Category Archives: Education

Five-year high schools ‘a creative disruption’ to show improved graduation rates

Earlier this month I told you about Oregon’s plan to count hundreds of students who completed four years of high school but don’t have diplomas as “graduates,” thereby raising the state’s on-time high school graduation rate, which currently  ranks second-lowest in the nation. Now they’ve got another great idea….

money2

Oregon Live: A small but growing group of Oregon high schools, including those in Albany, Dallas, Redmond and Lebanon, have found a legal way to get an extra $6,500 per student from the state school fund to usher students through a fifth year of high school that is actually a first year of college.

Leaders in districts that don’t offer students a free year of community college after they complete high school graduation requirements have cried foul at the use of money intended to pay for K-12 education to fund college instead.

But the head of Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission, in an opinion article written for The Oregonian, praises the fifth-year programs as a “creative disruption” that deliver astounding results.

The vast majority of students who try the free (to them) fifth-year program end up earning a full year of college credit. Most students who start at community college on their own drop out before earning that many credits. (So students need government taxpayer funding to improve their desire to continue college?)

That success convinced Nesbitt, who concedes the schools may be taking unfair advantage of the school funding system, that the rules should be changed to explicitly allow the five-paid-years approach to high school and community college — and to spread it to more communities.

One other rule has already been changed to help schools that offer the fifth-year program. Starting in January, those schools will be able to count students who enter the fifth year of high school as graduates — even though the students don’t have diplomas, because if the school were to give them one, the school couldn’t claim the $6,500 in state funding.

Oregon officials are making a huge push to increase the percentage of young Oregonians who earn degrees or industry certification from a community college. Having better-educated workers enter the job market would help transform Oregon’s economy, which currently has a lot of low-wage jobs because it has so many low-skilled workers who have dropped out of Oregon high schools or completed little or no higher education, said higher education commission member Duncan Wyse, who also directs the Oregon Business Council.

Here’s an idea: Try educating children during the three years of high school with a comprehensive curriculum. Wouldn’t result in more money, I guess.

DCG

University officials threaten students passing out U.S. Constitution

Campus Reform: University officials threatened to call the police and disciplinary action against students who were passing out copies of the U.S. Constitution at Southern Oregon University (SOU) last week.

A group of four students at SOU handed out copies of the Constitution on campus Tuesday while collecting signatures to end the university’s restrictive speech policies, which limit free speech to an area that totals less than one percent of campus. While doing so, the students were approached multiple times by school administrators and campus police who all asked the students to move to a different area of campus.

“I would very much like you to leave, if you would, please, because the students have the right to be able to come by here without you guys, you know, invading their space and asking them to do something,” Tim Robitz, director of university housing, can be heard telling the students in an exclusive video obtained by Campus Reform.

School administrators threatened to call the police on the students when the group did not leave. One of the students in attendance told Campus Reform that some administrators resorted to “personal attacks” and threatened disciplinary action.

“We have our free speech zone. I understand that you may not like it, but that’s where it is,” Allyson Beck, SOU’s family housing coordinator, told the students in the video.

The four students are affiliated with Students for Concealed Carry (SCC), a nonpartisan student organization that advocates for concealed carry rights on college campuses.

“We encountered wild accusations that because the event was affiliated with SCC, there was legitimate fear for the imminent danger of students on campus,” SCC member Stephanie Keaveney told Campus Reform after the incident. “Administrators accused us of causing an immediate panic for the safety of students in the face of gun violence, or the promotion of such.”

Campus police did inform the group that they had received a complaint from another student who said he felt uncomfortable, although members of SCC told Campus Reform that not a single student complained to them.

“[S]tudents on this campus were in no way framing themselves to be a legitimate threat to safety or inciting unlawful behavior,” Keaveney said. “This action was only related to SCC in that its members on this campus believe in order to fight for our second amendment rights; we must first be free to exercise our first amendment rights.”

Besides asking the group to move to the designated free speech zone, SOU officials asked the students to make sure they were explaining to their peers why the free speech zone exists in the first place.

