Back to School Concerns
Back to School Concerns
Written By Laurie Higgins   |   09.15.10

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Some of the most serious problems infecting public education emerge from the stranglehold that disciples of the “teaching for social justice” movement and the related social and political movement to normalize homosexual practice and Gender Identity Disorder (GID) have on academia.

The indefensible efforts to promote these partisan political theories and the simultaneous censorship of conservative resources reveal the hypocrisy of the commitments of public educators to diversity, to respect for parental rights and values, to critical thinking, and to intellectual inquiry.

Homosexuality and Gender Identity Disorder

The increasingly ubiquitous propaganda coming from activist public “educators,” and organizations like Illinois Safe Schools Alliance; the National Education Association; the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network; the Southern Poverty Law Center’s educational division, “Teaching Tolerance“; and the American Library Association compel IFI to spend considerable amount of time addressing the problem of pro-homosexual advocacy in public education and necessitate extra vigilance and courage from parents.

Students are exposed to “progressive” views of homosexuality and GID (euphemistically referred to as “gender identity”) and cross-dressing (euphemistically referred to as “gender expression”) in many school contexts, including English, social studies, foreign language, theater/drama, and health/sex ed classes; assemblies; anti-bullying programs; and through teachers’ classroom comments.

Extracurricular clubs like gay-straight alliances and political action clubs (e.g., AWARE) organize activities like the Day of Silence, make announcements, hold fundraisers, and put up posters that promote “social justice” theory and the normalization of homosexuality during the school day.

The kinds of resources that activist teachers use in their efforts to use public education to change the moral and political views of other people’s children include newspaper and magazine articles; essays; plays (both read and performed); novels; picture books; films; guest speakers; classroom posters, banners, and stickers; and games.

Parents should be especially wary of anti-bullying activities, programs, resources, or curricula. “Anti-bullying” resources and policies are the Trojan Horses for secreting affirmative ideas about homosexuality and GID into public schools, including elementary schools.

To make matters worse, public educators engage in pervasive censorship of all resources that espouse conservative views of homosexual practice and GID. In so doing, they undermine the legitimacy of public education and transform education into indoctrination by violating school commitments to diversity, critical thinking, and intellectual inquiry.

Teaching for “Social Justice”

The second serious problem in public schools is commonly referred to as “teaching for social justice,” which shares some of the philosophical features of “Critical Theory,” “Critical Education Theory,” “Critical Pedagogy,” “Critical Race Theory,” and, within theological circles, “Black Liberation Theology.”

In broad terms, “teaching for social justice” is essentially repackaged socialism with its focus on economic redistribution. Social justice theory emphasizes redistribution of wealth and values uniformity of economic and social position over liberty. “Social justice” advocates seek to use the force of government to establish economic uniformity.

Its other dominant features pertain to race, gender, class, homosexuality, “gender identity,” and “gender expression.” Social justice theory encourages students to view the world through the divisive lens of identity politics that demarcates groups according to which group constitutes the “oppressors” and which the “oppressed.” Those who are identified as the “oppressors” need not have committed any acts of actual persecution or oppression, nor feel any sense of superiority toward or dislike of the supposed “oppressed” class. Social justice theory promotes the problematic idea that “institutional racism,” as opposed to actual acts of mistreatment of individuals by other individuals, is the cause of differing lots in life. Social justice theorists cultivate the racist, sexist, heterophobic stereotype that whites, males, and heterosexuals are automatically oppressors.

Devotees of Critical Pedagogy, that is “teachers of social justice,” present an imbalanced view of America and American history. They overemphasize America’s problems while de-emphasizing all that has made America great.

Former Marxist David Horowitz warns that,

Today the gravest threat to American public education comes from educators who would use the classroom to indoctrinate students from kindergarten through the 12th grade in radical ideology and political agendas.

Much of this indoctrination takes place under the banner of “social justice,” which is a short-hand for opposition to American traditions of individual justice and free market economics. Proponents of social justice teaching argue that American society is an inherently “oppressive” society that is “systemically” racist, “sexist” and “classist” and thus discriminates institutionally against women, non-whites, working Americans and the poor…. In recent years teaching for social justice has become a powerful movement in American schools of education…

Some of the influential Critical theorists are Paulo Freire, Howard Zinn, Maxine Greene, William (Bill Ayers), Peter McLaren, bell hooks, Henry Giroux, Jonathan Kozol, Lisa Delpit, Peggy McIntosh, Herbert Kohl , James Banks, and Cornel West.

