Wednesday, October 22, 2008

One Question-


Why is it ok to teach 1st graders about homosexuality, but mention creationism in a High School classroom and you'll have a riot?

30 comments:

Robin said...

Noah is in High School and they have "circle time" where they discuss issues of the day: abortion, gay marriage, politics, and such. You can say anything you like and back up your argument any way you like, except you can't use religion as the reason you hold your beliefs. Religion is not allowed at all.

You have to make 2 comments during circle time in order to get credit for the class. Noah said that he use to say very little and make neutral comments so he wouldn't be attacked by his classmates. He has learned to find support for his (conservative) ideas in areas other than religion. He now speaks up against "popular" opinion. He said often he stands alone in his position. It makes me feel proud of him.

I feel proud of you too.

adam said...

"you can't use religion as the reason"

Obviously public school teachers can't be teaching one religion over another, but why is this such a big problem in K-12, when in college no one cares? (At least in my experience.) In fact, in my current graduate program in counseling, we are encouraged to discuss and write about how our faith influences how we view our clients.

Re: Creationism - The problem is that there really isn't a class in high school that is appropriate for teaching about religion, other than seminary. Biology for example, is a science class and should be limited to *scientific* facts and theory.

Personally I don't think any schools should be teaching anything about sexuality without parental consent, even heterosexual-religious values.

mj said...

i don't have any kids yet and i am already worried about so many things that i read are going on in public schools, from cutting down on recess time to teaching exclusively standardized tests to teaching sexuality in non-age appropriate ways. it seems to all add up to not letting kids be kids.

i believe that unfortunately there probably are things that children need to be taught about sexuality (e.g., no one is allowed to touch you there) and i'm okay with schools teaching things like there are many different kinds of families, but kids should not be treated as weird because they have two dads, etc. but I don't think that children need to be grappling with their personal sexual identity at age seven (which is the possible result of reading a book like this to them). please keep the romance out of it.

i have all kinds of mixed feelings about things like prop 8 as there are plenty of people i admire and respect that happen to be gay, yet my belief about marriage is that it is eternal and one of the many purposes is definitely procreation.

my feelings about what kids should be taught in schools are not as mixed (though it's still a little hard to draw the line). by the time they are older and can think more for themselves, i think discussions are fine, but while they are kids let them be kids, i say, and teach them what they need to know in their current social sphere.

i really have no problem wth creationism not being discussed in schools because i think there is no clear contradiction between science and religion, whereas there is a clear contradiction between teaching that homosexual marriage is okay and what many religions believe.

i definitely did not mean to write that much.

Sally said...

I have a first grader. We don't talk about romantic love at all. He is 6! The only love he needs to know about now is parental, familial, and godly love.

King & King in MA is the reason I turned the corner in support of Prop 8. That and the 1st grade field trip to the lesbian wedding. I have deep sympathy for gay couples who want to be married. But even deeper than my sympathy is the fact that I have ZERO tolerance for a group that wants to promote their agenda over my rights as a parent to teach my children. This book and the field trip make me very angry as a parent.

Jonesy said...

Sally - I'm with you. My son's second grade teacher is what some may call a "tree-hugger". I am fine with all of the information that she gave to my son. I'm not sure how she worked it in with all of the curriculum that CA teachers are required to teach but my son knows what the little numbers on the bottom of plastic cups mean and I have been forbidden (by him) to buy eggs in styrofoam cartons.

My point is, she had an agenda. She managed, in one academic year, to turn my 7 year old into a recycling, tree planting, polar bear loving maniac. (He also learned all the other stuff second graders are supposed to learn as he is doing fine in 3rd grade this year)It was all perfectly legal in the name of social studies. I am happy that he has a consience about these things.

A teacher with a "Gay" agenda could have the same effect in the name of social studies if we do not pass prop 8. This is not okay with me.

Steve said...

Jonesy - Prop 8 won't have an affect on what is allowed to be taught in schools, at least public schools whether it passes or not! Making a law for defining marriage won't affect biology and real life. There will still be gay teachers and if they want to teach their students that that lifestyle should be accepted, then only the local school board can stop them. No state or federal law can, at least not in the current Prop 8 mandate.

