Friday, August 31, 2007

School Vouchers - Part 2

With regard to my previous post endorsing vouchers, please understand that just because I resent educational practices which undermine "traditional values" that does not mean I therefore want public schools to do a 180 degree turn and begin teaching Christian doctrine. That is not my position at all. I just want Secular Humanists to stop trying to impose their faith and their social agenda upon society by way of the public school system.

Please allow me to supply some examples so you can better understand where I am coming from:

While I attended public schools outside of Utah, I was forced to take numerous classes on Evolution where the ideas taught were presented as being fact instead of theory. Questioning this dogma was not tolerated, even though today many of the claims behind those theories have been revised or abandoned. So, do I now object to the teaching of the various theories of evolution? No, I just want them to be clearly taught as theories and no more.

Also, while growing up, I was forced to take more than one class on Sex Education. My personal experience was that the material covered, and the way it was presented, actually caused me more confusion and anxiety. Do I therefore object to educating children about sex? No, I just believe that parents need to play the primary role in deciding how that is to be done and what values are going to be shared during that instruction.

So, how does this relate to Utah schools?

Well, just within the past few weeks I have read a column by Rebecca Walsh in the Tribune, a column by Holly Mullen in City Weekly, a blog entry by Holly Mullen on Mullentown, a blog entry by Holly Mullen on City Weekly's website, an editorial by Planned Parenthood in the Tribune, and an editorial by the Salt Lake Tribune, itself, all calling for more sex education in Utah and/or its schools. I suspect such a call resonates with many other left leaning individuals within our state and its school system.

But, I am concerned that these individuals are so eager to instruct my children, because I have found that their beliefs are sometimes diametrically opposed to my own. I love my children more than I do my own life. I want what is best for them more than any of these good people could even come close to approaching. Thus, I want to be the one teaching my children about sex, not Planned Parenthood or its allies.

As long as I am alive, I will strive to ensure that my parental rights are preserved so that I am free to raise my children in the best way I know. I see my support of vouchers as being a way of creating options for me as a parent -- options which empower me as I perform my responsibilities.

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29 Comments:

At Friday, August 31, 2007 2:28:00 PM, Blogger Candace E. Salima said...

I have not had the privilege of actually having children. But when my husband and I were first married his little brother, who was 12, came to live with us. He brought home a permission slip from school, which he wanted me to sign, giving my permission for him to attend SexEd. I asked him to bring me the text they were teaching from - he did. I denied permission, called the school and raised hell and made him go to the library and read and write book reports during the time of that class. They were teaching, amongst other things:

1. Homosexuality is a perfectly appropriate lifestyle and should be experimented with.

2. Masturbation is a common and healthy practice for teenagers.

3. The dynamic of having same-sex parents.

It went on and on and on. Nowhere did they ever consider teaching abstinence as a form of birth control.

My husband and I sat down with his brother and went over everything in the text book, much to his dismay, and taught him the correct principles on everything his classmates were learning from the exceedingly liberal viewpoint.

Sex Education SHOULD NOT BE TAUGHT BY THE SCHOOLS. This is a responsibility parents should take with utmost care and diligence. It should not be turned over to the schools. Sheesh!

 
At Friday, August 31, 2007 2:33:00 PM, Blogger Alienated Wannabe said...

Dear Candace,

Thank you very much for sharing that account. That is precisely the scenario that concerns me.

Your Friend,
A.W.

 
At Friday, August 31, 2007 2:40:00 PM, Blogger Davis Didjeridu said...

Candace: Was this in Utah? If it was, I seriously question the truthfulness of that account given the fact that abstinence education is mandated by Utah law.
AW: I believe you are confused about what Ms. Walsh and Ms. Mullen were writing about initially, which was a college level class at the University of Utah where adult students engage in rational and scientific dialogue about the science and psychology of sex.
On the topic as a whole, I would prefer more parents would talk frankly, lovingly, and intelligently about sex with their children. However, as the recent boom in STD rates in Davis County and Utah as a whole shows, parents are not doing their job and the public education system is too strapped by the abstinence-only curriculum to correct it.

 
At Friday, August 31, 2007 2:59:00 PM, Blogger Alienated Wannabe said...

Dear Davis,

Actually, the first article I am referring to by Rebecca Walsh had nothing to do with the course offered at the University of Utah. I actually quote the text in full in an earlier post on my blog. (You can see for yourself at:
http://alienatedwannabe.blogspot.com/2007/07/bus-stops-and-babies.html)

And, as I recall, the three articles by Holly Mullen were all in reference to issues surrounding the phenomenon of "floating." You can easily find the original text online to see for yourself. Please go back and read all these articles. I think you will see that I am not confused about what kind of sex education they would like to see in Utah.

