MONDAY MORNING MEMORANDUM
By Assemblyman Ray Haynes
May 15, 2006
Why Our Schools Don’t Work
This last week, a judge in Oakland said he thought the state’s high school exit exam is flawed, because it failed to account for English language learners’ inability to read the test. That is, since the test requires that those with limited English skills take and pass the test in English, it discriminates against those students.
Never mind that, no matter where you go in this country, English language skills are an important part of success. Never mind that a student should be able to read the high school diploma they are receiving when they graduate. Insuring competence in basic skills is apparently not the goal of our schools. Insuring that absolutely no school policy offends any person in this state is the most critical thing to this judge.
And that is one of the reasons why the state’s schools don’t work.
This week, based on a judge’s decision, the exit exam got tossed out because of its alleged discriminatory effect. The one thing in our schools that would make sure students actually knew something before they graduated from school has been tossed aside in favor of some alleged antidiscrimination ethic. Learning is not the most important thing in schools; advancing some liberal social ethic is.
This leads us to SB 1437, which passed the state senate on Thursday. SB 1437 would require, yes require, schools to teach about the contributions of gays, lesbian, bisexuals and transsexuals in history. Honestly, I don’t know what transsexuals have done in history, but, if my kids go to public school, they will be forced to learn about it.
Let me be clear. We don’t require that they learn about George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, any details of the Civil War, or just about anything else in history, but we are going to require that they learn about gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transsexuals. In fact, any book that says anything that might be interpreted as hostile to those groups would be banned from the classroom, and the textbooks that remain must go out of their way to mention their contributions.
Once again, the state senate, like the judge, has decided to emphasize a political agenda over a learning agenda. Quite frankly, a great person in history is great regardless of their sexual orientation. It really wouldn’t matter whether Thomas Jefferson had a sexual relationship with his slave, Sally Hemmings. His contributions to our history through the Declaration of Independence and the Louisiana Purchase occurred even though we don’t know who he slept with. It really doesn’t matter if Abraham Lincoln was gay or not (as homosexual activist groups have long tried to prove), his effort to abolish slavery in this country, and his work in preserving this country as a whole are a testament to his place in history no matter what they allege he did with his law partners at night when no one was looking
We have a lot of problems in our schools. Our children are worried about their safety. We can’t seem to keep drugs out of the school. Sexual harassment, and in some cases molestations, seem to occur on a regular basis up and down the state. Our school buildings are crumbling, and we can’t fire incompetent teachers. Ten percent of the kids who enter school can’t prove they have an eighth grade level of knowledge when they graduate, and the judges and legislators are worried about discrimination and political correctness.
We give our schools $50-60 billion a year. Those that educate our children are supposed to make sure that our children know that two plus two equals four. One of the reason that they are failing at their jobs is because our political leaders are more worried about who is sleeping with whom than whether children can actually read a cereal box. We need to get our priorities straight.