MJ - Great comment!

Salty - There is a very simple answer to your question and it is called the seperation of church and state. Again, the very same laws that ALLOW you to practice your religion are the same laws that allow me not to have to hear about it when I am trying to understand science. Also, it is a 1st Amendment issue. You can believe that the moon is made of cheese, but there is no science that backs up your claim, thus it shouldn't be taught at a public school. If you want your children to be taught this, it is your job to either home school them, put them in private schools that believe your cheese theory or simply teach them on your own time.
Public schools are simply way too poor and busy to teach EVERY possible theory and argument. There is a reason our students are some of the worst (test score wise) in the world, b/c they aren't getting enough facts as it is; so to further cloud facts with theory at any level below college isn't doing any of them a favor.

Mikie said...

"Again, the very same laws that ALLOW you to practice your religion are the same laws that allow me not to have to hear about it when I am trying to understand science."

The point, to me, wasn't about creationism being mentioned, but rather the reaction it produced. The point is that it's a double standard. Just as you believe you have a right not to "hear about it" (anything related to religion or faith) in science class, why shouldn't someone have a right not "hear about" one groups beliefs regarding sexual orientation?

Jonesy said...

Steve - then explain why it was okay for this book to be read to a classroom full of first graders in Massachusets.

That wouldn't fly here !

Steve said...

Jonesy - That is up to the local school board, just like in every school district in this country, you are allowed to decide what is and isn't allowed to be taught to certain kids, unless a State Supreme Court overturns it. If you don't like your local school choices, re-elect NEW board members. I'm not saying it is the best solution, but it is how our public education system works in this country. And the fact you don't like it in Mass means that you can live in Utah and or any other school district that happens to not believe 1st graders shouldn't be read such a book.

mikie - This comes down to science versus religion. It is a FACT that gay people exist. It is a FACT that children will be exposed sooner or later to a gay student or gay parents. Facts belong in public school. Now if the school wants to offer an elective "creationism" class, then I personally don't have a problem IF the kid has learned the facts. An educated debater on any side is better than an uneducated one. As for the age this is appropriate, I don't know. I'm not an education expert. Some kids can handle these conversations in elementary school and some can't as adults. :)

All in all, I find these two debates to be hypocritical of conservatives. Conservatives are always worried about the government not protecting their rights and making too many rules, but with gay rights, they want FEDERAL mandated laws. Talk about a double standard?!?! And why, b/c gay rights still comes down to religious beliefs. Thus, to pass a law that is based purely on religious beliefs is a slippery slope and goes against everything most of the founding fathers were fighting for, freedom FOR and FROM religion.

Salt H2O said...

Steve-

There are a lot of "facts" out there I don't want my kids exposed to. Rape is a fact- AIDS is a FACT- mass genocide is a FACT- Herpes is a FACT- Simpsons is on at 6 pm every night- that's a FACT too! There are a lot of lovely FACTS out there that don't belong in schools.

The FACT is, your right to decide to teach your kids about gender identity when you think is apropreate for their maturity level in the state of California is gone if prop 8 doesn't pass.

(and Mikie was right, the question was about the reaction people have to the two statements. If Creationism is bogus than a highschool student is bright enough to have figured it out. There is no way a 1st grader is going to have an informed opinion on homosexuality before you read him King and King)

In addition- a story like King and King makes homosexuality ok- you have teachers telling kids it's ok to be homosexual, taking kids to their homosexual marriages, condoning it- where's the freedom for the students or the parents in that? It's basically forcing any parent that does not want their kids indocrinated by the homosexual agenda to put their kids in private schools.... you better be ready to bring in vouchers.

And again it's not about gay "rights" it's about acceptance. Tell me what rights homosexuals in California will gain that they don't already have.

Jonesy said...

Steve - so you are telling me to use my power at the polls to get what I want. THAT'S what prop 8 is about!! This is my first line of defense. If it doesn't pass, then I'll have to keep fighting and if it comes down to my local school board I'll fight there too. But it seems silly to me to wait until the boat is half sunk to start bailing out the water.