“Well I just think if you’re going to ask someone to sign a petition, it’s always helpful if you’re explaining both sides of the petition–why the policy exists is certainly useful as opposed to saying ‘we want this,” Robitz can be heard telling the students in the video.

While Robitz did tell the students he would be willing to sit down and have a conversation about SOU’s speech policies, but that “doesn’t necessarily mean [he] supports doing it.”

“If you’re asking me if I support it, I don’t think I could say yes or no at this point because clearly there’s a number of reasons why it exists and I think we need to look at all those–good, bad, and indifferent–because it’s not just about the free speech of students,” Robitz told the students in the video. “When you open it up to free speech that means anyone anywhere can come on here and do that and that might create some other challenges for this campus that we’re not prepared to manage.”

Students were handing out the free Constitutions in what SOU considers a “residential area” because of its close proximity to residence halls. The four students didn’t have a table and stayed on a sidewalk which led to a main road.

“Caging students in censorship zones flies in the face of the First Amendment and undermines the reason for education,” David Hacker, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, told Campus Reform. “Colleges and universities are and should be the marketplace of ideas, and the Constitution protects the speech rights of everyone, not just groups or students that a few university officials personally choose.”

Keaveney confirmed to Campus Reform that city police never approached the student group or asked them to leave. She also said that so far the university hasn’t taken any action against the students despite the threats to the contrary.

“While it is lawful for the university to maintain policies prohibiting activities which genuinely disrupt the educational process, restricting speech as acutely as SOU has by instituting and upholding the free speech zone is grossly more broad than necessary to ensure the educational process is not interrupted,” she said.

Neither Beck nor Robitz responded to a request for comment from Campus Reform. A university spokesperson did confirm to Campus Reform that the incident took place but did not say if the students would be further disciplined. UPDATE: In an email Tuesday afternoon, SOU confirmed to Campus Reform that it has no plans to further discipline the students.

DC

Oregon students get extra credit for attending Biden rally

This is what passes for education in Oregon’s public schools.

Teachers of two high schools in Oregon — Washougal and Cleveland high schools – not only gave their students the day off for attending a political rally in Portland in which VPOS Joe Biden campaigned for Democrat Sen. Jeff Merkley, the students even got extra credit for attending.

Joe Biden

Kyle Olson reports for EAGnews, Oct. 9, 2014, that “Laughing at Liberals” was there to talk to some of the attendees waiting to enter the rally.

One girl said she got extra credit for her “honors project” for attending. Another was so weak-kneed for Biden that she’s in awe just to breathe the same air as he does.

In a separate video, adults at the rally struggled to detail Biden’s accomplishments but some still liked the idea of a President Biden.

One woman said, “I support Joe because he’s had, obviously, a lot of experience. I think he had the right answer in Iraq but people didn’t follow. And I think he’s a good person.”

“We want a woman – Elizabeth Warren,” another Biden rally attendee says.

Another woman said, “We like Joe Biden – he’s got a great grin.”

Biden Joker

Her male companion chimed in, “And he’s got good working class roots and that’s what America needs.” He then held up a copy of Rolling Stone with POS Obama on the cover, and said, “I came today to see if he [Biden] would sign my recent Rolling Stone cover with Barack and, you know, he says, ‘I have Barack’s back,’ you know?”

Clearly, both the young and the adults of Portland are either stoned or have IQs the same as that of the average Equatorial Guinean.

H/t FOTM’s pnordman

See also:

~Eowyn

5-year-old forced to sign ‘suicide contract’ at school

Local15tv:  A Mobile mother is not happy about a controversial Mobile County School contract her daughter signed without her consent. The contract promises that her daughter will not kill or injure herself and others. Rebecca is angry.

“This isn’t right. She’s 5-years-old,” said Rebecca. Rebecca did not want Local 15 News to use her last name.

