I Got Chills (not the good kind) When Reading This News Item

The infection from the fundamentalist belt is spreading up here with an odd coalition.

I never thought the teaching of evolution would be challenged up here in Ontario. 

How the province responds is going to be an interesting test for my countrymen. I hope we are up to it.

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/education/article/1254611--stock-le...

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lol Joan, I didn't make that up, but it seems a little less harsh when swearing in front of people. ;)

Reasonable discussion about some subjects requires a certain background of experience and comprehension that children of a certain age simply do not have.

The introduction of the subject of homosexuality to a first grader who has no idea about the concept of sexuality in the first place is, in my opinion, totally inappropriate.  

It is folly, for example, to present the concept of evolution to a 6 year old, and, regardless of how it is approached, has a greater potential to lead to confusion than it does to understanding.

I believe that there are age-appropriate subjects and  there are age-inappropriate subjects.

Religion has nothing to do with that opinion.

The topic of homosexuality may not be appropriate for a first grader, but if that first grader was raised by two men or two women, then SOMETHING needs to be addressed, regardless, whether it's the concept of alternative nuclear families or some variant on that theme.

Meantime, there remain parents and some educators who want to pretend that none of this exists or that they can somehow work around the fact of its existence.  What you have here is yet another variation on political correctness, a concept which I have zero tolerance for, at least among adults, as well as with children who are very often far smarter than those same adults.  It also reflects the idea that we have to respect these beliefs because they are supposedly sacred or based in something sacred when what they are is STUPID, ritualized and antiquated superstitions which deserve no more respect than tossing salt over your left shoulder for luck.

These people want to cripple their kids, socially at minimum and far more at maximum.  That doesn't give me chills.  It enrages the hell outta me.

Loren, may I put this message on Facebook with attribution? 

With my compliments, Joan.

Thanks 

The topic of homosexuality may not be appropriate for a first grader, but if that first grader was raised by two men or two women, then SOMETHING needs to be addressed, regardless, whether it's the concept of alternative nuclear families or some variant on that theme.

Loren;

Huh?  Is it a classroom teacher’s responsibility to address “SOMETHING”, whatever that “SOMETHING” might be?  What possibly needs to be said by a first grade teacher to the entire class  about Johnny’s two moms?  It would probably never occur to a first grader to even ask a question about such a situation.

And I don’t understand what the rest of your post has to do with age appropriate subject matter in any school’s curriculum.  

Asa:

First of all, kids talk, frequently about anything.  Secondly, they're liable to be reflections of their parents, particularly their biases and prejudices.  So when Chuck and Darryl BOTH come to pick up their son or daughter from school, my sense is that this event WILL be the topic of in-school conversation at minimum, if not slurs, catcalls and bullying.  Please don't tell me this doesn't happen in first grade; I've seen it first-hand.  That conversation should be moderated without bias or prejudice and probably at some point involve the parents, and I don't envy those who would be leading such a discussion because of its difficulty.

Thing is, we're dealing with facts of life here, somewhat divergent but still facts, such as:

  • Evolution is a documented and well-supported theory.
  • Same-sex couples have and raise children successfully.

and these two indisputable facts are running up against people who want to persist in their myths and superstitions to the point of insisting that school curricula and practices maneuver around these facts and be modified to cater to THEM, which, by the way, IS the point of the rest of my comment.

If they're that frightened of what their children will be discovering in a public school setting, I would be surprised that they didn't already reject it in favor of homeschooling.  Of course, they MIGHT consider giving up their prejudices and biases ... but let's not be radical here.... [sigh]

My experience has been the GLBT parents who are clear with themselves and not defensive will have done the necessary coaching of their own children so they have things well in hand. It is when one and/or the other parent feels guilt or shame, the children have difficulty when faced with such challenges. 

I’m sorry Loren, but teaching tolerance of the gay lifestyle to a first grader will be about as effective as trying to teach evolutionary concepts to someone who has had no introduction to, or capability of understanding, the Scientific method.

All I am advocating is the teaching of lessons that can be understood by children with a certain level of development which will allow that lesson to be learned.

It is absurd to introduce the idea of homosexuality to a 6 year old, and is more likely to create  confusion than understanding or tolerance.

Six year olds do understand bullying, however, and that is what would be a relevant lesson for both children of that age and their parents in this case.

And Joan (below);

I guess it gets down to fundamental meaning of education: do we teach customs and traditions whether true or false, or do we teach the best science available at the time?

Answer:  You teach lessons to the child that the child is developmentally capable of learning.

I never suggested teaching gay tolerance.  I said, and I quote,

"SOMETHING needs to be addressed, regardless, whether it's the concept of alternative nuclear families or some variant on that theme." 

As a part of addressing this "something," someone should bring up the idea that there are all sorts of FAMILIES out there, which might include the traditional nuclear, one-parent, and two-same-sex-parent, among many others.  Robin Williams did a brilliant job of this at the end of Mrs. Doubtfire, and though he didn't mention same-sex-parented families, I suspect ol' Euphegenia could have slid it in there without so much as raising an eyebrow.

One way or another, kids are going to ask, at minimum, and if answers aren't forthcoming, they're liable to come up with their own, which could lead to more confusion and problems, not less.  This wasn't an issue when I was a first grader, some 55 years ago, but it is a very clear potential problem NOW, and teachers should be prepared to face it.

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