Kamilli Vanilli said...

steve,

There are many reasons against gay marriage that have nothing to do with religion. It has to do with a government that supports and protects the family (with a mom and a dad) as the building block of society. It's about protecting children and giving them the best foundation to grow up in--with 2 parents. A lot of this is discussed in the LA Times article I gave a link to earlier.

Yes, I know this is where people will bring up divorce, adoption, gay adoption, etc. These arguments don't change the fact that the government has a role to support, safeguard, and promote the ideal and healthiest mode for raising future generations: the traditional family.

adam said...

"indocrinated by the homosexual agenda"

Salt - I can see why many people feel this way, but I think we have to include the teaching ANY agenda that is based on values... i.e. if a teacher can't invite her kids to a lesbian wedding, for example, a teacher should not be able to invite her kids to a straight wedding either.

Jonesy said...

My 4 kids have been attending public school in California for a cumulative 23 year. They have never been invited to a teacher's wedding.

Mikie said...

"It is a FACT that gay people exist."

Who said anything about them not existing? Drug addicts and alcoholics exist too, people who may just as well have a genetic predisposition towards their behavior.

In any case, as Salty says, the issue is not about informing kids of "facts" as you suggest (unless the "fact" they're teaching is that homosexuality is "normal and healthy", which is not fact but one group's belief) but about acceptance.

It's not about teaching kids love and tolerance-- no specific distinctions need to be made with regards to how we treat people who are different than ourselves in order to teach something like this, it applies to all shapes and forms of hate out there-- but rather teaching them that a certain behavior is "ok", which frankly is the parent's responsibility.

And if the morality the school teaches and what the parents teach are at odds, who do you think is going to get labeled and condemned for their beliefs?

Allie said...

The main point I try to make in any discussions like this is that if you are in a state where it matters (i.e. CA, or AZ, and maybe one other- I can't remember), don't vote out of fear.

Vote based on what you believe is right.

I thought this was interesting.

Six Consequences

ray said...

I am an LDS mom with 3 kids in Catholic school, one in Kindergarten. We have many discussions about how things that are taught at school (praying to Mary, infant baptism, the holy trinity) are not consistent with what we as members of the LDS church believe. The kids understand this and it hasn't undermined their testimonies.

I feel the same way about "King and King". I wouldn't necessarily be pleased with it being read to my first grader, but neither is it reason to get freaked out about. Believe it or not, young children can understand that not everyone believes the same as you and your family. It's a similar situation if your child's teacher drinks coffee or takes the Lord's name in vain.

Oh, and creationism isn't even taught in BYU Biology classes. It has no place in any highschool biology class (or any other class except maybe World Religions).

Steve said...

Again and again, it was the conservatives that brought UP Prop 8, not gay rights. It was to fight back against gay marriage. This is a lash back, not forward by them!!!

Salty - Each of the things you listed, the book, the wedding, were one time things where the parents AGREED to these. And I think Ray is the closest to being right here, if parents do their job, then your kids will understand "right and wrong" the way you want them to.

Kamilli - Since when is govt in charge of "protecting family values"?!?!?! This when most conservatives won't trust them with their healthcare, taxes, or immigration!?!?!

Salt H2O said...

Ray-
That's nice that you think your kids can handle it- but what if my kids can't? Shouldn't parents have the ultimate say in what kind of morality is taught to their children?

Again- I don't care if creationism is taught or not in school- it was just show the contrast in outrage for teaching teenagers something contreversial versus teaching kindergartners homosexuality.

Steve-
The parents did not agree to king and king. They are some of the most vocal FOR prop.8.

As to the wedding- could you imagine what would happen if a teacher took her kids to a Catholic Wedding with parent concent? I'm with Adam- why kids are going to weddings during school time...let's get them back to the basics.

Again, I pose the question- what rights will proposition 8 deny homosexuals in California that they currently have?

CognitiveDiversity said...

Hey 4 eyes

For your next post you should mention this story:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/10/11/MNFG13F1VG.DTL

A first grade class is not the place to have gender attraction discussions.