And, as for Candace, I believe every word she has said. (I seem to recall reading something on her blog about living in California or something, but I do not recall the exact details.) She is addressing the concept of sex education in general, not specific practices in Utah. But, her comments are entirely relevant to the discussion of Utah schools, because it shows the direction where the Left would actually like to take us.

Thanks bud,
A.W.

 
At Saturday, September 01, 2007 12:00:00 AM, Blogger Voice of Utah said...

To be fair, AW, you shouldn't say that those columnists represent the views of the entire "Left." It would be more accurate to say that it is where some on the Left might like to take it. There is a happy medium somewhere; are you willing to go there, or does it have to be 100% "Right"?

As for Candace's comment: Yeah, right.

 
At Saturday, September 01, 2007 3:01:00 PM, Blogger Alienated Wannabe said...

Dear VoU,

Excellent point, my friend. Please allow me to clarify myself:

Though a lot of good folks on the social and political left share the values of Rebecca Walsh and Holly Mullen, certainly not everyone does.

And, I hasten to add:

I sincerely consider both Rebecca Walsh and Holly Mullen to be fine people, simply doing what they believe is right. I respect, admire, and like them. I just do not agree with them.

Sincerely,
A.W.

 
At Saturday, September 01, 2007 3:02:00 PM, Blogger Alienated Wannabe said...

P.S. Go Cougs!

 
At Saturday, September 01, 2007 3:02:00 PM, Blogger Alienated Wannabe said...

P.S. I believe every single word that Candace wrote.

 
At Monday, September 03, 2007 11:30:00 AM, Blogger Obi wan liberali said...

First of all Alienated Wannabe, I appreciate your honesty and candor. You don't hide the fact that you want public funding to be used to further a religious agenda. Your only argument against public education is that it is in your view promoting "secular humanism."

What is taught in public schools is what we as a society agree upon. We have recourse through legislation, through school board elections and other means of influencing public education. Because of that, public funding is appropriate.

I live in a right-wing, magical thinking state, that naturally infuses, in my opinion, our educational system with too much religious, right-wing influence. I've learned to live with this reality, choosing to moderate this influence with my own supplemental teachings to my children.

It is clear to me that you wish to use public funds to promote your religious beliefs. Atleast you are honest about it. If you think publicly funded schools are teaching things you disagree with, work to change it by influencing others to follow what you think public schools should teach. But don't ask all of us taxpayers to use our tax dollars to fund your program of religious indoctrination.

My own views on vouchers can be found here.

http://theutahhornetsnest.blogspot.com/

 
At Tuesday, September 04, 2007 3:33:00 PM, Blogger Anna Maria Junus said...

Let's say they stop teaching sex education in schools.

What happens to the kids whose parents don't teach them anything? What if parents don't know what they need to teach?

I learned things from school that I didn't get from my parents, not because they didn't want to teach me but because they didn't know some things.

Isn't it better to get it from school than from your friends?

Sure it's easy to say "it's the parents responsibility" but that argument doesn't help the kid who isn't being taught.

And lets say your kid is being taught things that are opposite than what you teach. Is that a bad thing? Don't we want our kids to know what other people think and reason it out?

I want my kids to know that some kids have gay parents and although we don't find it an acceptable lifestyle, it's not their place to judge their school mates or their living conditions, or worse to criticize their parents.

And I want my kids to know that gay people are people too. It's this lack of understanding that has caused suicides and beatings.

Sex is not some secret shameful thing. It's a reproductive thing.

Let the school teach reproduction and the parents teach morals.

 
At Tuesday, September 04, 2007 6:15:00 PM, Blogger Alienated Wannabe said...

Dear Obi wan liberali,

I am disappointed that you have chosen to believe I "want public funding to be used to further a religious agenda." I thought I had made it sufficiently clear that such was not my intention.

Personally, I see myself as simply striving to do my small part in protecting society from the imposition of Secular Humanist religious dogma by way of the public school system. (I have witnessed this trend for years. I believe it has done great damage to our culture.)

My hope is that employing a voucher program will help to introduce competition into the educational equation, creating healthy accountability for schools and options for parents. That is all I want.

Are vouchers perfect? No.
Will they usher in the end of the world? No.
Do they represent a worthy experiment? Yes.

Thank you for sharing your feelings here.

Sincerely,
A.W.

