*. I have two younger children. I know _exactly_ how this thing is working out for us, and you don't.

Moreover, this is a matter of probabilities, which you give a very strong impression of not caring tuppence about.

What if your kids see lesbians kissing at the mall?

What if they don't?


What if a public-schooled kid in Sunday School or youth group tells them about a meaning of "gay" that's not "happy"?

What if we go to a better church than that?

Do they overhear an adult in the church foyer talking about same-sex marriage?

If that happens, we tell them we will explain more about it when they are older and that it has to do with the world demanding that we approve of sin which we refuse to approve of.

Which is *not even remotely* what would happen in seven hours a day, five days a week, at a public (or even sometimes at a Christian) school.

Learned about sex from some cattle at about 4 years old. She knew where babies come from long before I did. I would not call this a bad method of sex ed. At least, I don't see negative results.

Now you are getting silly. I grew up in a city with cats. I used to watch them mate out the back window and watch the mothers giving birth on my bed.

If you don't understand the difference between farm kids knowing *about the facts of normal mammalian sex* from observing animals and kids being introduced to the concept of vile perversion and taught that it is normal when they are in grade school, I simply don't know how to help you.

Actually, I teach my children the facts of life relatively early.

Homosexual sodomy is not the birds and the bees. There is a *whole tribe* the Amazon valley (I believe it is) that literally has no concept of homosexuality. That's _healthy_. But, yeah, they know about sex.

It's the bizarre nature of our Western culture that causes people to make that kind of association: "Oh, you don't want your kids to know about homosexuality as children? I guess you don't understand how great it is for a farm kid to learn about sex from being around farm animals."

Gee, what else should they be educated about at the age of five? What else is just normal sex ed, akin to growing up on a farm? Bondage and sadomasochism?

A well-meaning adult could produce a toxic home education environment. I'm not saying that's common, but it does happen.

Irrelevant to the discussion.

Are children really that much more susceptible to peer pressure?

If their worldview is not already well-formed, yes, definitely.

The 18-year-old home school graduate is susceptible to the same propaganda at college as the public school grad. I think the only difference is that the home schooled one is more likely to come from a good home and be bright.

I believe it was the Jesuits who said that if you "gave them" a child until a particular age, the child would be theirs for life.

You completely fail to understand the nature and probable effects of solid worldview formation over the formative years, preferably well into the teens at least. You keep equating subjecting children to the type of atmosphere Jeffrey S. describes from age 6 through twelfth grade with subjecting them to _some_ propaganda for the first time at age eighteen. I've tried to explain the difference, but you keep saying the same things.

As far as I am concerned, parents should have gotten their children out of the public school if at all possible years ago. To those who have no other options ... my deepest sympathies go out. But for others, not so much.
Jordan, you have been a polite interlocutor, and I have tried to respond in kind, but I ask you to consider that perhaps you don't know what you are talking about here. I have a grown child who is *over twenty-one years old*. I have two younger children. I know _exactly_ how this thing is working out for us, and you don't.

My mother did not subject me to a toxic environment, to programming or brainwashing, she did not imperil the life of my mind or my soul by sending me to public school. It did not cost her hours each night in deprogramming.

She does not fit any of the exceptions in the original post. She was a stay-at-home mom with a university degree and a business-owner husband who chose nevertheless to enroll all five of her kids in the public school. The youngest is still in high school. The other four are all over 21. No lost faith, no wishy-washy worldviews, no unemployed bums. And we're hardly the only ones, even in our church.

I am not impugning your own homeschooling choice or methods, Lydia, but you have some strong opinions about a public school system you were never in and never put your kids in.

you have some strong opinions about a public school system you were never in and never put your kids in.

Perhaps you should read some of the other comments in this thread. Read Jeff's comment about how his children came osmotically to believe that gay is good from their schooling, for example. It is possible to be informed about a system one has not personally experienced, and what I have said here has multiple confirmations.

If I may say so, your own comments about life on the farm suggest to me that you misunderstand the nature of the protectiveness I am recommending. Those comments also suggest to me (forgive me if I am wrong) that you don't think homosexuality as perverse as I think it to be or the normalization of it for children from authority figures as horrifying as I consider it to be.

In other words, your comments throughout lead me to believe that we do not have the same priorities, which might well lead us to define "toxic," "brainwashing," and so forth differently.

By the way, do you deny that what is ordered in the materials linked in the main post is brainwashing? And do you deny that the nature of the content in question is toxic?

If either of these, I think that shows the type of difference of priorities I am talking about. This isn't just a sort of joke: "Oh, how silly those educators are. They should put this stuff on The Onion." This is a matter of seriously messing up little kids about the nature of reality, or at least trying very hard to do so.

By the way, I don't know if you ever looked up GLSEN and the kinds of materials they and Planned Parenthood promote to school children. "Toxic" is almost too mild a term.

Very nice for you if none of this came your way growing up, but as Beth and others throughout this thread have pointed out, there are people working good and hard to eliminate such pockets of wholesomeness remain in the public school system. Indeed, that is what the main post is about--just such an effort.

