Precinct 333

Saturday, July 03, 2004

And you wonder why I don't join the NEA

Once again proving that NEA membership should be grounds for termination from any position in education, the NEA is about to award the "2004 Virginia Uribe Award for Creative Leadership in Human Rights" to Kevin Jennings of GLSEN, a group dedicated to "incorporating homosexual concepts into all curriculum."

There is a loud objection from two NEA specialty caucuses within the NEA, calling for the award to be canceled. Members of the NEA Republican Educators Caucus object to the award because Jennings has admitted in one of his books that he failed to make a report of child sexual abuse as mandated by law. And the head of the NEA Ex-Gay Educators Caucus points out that Jennings advocates the ruthless suppression of speech in school that supports the position that a homosexual can change his or her sexual orientation.

I find a couple of interesting points in all of this. First, the NEA seems to have defined "Human Rights" to mean "Gay Rights." The award itself is named for a gay educator who specialized in creating programs on behalf of gay students. This would seem to leave out some 95-98% of the human race.

Second, that Jennings does not face the same type of moral condemnation and scorn heaped on Cardinal Law despite his failure to act to stop the sexual exploitation of a student is indicative of the double standard that exists in our society. Homosexuals are generally allowed to prey on young people in a manner that heterosexual pedophiles are not, because of the fear that acting to protect a child will be labeled "homophobic." I recall, for example, that police even returned Jeffrey Dahmer's last victim, a drugged underage boy running down the street in his underwear, to the cannibal killer because they had been instructed not to make a big fuss about the issue of gay men and underage boys out of "sensitivity" for the "gay community."

Third, Jennings is not tolerant, nor is he willing to allow for an open exchange of ideas in an academic setting. He wants to shut down debate and punish dissent. Such a position is the antithesis of academic freedom, and should be condemned by real educators.

Lastly, how does one incorporate homosexual concepts into all subjects? I'm all to aware of the attempts to classify historical figures as homosexual at a distance of several centuries based upon scanty evidence. I've seen the textbooks with "gay and lesbian literature" of dubious quality that teachers are "encouraged" to teach to be "inclusive." But how do you teach "Queer Chemistry" or "Transexual Typing"? And I don't even want to know about word problem in GLSEN-inspired math classes.

That's not to imply hostility to gay and lesbian students in my classroom. Quite the opposite. I demand that students show and be shown fundamental respect. I clamp down on anti-gay slurs in my room with an unambiguous ferocity. But what I refuse to do is suppress the beliefs of my students either way. Because of this my gay students know they have an advocate who respects them, while those on the other side of the issue know that they and their beliefs are respected. The result is that my students in both categories learn who to live and work together cooperatively without being marginalized or homogenized. THAT is what education should be about.


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