Thursday, July 27, 2017

Worse than We Imagined, Part II

Sometimes it’s prudent to fact-check the fact checkers.

This Snopes headline came to my attention:

Reading, Writing, and RuPaul
Reports of revised curriculum standards for Washington state led to false rumors claiming that schools there will be teaching "transgenderism" to Kindergarteners.
That relates to what I wrote in my last post, “Worse than We Imagined.” So I began to read, wondering if I had missed something and would need to write a retraction.

But Snopes is…not fully accurate.

They claim that the Daily Caller article on Washington State Board of Education changes to standards to include teaching transgenderism to kindergarteners is “mostly false.”

Image from here

The original Daily Caller article actually begins with this: 

By fall 2017 Washington state public schools will begin teaching gender expression to kindergarteners under newly-approved health education learning standards that designate sexual health a “core idea” of public K-12 education.
Here is what Snopes says is actually true:

Washington State has released updated curriculum guidelines in 2016 that include directives regarding gender and gender expression.
So, Snopes agrees with the Daily Caller so far.

What they don’t seem to like is the conclusion drawn by the Daily Caller opinion piece, that teaching “gender expression” to kindergarteners can easily be construed to mean teaching “transgenderism” to kindergarteners. Snopes says the guidelines don’t actually use the word “transgender” except in the glossary section.

But why would they include transgenderism in the glossary (on page 53 of the .pdf file) of their standards if they did not assume it would come up? The word itself may or may not be used in kindergarten. The state standards writers seem less concerned about the teaching of the word transgenderism than they are about the teaching of the various ways gender can be expressed— which, of course, to them, must include transgenderism, else why change the standards?

The Daily Caller article included the link to the .pdf file (which I also linked in Monday's post and above), and Snopes shows page 29, which is at issue—below.

Snopes uses this to show how overblown the Daily Caller claims are. But I look at the chart and see that the Daily Caller point of view is totally justified.

One point the Snopes piece makes is that the standards are not curriculum; curriculum and lesson plans decisions are made at the local school board level. But, to fact-check Snopes, that’s not entirely accurate.

It has been a long time since I worked as a curriculum writer. I worked in California, writing hi-low textbooks; that is, high interest level (middle school to high school) but low reading level (around second grade). I didn’t write for kindergarten, or even for elementary school. But I think some practices translate across grades.

I wrote mostly government and civics related books and workbooks. But one big project was a biology text (which I did not complete at that job). A publisher looks at who is most likely to buy. The biggest markets then, and probably still, were California and Texas. As a writer I referred to the California and Texas standards; they were different in significant ways. For a biology text, human reproduction had to be handled very differently for the two markets. A publisher might decide to aim for a California market or a Texas market, or might do separate versions, with different chapters for materials for which the standards were disparate.

It was unlikely that a publisher would do a special version of a text just to fit Washington State standards, or Utah standards, or Mississippi standards. The other states would look at what was available and choose from among the variety of available materials—which had been aimed mainly at the California or Texas markets. On the topic of transgenderism, Washington State would probably choose materials aimed at the California market.

Smaller niche marketers, often coming from interest groups, might provide supplemental materials on certain subject matters, and try to sell those to individual states or school districts. (We’ll talk about one of these below.)

In Texas the SBOE does not write curriculum; it reads it and deems it acceptable or not. Then local school districts can adopt what they choose. Local school board members, who are unpaid for their school board work and probably make a living elsewhere, are unlikely to read every text. They might have committees set up to do that. The committees might include community members and parents—or, more likely, they include only teachers and administrators. (I have known parents who volunteered for this work in Texas, because Texans are proactive that way.)

Parents who disapprove typically get involved after they see the chosen materials and then must work to get something inappropriate removed from their schools by going through a long and challenging process.

So, when the Daily Caller says that the standards changes, which clearly include talking about “gender expression” to kindergarteners, might be a way of teaching the LGBTQ agenda on transgenderism, that isn’t alarmism. It isn’t making things up. That is likely to happen across the state—unless parents become aware and speak loudly their disapproval.

The Daily Caller article was originally written in June 2016, shortly after the standards changes were announced and approved. The hope is to get enough attention so that parents can prevent implementation of things they do not want their children to be taught, so those materials will not be forced on them by fall 2017, which is now upon us.

By the way, who might be one of the special interest groups offering materials they hope the schools will teach? Planned Parenthood might be one. In my last post I mentioned obscene materials they were trying to force on teens.

Two days ago I came across a story about Planned Parenthood’s new guidelines for talking to
Image from here
preschoolers about sex. These include, "Boy, girl, man, and woman are words that describe gender identity, and some people with the gender identities “boy” or “man” have vulvas, and some with the gender identity “girl” or “woman” have penises/testicles. Your genitals don’t make you a boy or a girl.”

This differs from their previous guidelines (which also include vocabulary not normally used by preschoolers): "I’m a woman—a girl who is all grown up—so I have a vulva instead of a penis. And you’re a boy, so you have a penis instead of a vulva."

Body parts don’t tell you anything anymore, they say. Because of new science? Of course not. Because they’re pushing an agenda. And they’re aiming it at our children. We can also assume they’re using taxpayer dollars to produce the indoctrination.

Will this new Planned Parenthood preschool material make its way into elementary schools in Washington State? I have no idea. But they meet the new state standards.

So, until the Washington State standards are changed back to something closer to sane reality, assume the standards changes likely means that confusing, biology-denying lies, along with immoral values, are going to be foisted upon your children—unless you stand up and refuse to let that happen to your children.

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