Norm! asked some very thought-provoking questions in his comment this morning. I'm going to attempt to state my views as coherently as possible.
Also, as an educator, what are you thoughts about gay/straight student clubs? In encouraging students to treat each other with respect and dignity, isn't it important for schools to allow student groups for minorities whether they be sexual, racial, or religious?
Student clubs are an important part of the high school years for many teens. The point of clubs is to give many different kids another avenue to "belong"; to feel they are contributing to something and are valued within a group. As long as we allow even one special interest club to form at school then we have to be very broad in terms of what other sorts of clubs we allow. That's part of the nature of public school. A public school is a microcosm of the society at large. As long as the activities of the club are not interfering with the learning environment (which is up to the administrator's discretion) then it should be allowed. The more controversial a student club is, in my opinion, the greater lengths that club should go to in order to prove it's a beneficial part of the school culture. For instance, if a Fellowship of Christian Athletes club formed in a school of high Jewish population, it would be disruptive for them to put up signs condemning Jews. Not to mention that it would also be very unChrist-like and defeat the purpose of having the club in the first place. In my opinion, special interest clubs should be able to post information about the times and places of their meetings, and then, just meet. All done.
So yeah, I think a gay/straight alliance club could be a very healthy thing and certainly a wonderful avenue to get some communication going after school hours. If I were an administrator and started having all sorts of issues between different student clubs that were interfering with the staff's ability to teach, I'd say "shut them all down." The most important thing that goes on at school is the learning environment. If done correctly, special interest groups at school can enhance that environment for kids by giving them a group and a place to belong. This, in turn, makes all the difference for some, particularly those on the "fringes" who can easily fall through the cracks if they are not connected in some way. *whew* that was long! sorry!
As for curriculum, how do you differentiate between teaching about a topic versus advocating a particular topic. I have heard some on the Right argue that simply mentioning homosexuality or diversity training is using schools to advocate for the gay agenda. And I have heard some on the Left argue that teaching the Bible or basic morality is the same as proselytizing. What are some of your views?
You know, there are probably those on the far Right(maybe not even so "far") who think I'm advocating homosexuality on this blog, would you agree? I've heard there is some sort of effort being made (and possibly a done deal) to include the topic of homosexuality in text books. I don't agree with that, and not necessarily because I think it's advocating it or not, but mostly because I think it's unnecessary based on the things I mentioned in my post yesterday. Diversity training does not need to include "facts" or theories about how one becomes gay. We don't actually know the answers to that. What we can teach, is that we treat one another as fellow humans. I won't repeat what I said yesterday. That's a human agenda, not a gay one. Basic morality can be taught without ever mentioning the Bible. There's an underlying moral code, a sense of wrong and right, which, in my opinion proves the existence of God. Certain moral codes are "innate". Using the Bible as a cultural or literature reference shouldn't be a problem any more than using Chinese proverbs or Greek mythology. I don't agree with using the Bible as a science textbook for the same reasons I don't think we need to teach the origins of homosexuality in a textbook. There are some pretty giant leaps of faith that must be taken in both those instances and you still don't really come up with any clear cut answers.
There are so many things that are appropriate and difficult enough to teach in public school to the diverse population of kids we get. It just bugs me to no end to have people who've never spent any time in a school deciding what we need to teach. Our plate is full right now. The last few generations and the ones coming up are needy and it is becoming more and more difficult to teach even the most basic of skills to these kids. Why we insist on convoluting our curriculums with things that we can't be sure of I don't know.
It is the responsibility of parents and churches to teach spiritual truths to children. Public school gets blamed for so many ills in society when all that public school can do is reflect society as a whole. It's a public institution funded by tax dollars in a democracy. The problems we have in school don't originate in the schools, they originate in the homes and families of the kids that are sent to school. Now I'm on another soap box! Better jump off right quick.
Thanks Norm! for stimulating my thinking about all this.
View Current Blog