 
At Tuesday, September 04, 2007 6:30:00 PM, Blogger Alienated Wannabe said...

Dear Anna Maria Junus,

I think you make some good points. The problem is that it is very difficult to teach about some of these topics without also conveying a value system -- either by what you say, or what you do not say. This is where my concern lies.

Perhaps part of the answer lies in having schools make their sex ed curriculum available to parents, and then making it easy for them to either opt in or out for their child as they deem appropriate. That might address some of the issues you raise.

Anyway, thanks for commenting here.

Sincerely,
A.W.

 
At Tuesday, September 11, 2007 8:52:00 PM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

I'm responding to something Obi wan Liberali said, in regards to religion and sex education --

I wasn't aware that teaching about sex responsibly was only a religious issue. Do I take from your comment that if we aren't religious, it's okay to get pregnant at 14, get AIDS and other STDs, and spread them like mayonaisse over the land?

Teaching about sex in an appropriate fashion is something everyone should be concerned with, regardless of their religion. I don't care if you're Atheist, Buddhist, or anything else -- proper sex education is important.

Furthermore to reply to other commenters, it's really rude to call another commenter a liar (re: Candace Salima.) I can't see what purpose she would have in coming on this forum and making up a story. Just because your experiences are different doesn't mean that she's making anything up.

 
At Wednesday, September 12, 2007 11:25:00 AM, Blogger Jason Bourne said...

We have a failing public school system which continues to suck down more and more money while delivering less in terms of well educated graduates.

We continue to fall behind the rest of the world in both the quality of our educational output and the quantity.

Tanya Clay House of the ultra-liberal People for the American Way recently declared, "We've never seen a shred of credible evidence that shows school vouchers actually help students learn. While all public schools must demonstrate success under No Child Left Behind, private schools are not held to the same level of accountability for their performance."

But lets ask the question another way, speaking of those same shreds of evidence, we've not seen many that point to those now in charge of that public school system having the ability to turn that around. In fact, there seems to be more evidence than not that they're incapable of doing so.

So the question becomes how competition could be any worse than monopoly? How could allowing the consumer of the education product to choose that which they find to best fill their own childrens needs be any worse than the arbitrary standards and needs of the monopoly?

From the side of the political spectrum which claims to be for "choice" this should be an issue for which they are fighting for the choice vouchers bring, not against.

Jason Bourne

 
At Sunday, September 16, 2007 12:49:00 PM, Blogger Stephen said...

I'm in an area where the public schools are better than most of the private schools by a good margin.

Too often I see people who want vouchers wanting them for inferior education.

On the other hand, I wonder about fairness issues and choice. I'm still debating it with myself.

 
At Sunday, September 16, 2007 11:40:00 PM, Blogger y-intercept said...

It sounds to me like you are upset that the schools are teaching logic, and not about evolution. When you teach logic, people see science as a method of inquiry. Since progressive teachers don't teach logic, what they are actually teaching is a belief system (a secular religion).

It is interesting that Obi wan liberali has decided to attack you motives to protect his religious beliefs.

 
At Tuesday, September 18, 2007 7:49:00 AM, Blogger Anne Bradshaw said...

I remember as a child in England, being totally embarrassed when biology lessons included what little they taught about sex education in those days. There was no such education in my home, and not much discussed among friends. I found out about life through books and living.

I wish there had been more said, because each new thing I discovered came as a shock--some things more shocking than others.

Now, the pendulum has swung right over, and everyone knows too much about everything in ways that are often equally shocking.

A balance would be nice, with schools and parents playing their part. Why can't one or both parents be invited to school when those lessons take place? Then go home and have follow up discussions with their children as part of the homework assignment, allowing for moral issues to be emphasized in addition to basic physical teaching. Make it mandatory that at least one parent gets time off work if necessary, to ensure this important topic is covered.

I'd like to see marriage education classes included in schools in addition to sex education. And have parents attend those, also.

 
At Sunday, September 23, 2007 9:15:00 PM, Blogger Davis Bigelow said...

I'm with you. I have never been able to get over the irony of the teaching to "Practice safe sex." How about "Don't practice anything of the sort. Once you're married, you be able to practice all you want, and no one in society will look down on you for it."
The best irony, however, is the fact that somehow, someway, against all contrived human odds, and without a formal education on the subject, men and women of centuries past have figured out how to create children. And, considering the population of the world, it seems like most every adult obtained this illusive knowledge early on in their lives. Wow, either the school system is implying that you and I are really stupid or there is some other reason for their intense and determined interest in teaching children how to have sex. I don't know about you, but I'm going with the second notion. Something is definitely wrong with somebody, and they are powerful enough to be regurgitating their sex sickness on the rest of us.