Also this is the best video I have seen on the topic:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zbpDe_QhS0

This is the most humorous YES videos I have seen on the topic
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTiN2NEk3Bw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoZXtn0RIjE&feature=channel
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arM5KHw-XNU&feature=channel
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQnwjpfQ5q0&feature=channel
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvBNYNGaW7o&feature=channel


This is the most humorous No video I have seen on the topic
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiYmjDzSg3o

Kamilli Vanilli said...

steve,

There are countless laws on the books with the purpose of protecting and aiding children. The government has a very obvious interest in protecting and promoting healthy children and families.

I always get a kick out of people who say that we can't "legislate morality." Practically every law we have is a legislation of morality to one degree or another. Unfortunately, today's moral relativism has brought us to the state we find ourselves in now.

Steve said...

kamilli - For what it's worth, I'm almost always against legislating morality. We have civil liberties for a reason, not to have them trampled on by "activist legislatures". ;-)

Steve said...

Salty - From your own blogroll....
http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/?p=2082
The commentors sum up the discussion in your last two posts better than all of us have.

Salt H2O said...

Steve-
I've been meaning to remove FMV from my blogroll- thanks for reminding me.

Not because they share a different opinion, but because civility is reserved for conservatives- and after reading their comments about Palin, I realized they aren't feminists either. It really should be renames Liberal Mormon Housewives.

ray said...

This thread is getting close to the "beating a dead horse" level, but I'll answer your question, SaltH20.

If a parent is not pleased with anything that is taught in their child's classroom they can request a different teacher, they can rally like-minded parents and complain to their school boards or, like I did, find an alternative. This is what parents who care about their kids' education do whether it be about moral issues, curriculum (I hate Everyday Math and Disaster Spelling), student performance and test scores, the banning of recess, or whether or not the cafeteria serves enough veggies. I just don't think it's time to get Big Brother government to step in and start dictating what can and can't be read in our classrooms ("Huck Finn" and "Little Black Sambo", anyone?). Now if a school started having "clothing optional day", well, that's a whole 'nother matter.

Salt H2O said...

What's the difference between Gay Day or Clothing optional day? Who are you to say that not wearing clothing is immoral? Isn't the body a beautiful creation? Shouldn't it be celebrated? Boys are going to find out sooner or later what girls look like- and vica versa- it's a fact. Nudists every where are good people. Why should Nudists be treated any different than you or I are treated?

Everyone is naked beneath their clothes- that is a fact. School is a place to teach facts. Who are you to say that naked children are wrong?

Kids can handle learning about nudism and naked bodies at a young age- you under estimate their capacity. Children should be comfortable with nakedness.

Salt H2O said...

No one is talking about burning books- but educators feeling justified in exposing children to their form of morality because the state condones it.

Jonesy said...

Yes - Yes - Yes Soapbox! Now you've got it. "Clothing optional" day ! And anon's comment from the other post "porn as art" day. It's all about moral acceptance. Anything goes !

ray said...

haha! Okay, my "clothing optional" day comment was about as well thought out as your "creationism" comment.

But it did get me to thinking. I lived in Germany for 2 years when I was in grade school and it is not uncommon to see topless women and naked children in public. They have looser "indecent exposure" standards than we do. That being said, this exposure was not in an attitude of being lurid, expositioning, or sexually charged in anyway. It was hot, sunny, and that's what is socially acceptable. And for some reason, Germany has not disolved into steaming ruins of whoring and lasciviousness (for all the reasons you sarcastically pointed out). Of course this would not fly in American society because we have not socially defined such exposure in the same way.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a proponent of moral relativism (or of not wearing clothing), but neither am I a social structure Chicken Little. If King and King freaks you out so much, ask your child's teacher if your little one can go to the counselor's office and do math worksheets instead of listening to any book you object to.

Cindi M said...

Kids are being taught many things far too young these days. There is even a thought that teaching kids conservation while they are in the lower grades of grammar school may create kids who later don't care about the environment. We are handing our anxieties about the earth and environment over to first and second graders. Anyone else see a problem with that?

Why, oh why, can't we just let kids be kids. Carefree. Of course there are dangers that we teach kids about, but even there, the tendency these days is to go overboard with these things. We are creating a massive amount of fear in our children!