E.R. Dickson Principal Katryna Kinn

E.R. Dickson Principal Katryna Kinn

She said E R Dickson School officials crossed the line when they had her daughter sign a Mobile County Public Safety Contract without her being present. Rebecca said, “Most of these words on here, she’s never heard in her life.”

School officials told Rebecca they had to send Elizabeth home after an incident in class.  “They told me she drew something that resembled a gun,” said Rebecca. “According to them she pointed a crayon at another student and said, ‘pew pew,” said Rebecca.

She said her child was given a questionnaire to evaluate her for suicidal thoughts.   “[They] Asked her if she was depressed now,” said Rebecca. Without her permission, Rebecca said her child was given the Mobile County Public School Safety Contract to sign stating she wouldn’t kill herself or others. “While I was in the lobby waiting they had my 5-year-old sign a contract about suicide and homicide,” said Rebecca.

According to state law, minors cannot legally sign a contract. “There should be a different way to handle this situation. If this is protocol it needs to be looked at again,” said Rebecca. Local 15 News contacted school officials to see what the proper protocol is when handling “violent-like” behavior. Local 15 News has not heard back.

“My child interrupted us and said, ‘What is suicide mommy? Daddy what is suicide?” said Rebecca. “As a parent that’s not right. I’m the one should be able to talk to my child and not have someone else mention words like this in front of her at all.” Rebecca is pushing to have the incident removed from her child’s record. She said school officials have requested Elizabeth see a psychiatrist. She believes that is unnecessary.

Mobile County Public Schools Superintendent Martha Peek

Mobile County Public Schools Superintendent Martha Peek

Here’s a “statement” from the Mobile County Public Schools:

“This past week, concern about the use of a personal safety protocol was brought to the attention of school and system administrators. Immediate action was taken to address the issue. As a result of a review, the protocol is being revised and the use of the related safety form has been discontinued.

During the review of the school use of the protocol, it was determined that the counselor who used the system protocol interacted with the student in a caring manner. The counselor had an age-appropriate conversation with the student and did not use the terminology on the personal safety form. The counselor met with the student’s mother to share the information regarding the interaction with the student.

The safety and well-being of our students is always a top priority. Parents are encouraged to communicate and work directly with their local school and the central office to expedite resolutions regarding the delivery of services and support.”

Contact information for these “educators”:

E.R. Dickson Principal Kinn: (251) 221-1180.

Mobile County Public Schools Superintendent’s Office: (251) 221-4394.

DCG

How smart or stupid is your country?

I.Q. or Intelligence Quotient is a score derived from one of several standardized tests designed to assess human intelligence.

Like most natural human attributes, such as height, weight, or beauty, intelligence as measured by IQ tests falls into a normal distribution or bell-shaped curve, wherein the average (mean, median, and mode) score bisects the population into two equal halves, with most people clustering at or around the average, and few people in the curve’s two extreme ends.

The normal distribution curve can be divided by standard deviation (SD) units up or down the curve.

Bell-Curve-Normal-Distribution-IQ

In the IQ normal distribution curve, the average raw score is 100. Each SD unit is comprised of 15 IQ points. Approximately 95% of the population have an IQ between 70 and 130, which is within two standard deviations ± of the mean.

An IQ score of 145 is considered to be genius-level because, as you can see from the graph above, such an individual has an IQ that’s very rare. Only 0.1% of the human population have an IQ higher than 145; or, put another way, if your IQ is 145, you are more intelligent than 99.9% of humans. In contrast, individuals with IQ of 70 or below are severely cognitively challenged. In non-politically correct terms, they are morons (IQ of 51 to 70), imbeciles (IQ of 21-50), and idiots (IQ of 0 to 20). Please make a note of this.

(To convert a raw IQ score into a percentile ranking, click here.)

IQ scores have been shown to be associated or correlated with such factors as morbidity (health and disease), parental social status, and biological parental IQ. The inheritability of intelligence is politically controversial because the average IQ of certain racial groups — blacks (in the U.S. and even more in Africa), “native” Americans, and Hispanics — persistently are found to be lower than the human population average of 100. The consensus among scientists is that heredity and environment account for about 80% and 20%, respectively, of human intelligence.

