As a retired public school teacher who writes about the crumbling state of America’s schools, I read a lot of opinions about education. One source is a social media group for teachers in the Florida school district in which I began my career.
For obvious reasons, a frequent topic of “conversation” is the highly popular Parental Rights in Education Act (misnamed the “Don’t Say Gay” law).
Most of the comments oppose the new law. Many show a natural talent for ridiculous analogy and tenuous logic.
“Teaching kids about frogs isn’t grooming them to become amphibians.”
“The purpose of public education in a public school is not to teach kids only what their parents want them to be taught. It is to teach them what society needs them to know. The client of the public school is not the parent, but the entire community, the public.”
“At what level is it appropriate to teach public school students about clownfish? Juvenile clownfish have no gender/sex.”
The villains in the leftist version of this saga are Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida’s Republican-dominated Legislature. Some more “moderate” observers might think the whole matter to be a tempest in a teapot or an occasion for the governor to score cheap political points.
For those who have doubts, let me introduce the president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, who recently told the audience of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that “we’ve been very lucky in America, and we in some ways live in a bubble for a long time. This is propaganda. This is misinformation. This is the way in which wars start. This is the way in which hatred starts.”
In another interview, the AFT President impugned parents with traditional values. “Rather than help us help our kids socially, academically and emotionally, these vocal minorities want to marginalize LGBTQ kids, censor teachers and ban books.”
These leftist attacks always follow one of two lines. Conservatives are either evil or stupid. There is no need to engage the conservative arguments. Ridicule is enough since parents are not informed about the curricula.
However, ridicule is not enough in the “gender identity” battle. The reason is that conservative parents can read, and the radicals use written curricula to implement their plans.
Until recent years, these curricula came out in large binders. Most of the time, no one but the teachers read them. The binders sat on classroom shelves for years until a general house cleaning consigned them to the wastebasket.
Today, those “resources” are on the Internet. This means non-teachers can find them.
A few days ago, the 277-page “gender identity curriculum” for pre-kindergarten through third-grade students in the Evanston, Illinois, school system came my way. It is an eye-opener.
I immediately thought of how my former colleagues were ridiculing the State of Florida.
In fairness, there is no official connection between Evanston’s curriculum and Florida’s public schools. However, the radical Illinois ideas are identical to those threatening Sunshine State youngsters.
Since this is an official document, the usual copyright rules do not apply since all citizens already own this material. Therefore, we can use long passages to illustrate the dangers America’s children face.
Curricula are never light reading, but we do not need to delve very far into the one from Evanston to get an excellent idea of the destination. The very first lesson provides ample grist for our mill.
The radicals must doubt that Evanston’s teachers can navigate this road without a detailed map. Thus, they provide scripts to ensure that the teachers get it right—or left, as the case may be.
One tenet of modern education is that teachers begin with something the students already know to get them “warmed up.” In this case, the teacher asks, “What is a flag?” and asks the students about flags that they have seen.
Then, the teacher is to say, “Those are all great examples! This week we are going to learn about a special flag that some of you might have seen (show flag). Who has seen this flag before? Do you know who uses this flag or what it represents? Today we are going to learn where this flag came from and who it represents. Let’s listen to the book The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders.”
Harvey Milk was the first openly homosexual politician in the United States, serving on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors until he was shot and killed on November 27, 1978.
Amazon approvingly describes the book. “In this deeply moving and empowering true story, young readers will trace the life of the Gay Pride Flag, from its beginnings in 1978 with social activist Harvey Milk and designer Gilbert Baker to its spanning of the globe and its role in today’s world…”
Gay Times Magazine said this book “should be in every school.”
After reading, the teacher says, “As you heard in the story, sometimes people who look the same love each other, and sometimes people who look different love each other. – Boys can love boys, girls can love girls, people can love people. When a boy loves another boy, they can be called gay, and when a girl loves another girl, they can be called a lesbian or Lesbians. When a boy loves a girl, they are called straight. When someone is not a boy or a girl, maybe they feel both, they are non-binary or queer.”
“This beautiful flag represents gay people, lesbians and other people in their community. A community is a group of people who live in the same area or have the same ideas or beliefs. This community believes that you should love who you want to love and be yourself. This week we are going to learn about all the colors in this flag, what they stand for and what they mean to different people.”
Now, the class shifts to another activity to drive the point home. It is also time to manipulate the children. So the teacher assigns a task.
“This week we are going to make our own rainbow flags, we’re going to dress in rainbow colors and we’re going to make a rainbow flag together as a class, it’s going to be great! Today we are going to make a flag that represents us!”
Then there are two instructions for the teacher. Apparently, these are so simple that an exact script is unnecessary.
“Hands-on activity: Students will make a flag that they feel represents them.”
“Invite students to wear the colors we will be learning about tomorrow, red and orange!”
So far, I have described two of the two hundred seventy-seven pages of the Evanston curriculum. The subsequent material is easy to imagine. The intentions of the curriculum writers in Evanston are inescapable.
The Florida legislature is trying to protect Florida’s children from imbibing this poison.