Jordan, about the possibility of a non-toxic environment in a public school: yes, it certainly is possible. Why, my mother was taught in a public school, and it wasn't toxic. So it must be possible.

Of course, that was 80 years ago. Today, while still possible to have a child now starting to finish public school without living a toxic atmosphere, the odds have gone down considerably. If you are willing to grant that to be true, all that is really left is deciding whether the probability has sunk to 20%, or 10%, or 5%, or what. Or, to put it in terms of how we make actual decisions when there is not hard firm data (i.e. no specific numbers): whether the prospect is likely, or plausible, or implausible, or beyond any reasonable expectation.

Given my experience with (a) my neighbors' kids, in the local public schools, and (b) my nieces and nephews, in schools in NY and other places, and (c) my co-workers' kids in public schools, in schools in the metro area, and so on, I would have to say that the prospect at this point is implausible or worse. Remember, we went (in 6 short years) from it being federal law to treat gay 'marriage' as a non-entity and liberal public figures publicly saying they did not approve of gay 'marriage' and still being elected by liberal groups, to liberals pushing a "you are not even permitted to NOT VISIBLY APPROVE a co-worker's gay lifestyle when he talks about it" agenda. In 2 more years or so, there will be so many cases of teachers getting kicked out of public schools for living their Christian faith, and students in public colleges being given administrative reprimands (or expelled) for the same, that the chill effect will silence all but the most stupid or most resolute - even in the public schools that are not, themselves, the front line banner-bearers for the rainbow agenda, because it might become so next week, like the school across town did.

Hello,

Hope you don't mind a word or two of input from "across the pond" but this issue is spreading here too, and I am attempting to encourage the following to be held up as a response to it:

“Transsexuality” is where you believe yourself to be something that you patently are not (ie: a member of the opposite sex) and then demand surgical mutilation – to remove your genitals and replace them with artificial replicas of the opposite-sex's genitals in order to superficially simulate the appearance of the opposite sex.

To suggest that this is NOT a mental illness (to be treated as compassionately but firmly as any other mental illness), but is instead a genuine change of sex, is utter mind-boggling nonsense that axiomatically puts ideology before reason and reality.

Such surgery is not a change of sex. It is a removal of sex. A created asexuality. A neutering. The Sexes are by definition the two intrinsically complementary roles in sexual reproduction – provider of sperm and egg. This procedure is not a change of sex but rather is a sterilisation that removes the capacity to provide sperm or eggs for reproduction (presuming, as is the vast majority of cases, that the recipient is not already sterile), and then replaces it with the superficial simulation of the opposite sex that has the form but not the substance of such.

Simulation is not the equivalent of reality, and the removal of sex is not a 'change' of sex. To believe otherwise is to live in fantasy – it is to live as the subject of hypnotism who believes that the green-painted stone truly is an apple. Assisting, or catering to, this is both cruel and irresponsible.

Lee, right, exactly. I remember conversing with one very conservative person who was giving me his opinions and saying pretty sensible things. At one point, though,he said something like, "I'm not saying that I don't want LGBT people to be employed..." He just used the "LGBT" thing unthinkingly because it's what everybody does at the company he works for, I assume. I didn't stop him and start lecturing, but I couldn't help thinking to myself that "T" people are living in crazy world and that to _want_ them to be employed is to want a major dose of crazy in one's company. Seriously, you _don't_ want men to be refused employment on the grounds that they wear drag, fake breasts (or breasts that have been grown by taking hormones), and insist on being called by female names all day long, by employees and customers alike? Well, I do!!! And so on for all the other insanity. You _don't_ want a man to be refused employment "just" because he insists on using the women's bathroom, which will understandably bother all your female employees? You _don't_ want a woman to be fired because she starts telling you that she is "a-gender" and insisting that you make everyone refer to her by the pronoun "it"? I mean, this is all insanity. *Of course* people can and should be denied employment for trying to bend an entire institution or workplace to play along with their craziness.

I really think locutions like, "I don't want LGBT people to be unemployed" are, in a sense, unthinking carry-overs from the "act vs. orientation" idea with regard to homosexuals. It never worked very well there, either, because *at least* in a secular company, and often now in Christian places as well, if you hire homosexuals they will be "out" and active homosexuals and will demand acceptance of their lifestyle. But at least one could make up a (not very plausible) scenario in which the word referred only to some kind of private thoughts or feelings which might have no effect on job performance or employability in some field. But that whole idea is inapplicable to transgender category, and sometimes I feel like even Christian conservatives aren't keeping up on the new nutty categories in this world.

I watched the Teletubbies (particularly Tinky Winky), although I wasn't an infant, and I turned out just fine.

Post a comment


Bold Italic Underline Quote

Note: In order to limit duplicate comments, please submit a comment only once. A comment may take a few minutes to appear beneath the article.

Although this site does not actively hold comments for moderation, some comments are automatically held by the blog system. For best results, limit the number of links (including links in your signature line to your own website) to under 3 per comment as all comments with a large number of links will be automatically held. If your comment is held for any reason, please be patient and an author or administrator will approve it. Do not resubmit the same comment as subsequent submissions of the same comment will be held as well.