While IQ is not a perfect measure of human intelligence (as if any measure is), IQ scores have proven to be good correlates and predictors of educational achievement, special needs, job performance, and income.

Below is a list of the average IQ scores of the world’s countries. The scores came from:

  • Work carried out earlier this decade by 2 scientists — British psychologist Richard Lynn and Finnish political scientist Tatu Vanhanen — who analysed IQ studies from 113 countries;
  • Subsequent research work by Dutch psychologist Jelte Wicherts.

In the list below, countries are ranked in the order from those with the highest average national IQ scores, to those with the lowest. Here’s the color code:

  • Blue: countries in North America
  • Green: Central and South America, Caribbean islands
  • Pink: Europe (East, West, Central) and Russia
  • Pink & Brown: Eurasia
  • Purple: Middle-East (incl. some countries in North Africa)
  • Brown: Asia (East, Central, South)
  • Turquoise: Australia, New Zealand, Pacific islands
  • Red: Africa
Rank
——–
Country
———————–
%
————-
1 Singapore 108
2 South Korea 106
3 Japan 105
4 Italy 102
5 Iceland 101
5 Mongolia 101
6 Switzerland 101
7 Austria 100
7 China 100
7 Luxembourg 100
7 Netherlands 100
7 Norway 100
7 United Kingdom 100
8 Belgium 99
8 Canada 99
8 Estonia 99
8 Finland 99
8 Germany 99
8 New Zealand 99
8 Poland 99
8 Sweden 99
9 Andorra 98
9 Australia 98
9 Czech Republic 98
9 Denmark 98
9 France 98
9 Hungary 98
9 Latvia 98
9 Spain 98
9 United States 98
10 Belarus 97
10 Malta 97
10 Russia 97
10 Ukraine 97
11 Moldova 96
11 Slovakia 96
11 Slovenia 96
11 Uruguay 96
12 Israel 95
12 Portugal 95
13 Armenia 94
13 Georgia 94
13 Kazakhstan 94
13 Romania 94
13 Vietnam 94
14 Argentina 93
14 Bulgaria 93
15 Greece 92
15 Ireland 92
15 Malaysia 92
16 Brunei 91
16 Cambodia 91
16 Cyprus 91
16 Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 91
16 Lithuania 91
16 Sierra Leone 91
16 Thailand 91
17 Albania 90
17 Bosnia and Herzegovina 90
17 Chile 90
17 Croatia 90
17 Kyrgyzstan 90
17 Turkey 90
18 Cook Islands 89
18 Costa Rica 89
18 Laos 89
18 Mauritius 89
18 Serbia 89
18 Suriname 89
19 Ecuador 88
19 Mexico 88
19 Samoa 88
20 Azerbaijan 87
20 Bolivia 87
20 Brazil 87
20 Guyana 87
20 Indonesia 87
20 Iraq 87
20 Myanmar (Burma) 87
20 Tajikistan 87
20 Turkmenistan 87
20 Uzbekistan 87
21 Kuwait 86
21 Philippines 86
21 Seychelles 86
21 Tonga 86
22 Cuba 85
22 Eritrea 85
22 Fiji 85
22 Kiribati 85
22 Peru 85
22 Trinidad and Tobago 85
22 Yemen 85
23 Afghanistan 84
23 Bahamas, The 84
23 Belize 84
23 Colombia 84
23 Iran 84
23 Jordan 84
23 Marshall Islands 84
23 Micronesia, Federated States of 84
23 Morocco 84
23 Nigeria 84
23 Pakistan 84
23 Panama 84
23 Paraguay 84
23 Saudi Arabia 84
23 Solomon Islands 84
23 Uganda 84
23 United Arab Emirates 84
23 Vanuatu 84
23 Venezuela 84
24 Algeria 83
24 Bahrain 83
24 Libya 83
24 Oman 83
24 Papua New Guinea 83
24 Syria 83
24 Tunisia 83
25 Bangladesh 82
25 Dominican Republic 82
25 India 82
25 Lebanon 82
25 Madagascar 82
25 Zimbabwe 82
26 Egypt 81
26 Honduras 81
26 Maldives 81
26 Nicaragua 81
27 Barbados 80
27 Bhutan 80
27 El Salvador 80
27 Kenya 80
28 Guatemala 79
28 Sri Lanka 79
28 Zambia 79
29 Congo, Democratic Republic of the 78
29 Nepal 78
29 Qatar 78
30 Comoros 77
30 South Africa 77
31 Cape Verde 76
31 Congo, Republic of the 76
31 Mauritania 76
31 Senegal 76
32 Mali 74
32 Namibia 74
33 Ghana 73
34 Tanzania 72
35 Central African Republic 71
35 Grenada 71
35 Jamaica 71
35 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 71
35 Sudan 71
36 Antigua and Barbuda 70
36 Benin 70
36 Botswana 70
36 Rwanda 70
36 Togo 70
37 Burundi 69
37 Cote d’Ivoire 69
37 Ethiopia 69
37 Malawi 69
37 Niger 69
38 Angola 68
38 Burkina Faso 68
38 Chad 68
38 Djibouti 68
38 Somalia 68
38 Swaziland 68
39 Dominica 67
39 Guinea 67
39 Guinea-Bissau 67
39 Haiti 67
39 Lesotho 67
39 Liberia 67
39 Saint Kitts and Nevis 67
39 Sao Tome and Principe 67
40 Gambia, The 66
41 Cameroon 64
41 Gabon 64
41 Mozambique 64
42 Saint Lucia 62
43 Equatorial Guinea 59
North Korea N/A

