With former President Obama his means were sometimes shadowy, but his goals and views were quite forthcoming. Remember the openly announced “fundamental transformation” before his first election or the “you didn’t build that”? Neither was a mistake in his mind. In his early days in politics he openly expressed his annoyance that courts interpreted the US Constitution as imposing ‘negative liberties’ of what government could not do. Instead, he hoped for a more ‘positive liberties’ vision laying out what governments must do to meet the needs of all citizens.
The Transgender Ruling that the Trump Administration overruled last week involved a federal agency deciding to read statutory language prohibiting discrimination based as ‘sex’ as also prohibiting discrimination based on a student’s perception of their gender. I keep warning that internalized perception is the new favorite bullseye in education, K-12 and after, because it can invisibly alter likely behavior going forward. No need to give the manipulated student a head’s up as to what is actually going on. Let them simply wonder later why no one is ready to hire them simply because they have a college degree.
The Obama Administration simply said that the student’s perception of who they are is more important than the physical reality of penises in girl’s bathrooms and group showers. It’s who people are on the inside that matters legally. What got put in place solely by broad, creative interpretation though can disappear the same way, which is what happened last week. Maybe like me, you heard on the TV or radio that “all President Trump and Betsy DeVos did was leave this delicate matter in the hands of the states or localities.” That may be what President Trump and his Attorney-General meant to do, but Mrs DeVos issued a separate statement laying out the “moral obligation no individual can abdicate.”
That’s quite broad, isn’t it? What does the Education Secretary acting apparently in her imagined benevolent despot role impose as our new federalized moral obligations to each other? To return to that gossipy phrase from our childhood, “Do Tell.” Here goes:
“We have a responsibility to protect every student in America and ensure that they have the freedom to learn and thrive in a safe and trusted environment. This is not merely a federal mandate, but a moral obligation no individual, school, district or state can abdicate…We owe students a commitment to ensure they have access to a learning environment that is free of discrimination, bullying and harassment.”
Now that broad assertion of such a mandate is about so much more that “New Title IX Guidance.” It was controversial when President Obama began to sneak in such a mandate to model desired behaviors and control interactions among students to create a so-called Positive School Climate. http://invisibleserfscollar.com/how-social-and-emotional-learning-as-the-primary-focus-is-coming-in-all-the-windows/ If the verb ‘sneak’ sounds too strong, this is a controversial area and it was pushed via regulation with little public discussion. Mrs. DeVos and fed ED are quietly continuing this very alarming declared right. The affirmative, ‘evidence-based’ remedy is to control each student’s internalized values, personal attributes, and emotional dispositions all in the name of a declared moral right “to learn and thrive in a safe environment.”
In the name of that goal, we get a new global emphasis called Positive Education that is supposedly “based on the science of well-being and happiness.” Each student has personality traits that are malleable to changes in instruction and classroom experiences. Do parents get a heads up as to the change in emphasis? Not really when it gets embedded in subject areas and class discussions that are really about moral dilemmas.
Your child is Succeeding. Your child shows Growth. Your child has met the school’s Learning Objectives. All of our students are showing Improvements in Achievement.
What parent will recognize the shift in what is actually being measured or what these terms now mean? How many parents will ever see https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-secretary-education-betsy-devos-issues-statement-new-title-ix-guidance the actual statement instead of some commentator’s false statement of what it did? Will students as adults recognize that education was used to manipulate, under force of law, the essence of who they are and how they view the world?
Next we will explore the nature of this new mandate. If there is to be an unknown “major paradigm shift in education,” the only way to avoid being its victim is to know it exists.
Does Mrs DeVos even know what she has declared and the history and purpose of these controversial ideas? I do and I am really hoping she simply put her name to a Statement someone else drafted because she thought it sounded nice and noble. The ramifications and likely remedies of her declared federal legal mandate to control the very bases of behavior simply never occurring to her.
Careful. Careful. Every progressive and tyrant in history sought to control this same internalized focus now declared a “federal mandate” in a release with an erroneous title that few are likely to read.
This is no way to get the feds out of the local classroom.