Thursday, October 09, 2008

Homosexuality and Public Education

I am a public school educator. There are some ads and e-mails flying around California and a pile of strong emotions connected to Proposition 8: "Eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry, initiative constitutional amendment." The ads and e-mails (with video interview of a Massachusetts family and kindergartner) I have viewed highlight that homosexuality will be taught in public schools. I have contacted the California Department of Education and I'm waiting for their position on this because I'm sceptical we'd be teaching with moral implication. I imagine we'd continue to teach respectful treatment of life. I have also researched and found that, in fact, homosexuality is part of the History/Social Science Framework for instruction already. Homosexuality is to be taught in context of genocide, bullying, and Nazi Germany. Historically, homosexuals have been targeted for harm, along with others who are different, in those three contexts. I think respect for others identified as different is valid, and in those contexts is important. This is not a moral pronouncement on lifestyle choices. I'd leave that to parents to teach. I think most educators would.

Rember, the public schools also teach about the history of the church, including the Hebrew nation, Constantine, and Martin Luther. Not all teachers cover those topics in a way that would please all parents. If others protested that "religion" was being taught in public schools, what would we say? I encourage everyone to think deeply, seek the facts, and then pray as you decide on some of these government issues that can distract us from the Great Commandment.

Regarding the video of the Massachusetts family that is attached to one e-mail, it is persuasive. Because it is, I ask viewers to identify those persuasive techniques used to get the response wanted. Some problems include the assumption of the intent of the teachers and the administrators, and the challenge with telling teachers to not "teach" homosexuality. What are they really "teaching?" All kinds of families exist, including divorced couples, single moms, widows, step-families, etc. How do we instruct children of different situations? We cannot generally assume educators are promoting morality. Are only certain sexual behaviors an issue here? What about affairs? Living together? Sex prior to marriage? It remains the "parent's sacred duty to instruct children morally" -- that is not being taken away. The father in the video told that the school said they would handcuff him and take him to jail. That was probably in response to his stated threat to not leave the school office. Not in response to his request for an accommodation for his child regarding parental notification, etc.)


Coral & Jake said...

Thank you for writing this. It is nice to hear your thoughts because I had heard about this family and that school district. It had really made me think about some of this stuff and, in fact, Jake and I discussed it at length from here to AZ.

There are parts of that interview where I think the father is valid in his issue with the notion and there are others where I support the school.

I enjoyed your views greatly. Thank you, again, for sharing them. For someone like me, who likes to hear all sides intelligently represented, this was helpful.


Cindi said...

I believe parents should be able to trust the educators to leave contraversial moral issues such as this one out of the classroom. It seems to not be the case. Thanks for your comments.