The average IQ of No. 43: Equatorial Guinea is 59, which means the average Equatorial Guinean is a moron (IQ of 51 to 70).

Let that thought and its implications sink in . . . .

I cannot emphasize enough that the above IQ scores are national AVERAGES, which means the scores are not representative of EVERYONE in those countries. There are intelligent and stupid people in every country and every race – which is why we should never generalize from these average IQ scores to INDIVIDUAL members of a country or race. Instead, we should treat everyone we meet as INDIVIDUALS, not as members of some race or country.

Lastly, many years ago I learned a very important lesson from the department secretary of the university in which I was teaching. She was not the brightest bulb: I estimate her IQ to be slightly below the population average of 100, probably in the 90s. But she was kind and sweet, a loyal friend and a genuinely good soul.

The lesson I learned from Kathy is that intelligence is greatly overrated. If I had to choose, I will always pick virtue over a high intelligence. In fact, there is no one as dangerous and lethal as a highly intelligent but evil person. After all, Adolf Hitler no doubt was highly intelligent.

Whatever your IQ is, it was a gratuitous gift from our Creator. What is important is not how gifted we are but what we do with the intellect and intelligence He so generously gave us. Just remember the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30): To some He gave great intelligence and many talents; to others, He gave only a few. But each of us, whether genius or imbecile, one day will be called to account for what we did with the talents we were given.

~Eowyn 

U. of California offers first ever course on killing babies

APersonsAPerson

Jennifer Kabanny writes for The College Fix, Oct. 9, 2014:

The University of California – San Francisco will launch an online abortion course this Monday, an Internet class being hailed as the first of its kind.

The course will delve into “clinical aspects of medication abortion, aspiration abortion, post-abortion contraception, and pain management for abortion,” as well as topics such as the history of abortion, “abortion stigma,” complications and counseling, its outline states.

“I think that if we can inspire even a small portion of the people who take the course to take steps in their communities to increase access to safe abortion and decrease stigma about abortion, then we have been totally successful,” Dr. Jody Steinauer, associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of California – San Francisco, told The Daily Beast, which first reported on the class, noting an estimated 3,000 people have signed up so far.

