Back to School

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

From kindergarten through college, returning students may not be coming back to more difficult reading, writing and mathematical tasks, but they will be able to ascend to the next level of sensitivity. But to what avail?

Gender-Bending Etiquette

For example, students may graduate high school not ready to read at college level but they will know what to say to someone who just had a sex-change operation. “There’s news today that students at Batavia High School in New York will be greeted by administrators, counselors, and psychologists when they return on September 6th for forums and question-and-answer sessions about ‘gender identity issues’ and transsexualism,” Gary Bauer reports in Our American Values. “(And I thought geometry and physics were hard enough to understand!)”

“Evidently, one of the male teachers at Batavia High School will be returning this year as a woman and school administrators are hoping these Q & A sessions ‘will keep the issue from becoming a distraction in the classroom.’”

Bilingual Backstabbing

Perhaps much to the surprise of political activists, the Republican U. S. Congress has made no effort to eliminate bilingual education, the Wall Street Journal’s John Fund notes. At the same time, some of the constituents the program was designed to assist are not exactly effusive in their gratitude for the federal program.

“In Richmond, California, kids are told by their parents, ‘No, you must not speak English to the enemy,’” Fund said at an August 25th symposium at Paul Weyrich’s Free Congress Foundation.

Fund spoke on a panel assessing the 2006 congressional elections that also featured his former boss—syndicated columnist Robert Novak. All of the panelists discussed the public’s ambivalence towards the war on terror but Fund, in particular, blamed America’s educational system for any confusion over the conflict.

“I think our schools have really fallen down on the job,” Fund said at the forum. “Ask them if they even know what the word Wahabbi means,” Fund said, referring to the radical Islamic sect that has claimed many adherents in the terror network. Fund has served as a writer and editor at the Journal for better than two decades.

As Christina Hoff Sommers and Sally Satel show in their book, One Nation Under Therapy, the post 9/11 current events curricula, like most public school offerings is longer on sensitivity training than on knowledge of terrorism and terrorist groups.

The Bully Pulpit of Public Schools

With all this sensitivity, you would think that the schoolyard bully is a figure from the mythic past. Thus, it comes as something of a shock to learn that “nearly 30 percent of U.S. school children will be bullied or bully other children this year,” according to a study released this year by Melissa Holt, a research scientist with the University of New Hampshire Crimes Against Children Research Center.

But then, it depends on how you define bullying. “The bullying, which can be perpetrated by one or more students, can be physical or verbal,” according to Lori Wright of UNH Media Relations. “Whereas boys are more likely to be involved in physical bullying, girls are at higher risk for relational bullying (gossip and rumor-spreading).”

“Both sexes can be victims of ‘derogatory speculation’ regarding sexual orientation.”

“In general boys experience more physical bullying victimization, and girls are more likely to be targets of indirect victimization, such as being excluded by social groups,” Wright explains.

“In addition, a study conducted in the United States revealed that youth identified as bullies in school had a 1-in-4 chance of having a criminal record by age 30,” Wright’s release reveals. If I ever identified a source that broadly, I would be besieged by every left-wing stalker in cyberspace.

And how does the author of the study recommend addressing the problem? “Helping a bully recognize their potential for positive contributions and learning how to use their power in healthy and meaningful ways, such as focusing energy on hobbies or causes, will alleviate bullying problems and the long-term consequences associated with bullying,” Holt says.

Can you just see it? “Spike, have you ever considered joining the Rainforest Action Network?”

Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.