The solution begins with us. Indulging our laziness and fear has resulted in vulnerable, impressionable young children being exposed to positive ideas about homosexuality and cross-dressing. And our ignorance and passivity have allowed those who hold distorted views of America to cultivate anti-American sentiments in our nation’s children.

Character Changes:

In order to effect change, we must cultivate those character traits required for the task at hand: courage, perseverance, and a willingness to endure persecution.

Scripture teaches that “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5: 10, 11). Despite this clear teaching, many Christians retreat from even the mildest manifestations of persecution.

Informed Minds:

  • Taxpayers need to skim the books, plays, essays, and articles their children are assigned and research the books and authors on the Internet.
  • Request a detailed description of professional development opportunities that your school districts provide to teachers at taxpayer expense (e.g., late arrival day and Institute Day activities, conferences, seminars, and summer workshops), and request copies of any resources used during these professional development opportunities.
  • Urge your church leaders to teach classes or workshops that help members understand the deceptive secular arguments used to normalize homosexuality. If church leaders are themselves ill-equipped, urge them to invite in guest speakers to teach such workshops.

Specific Suggestions for Parents:

  • Notify K-8 teachers that under no circumstance is your child to be exposed to any resources or activities that mention homosexuality or Gender Identity Disorder. Ask them to agree in writing to your expectation, and if they won’t, ask for a change of teachers.
  • Notify high school teachers that your child is not to be exposed to resources that address homosexuality, Gender Identity Disorder, or “teaching for social justice” unless equal time is spent studying resources that articulate conservative views on the subject.
  • If teachers are using resources that espouse either implicitly or explicitly “social justice” ideas or debatable claims about homosexuality and Gender Identity Disorder (including issues related to same-sex “marriage,” ), contact the teacher to request that they present resources that espouse alternative views on issues related to “social justice” theory, homosexuality, or Gender Identity Disorder.
  • Call your children out of school on the Day of Silence if your school is permitting children to remain silent during class.
  • Homeschool middle and high school students for health class.

Policy Changes:

  • Ask your schools to create policy that requires teachers to spend equal time on and present equivalent resources from all perspectives on controversial issues. So, if an English teacher assigns The Laramie Project, he should be required to assign, for example, several essays, commentaries, or journal articles written by conservative scholars on the issue of homosexuality.
  • Ask your schools to create policy that prohibits ideological litmus tests in hiring. Some school districts are attempting to ensure ideological uniformity among faculty and administrators via the interview process for new hires.
  • Ask your schools to create policy that requires parental notification and “opt-in” options for controversial resources, including any that address homosexuality or Gender Identity Disorder.
  • Ask your schools to create policy that requires ideological balance in the content of professional development opportunities. So, for example, if a district offers an Institute Day workshop on “teaching for social justice,” they should be required to offer a workshop in which teachers read and analyze criticism of “teaching for social justice.”
  • Vigorously oppose the inclusion of the terms “sexual orientation,” “gender identity,” and “gender expression” in anti-discrimination and/or anti-bullying policies.

Broader Community Engagement:

  • Taxpayers should make statements to, ask questions of, and run for school boards.
  • When a curricular or policy problem is discovered, taxpayers should write letters to their local newspapers.
  • Christians should urge their church leaders (e.g., priests, pastors, rabbis, elders, and deacons) to be involved in the schools in the communities in which they live. As citizens, church leaders have both a right and an obligation to participate in shaping a godly community, and they have an obligation to set examples for the men and women whom they lead.

Children in public schools today will very shortly be our culture-makers. If we care about the future health ofAmerica, we should participate in the effort to restore a proper understanding of the role of public educators and the scope of public education.

Laurie Higgins
Laurie Higgins was the Illinois Family Institute’s Cultural Affairs Writer in the fall of 2008 through early 2023. Prior to working for the IFI, Laurie worked full-time for eight years...
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