The free, six-week class, titled “Abortion: Quality Care and Public Health Implications,” is offered through the university’s partnership with Coursera, an educational technology company that joins forces with universities to offer a wide variety of Massive Open Online Courses. While it is designed for “any clinician, physician, health care worker or student who will care for women of reproductive age,” it’s open to anyone.

“Each week’s lectures will incorporate the stories of women who seek abortion in order to better portray abortion significance and rationale,” its outline states. “Other topics will include a brief history of abortion, the clinical aspects of medication and procedural abortions in and after the first trimester, an overview of patient-centered abortion-care, the basics of abortion counseling, the professional obligations of health care practitioners to ensure that women have access to safe abortion care, and the maze of restrictions that make safe abortion care inaccessible to many women.”

The class has been hailed by left-leaning news outlets as revolutionary and vital because, they claim, access to abortion for women is very difficult, an allegation blamed largely on “a U.S. educational system that ignores the frequency of abortion, producing health care providers who have no formal training in abortion care,” as the Beast’s Samantha Allen put it.

Her report cited a 2005 review of U.S. medical school curricula that found “less than a third of schools include a single lecture focused on abortion during the clinical years.”

Prolife advocates see things differently.

In response to news of the course, Donna Harrison, executive director of the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologiststold WORLD magazine that “obstetricians and gynecologists refuse to do abortions because they choose to adhere to the Hippocratic Oath, not because their education didn’t cover abortions.”

And National Right To Life’s Randall O’Bannon, its director of education and research, stated the reason most medical schools and med students shun learning how to perform abortions is because they “recognize that abortion is the killing of human beings.”

He also questioned the outcome of the course, saying it’s unclear whether students actually expect to be able to perform an abortion after taking the class.

“Chemical methods, some involving drugs available by mail ordered over the internet, others using drugs developed as anti-ulcer medications … can be used (quite dangerously) by the women themselves or by lightly trained medical personnel,” O’Bannon states.

Students who finish the course will earn a certificate, and “AMA PRA Category 1 CME Credits” are expected to be given to practicing physicians and other health professionals who complete the class, its outline states.

Abortion specialist Dr. Jody Steinauer

Abortion specialist Dr. Jody Steinauer

Dr. Jody Steinauer is an associate professor of ObGyn (pronounced by President Ebola as “oh bee guy nee”) and reproductive science at UCSF’s School of Medicine. Her list of publications reveals her interests and priorities to be almost entirely fixated on abortion killing of the unborn. They include:

  • “Vaginal Hysterectomy as a Viable Option for Female-to-Male Transgender Men,” in Obstet Gynecol. 2014 May; 123 Suppl 1:104S.
  • “Time to stand up for abortion providers,” JAMA. 1994 Nov 2; 272(17):1378.
  • “Legislating abortion care,” Virtual Mentor. 2014; 16(4):265-9.
  • Many journal articles on whether and how internists in medical schools are getting training in performing abortion, such as “Obstacles to the integration of abortion into obstetrics and gynecology practice,” Perspect Sex Reprod Health. 2010 Sep; 42(3):146-51; and “How available is abortion training?,” Fam Plann Perspect. 2001 Mar-Apr; 33(2):88-9.
  • At least 6 journal articles on second-trimester abortions.

H/t FOTM reader Amy

~Eowyn

Nebraska School Tells Teachers To Avoid ‘Gendered Expressions’

stupidity

Daily Caller: Nebraska Watchdog has uncovered training documents given to middle school teachers in Lincoln, Neb., telling them not to use “gendered expressions” and to call out “binary models of gender” when they see them.

“Avoid asking kids to line up as boys or girls or separating them by gender,” begins a document called “12 easy steps on the way to gender inclusiveness.” “Instead, use things like ‘odd and even birth date,’ or ‘Which would you choose: skateboards or bikes/milk or juice/dogs or cats/summer or winter/talking or listening.’ … Always ask yourself, ’Will this configuration create a gendered space?’”