 
At Monday, October 08, 2007 10:01:00 PM, Blogger Alienated Wannabe said...

To Everyone Who Commented: Thank you very much! I apologize that I have been spending so much time on other people's blogs that I have neglected my own and have not thanked you in a timely manner. Please forgive me. And, please comment again.

 
At Sunday, October 14, 2007 5:18:00 PM, Blogger Cliff said...

Wowah AW,

I had no idea.

Pray tell, what is the faith of a secular humanist?

And what exactly is the social agenda they pushed?

 
At Monday, October 15, 2007 11:06:00 AM, Blogger Alienated Wannabe said...

Dear Cliff,

Secular Humanists are as different from one another as we theists. But, as implied by the label, one thing they generally have in common is the proclaimed goal of finding compassionate, moral, and ethical ways of behavior that are not dependent upon a belief in God. Their faith, then, would obviously include the idea that such a thing is possible.

At first blush, that would not appear to be too threatening. But, as with other faith-based efforts, the adherents to this philosophy can sometimes become rather zealous in their efforts and attempt to impose their values upon the rest of us.

Beyond the faith described above, a secular humanist also exercises faith that the universe came into being independently of a deity. There is no evidence for this, they simple choose to believe it.

But, it goes beyond that. Within the area of philosophy known as epistemology, great thinkers such as Plato and Descartes help us to understand that what we all like to think of as being knowledge is really just belief. Thus, all of us are ultimately exercising faith that what we perceive is actually real.

As to the question of "what social agenda they have pushed," again, the activities of secular humanists vary from person to person. But, if you visit the Secular Humanism website at http://www.secularhumanism.org, you will see that a major objective of this particular group is to discourage a belief in God.

As a secular humanist, yourself, you would have a better idea of what exactly moves you. But, people can get a pretty good idea of what you stand for by reading your excellent blog, One Utah, at http://www.oneutah.org.

Some significant positions of secular humanists I personally know include such things as legalizing gay marriage, maintaining and expanding so-called abortion rights, redefining what it means to be a family (i.e. having two dads, etc.), increasing the size, scope, and influence of government in our lives, while simultaneously decreasing the influence of religion, etc.

Do you think that is a fair assessment of Secular Humanism? If not, please correct me. Thank you, my friend.

Sincerely,
A.W.

 
At Tuesday, October 16, 2007 3:00:00 PM, Blogger Cliff said...

Thank A.W.,

I'm clear now.

Do you really have any evidence God exists?

Do you believe the dinosaurs coexisted with Adam and Eve?

 
At Monday, October 22, 2007 4:31:00 PM, Blogger y-intercept said...

Jeremy, Utah has the highest percent of public schools in the nation because the Mormon church was using the public schools as its parochial school system.

Have you ever noticed the distinct lack of Mormon schools in the state? Have you ever noticed that there is a Mormon seminary built next to every public school in Utah?

Or did you receive a public education and never learned how to connect dots?

It ain't got nuttin' to do with the quality of public skools.

 
At Friday, November 02, 2007 1:30:00 PM, Blogger iZING said...

This has certainly been a hot topic. It will be interesting to see what the voice of the people is after the votes are counted.

 
At Wednesday, December 12, 2007 4:43:00 AM, Blogger Candace E. Salima said...

Alienated Wannabe -- holy cow! I haven't been able to cruise through our LDS Blogs in months, and this is still the last one I saw. Is everything okay?

 
At Wednesday, December 12, 2007 4:44:00 AM, Blogger Candace E. Salima said...

Davis - yes, this was in Utah. At Orem Junior in fact. You can't doubt my account. I was there. I read the text book. I know what I'm talking about.

 
At Friday, December 14, 2007 8:55:00 AM, Blogger Alienated Wannabe said...

Hi Candace,

It's good to hear from you again. I'm sorry for being so quietly lately -- nothing is wrong, I'm just going through an extremely busy period. I'll try to post something soon.

Thanks for your concern, my friend.

A.W.

 
At Tuesday, January 29, 2008 8:23:00 PM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

It's been very quiet over here for a long time -- you still out there, Wannabe?

 
At Wednesday, January 30, 2008 1:38:00 PM, Blogger Alienated Wannabe said...

Hi Tristi,

Yes, I am still here -- just very busy. I hope to get going again soon.

Thanks, friend.

A.W.

 

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