“Don’t use phrases such as ‘boys & girls,’ ‘you guys,’ ‘ladies and gentlemen,’ and similarly gendered expressions to get kids’ attention,” it continues. “Provide an opportunity for every student to identify a preferred name or pronoun. … 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.”

Steve Joel

Steve Joel

Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Steve Joel defended the materials last week, and told local radio host Kevin Thomas that “our position, ours is inclusiveness. … We know that there’s a correlation between bullying and gender, as well as sexual preference, and so you know, as a school district, we’re just trying to provide information for our folks to understand that a little bit better, and I think that’s what they’ve done, and I think they’re doing a great job with it.”

“Be intolerant of openly hostile attitudes or references towards others EVERY TIME you hear or observe them, but also use these as teachable moments,” the training sheet advises. “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.”

“I’m happy, I’m pleased,” continued Joel, “because we have to create an awareness amongst ourselves, that we have kids coming to us from so many different backgrounds, and some of those are confusing to the students themselves, to other students, and to some of our staff.”

The sheet also encouraged the middle school teachers to “share personal anecdotes from your own life that reflect gender inclusiveness. Even better, share examples when you were not gender inclusive in your thinking, words or behaviors, what you learned as a result, and what you will do differently next time.”

When asked about teachers whose religious beliefs these instructions might violate, Joel explained that Lincoln Public Schools “don’t get involved with politics, we don’t get involved with gender preferences… The folks that have strong religious preferences, I mean certainly they might have a personal opinion on that, but the reality of it is we have to understand our children, and we can’t be judgmental, we can’t look at kids and say you know what, this child, this family doesn’t conform to the norm, therefore they’re not gonna get the very best we can. … If we have teachers that are offended or bothered by what it is we’re trying to do as a school system, in serving all students and all populations and all demographics, then they need to meet with their principal and talk through that, but the expectation is that we’re going to do it.”

He did explain that the materials had not been disseminated district-wide, and that the district instead takes a school-by-school approach to these issues. “Now obviously there might be a school where this isn’t a conversation and maybe doesn’t need to be a conversation. … To Irving [Middle School]‘s credit, they have children that represent what the discussion points are and they’re helping their faculty understand, give definition.”

"Comedian" Killermann

“Comedian” Killermann

The materials also contained a handout on “the Genderbread Person,” put together by self-identified “social justice comedian” Sam Killermann, which explains that “gender is one of those things everyone thinks they understand, but most people don’t. Like Inception. Gender isn’t binary.”

genderbread

“We’ve got to help kids understand, whether they’re observing it or whether they’re living it, that differences are okay, that we’re all there to learn,” said Joel.

Not everyone is pleased with the materials, which can be seen here. Al Riskowski, executive director of the Nebraska Family Alliance, said they go “way beyond trying to teach someone how to respect another individual,” and that they’re trying to push a “whole new idea of boy-girl.” He was also concerned that these materials were aimed at teachers responsible for very young children, since they contain suggestions like “Create classroom names and then ask all of the ‘purple penguins’ to meet at the rug” as a way of avoiding the phrase “boys and girls.”

One of the sheets defines “gender identity” as “a psychological quality; unlike biological sex, it can’t be observed or measured, only reported by the individual. Like biological sex, it consists of more than two categories, including those who identify as a third gender, two-spirit (both), or agender (neither).”

Asked about how they were handling parents or teachers who were upset with the materials, Joel said that “we’ll meet with anyone who’d like to meet with us. … we have to think about 39,000 students, more than 39,000… there is no one size fits all approach to this. … I don’t believe that this is going to cause us to make any changes.”

He was also asked whether the district had a locker room and bathroom policy for transgender students. “It’s a work in progress,” he began, “and it’s relatively new, but it’s individualized. It’s between the family and the administration, and determinations are being made in the best interests of the child. That’s not something we’re ever going to talk about publicly because it’s pretty emotional and it’s very very confidential, but you know it’s a real life issue, and you know I think most people will understand that it is, and there’s probably not a simple solution. So we have to work with the family, and that’s what they’re doing.”

homeschool

DCG