Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Devil is in the Details - UPDATED

(H/T: My Lovely Bride!)

UPDATE: It's worse than I feared. California's socialist appellate courts are already weighing in.

California has committed the unpardonable sin of elevating sexual orientation to the level of "discrimination." That they have chosen our public schools as the vehicle from which to launch this mockery makes the sin that much more unpalatable.

The mechanism for this debacle was California Senate Bill 777, introduced by notoriously gay activist and legislator Sheila Kuehl. It codifies the language that now makes sexual orientation subject to anti-discrimination laws in the state, and allows public schools to openly endorse and teach alternative lifestyles to our impressionable children.

Now, many will look at the language of the bill and wonder what on earth the problem is. All it does is add sexual orientation to a list of personal attributes against which we cannot "discriminate." In other words, it levels the playing field (the progressive movement's favorite phrase, by the way) and tries to get us to be more tolerant of those who believe or act differently from ourselves.

That's the politically correct discussion, and probably the reason why Gov. Schwarzennidiot signed it.

What it really does is open the flood-gates for ACLU-like challenges that will ultimately see to it that our children are force-fed a steady diet of politically correct sexual education. It will no longer be adequate (if, indeed, it ever was) to merely teach our children how to avoid getting pregnant or prevent sexually transmitted diseases. No, now we get to teach them how to get in touch with feelings that they themselves probably never knew they had, and will wonder why on earth Mom and Dad never told them about.

This op-ed piece that appeared recently in the Salt Lake Tribune is a nice summary of a growing movement among Christians to remove their kids from California public schools. In fact, the movement is national, but the column focuses on the California branch, headed by a pastor in Yorba Linda. The idea espoused by this so-called "Exodus Mandate" is to encourage parents to remove their children from public schools before the anti-family forces have a chance to activate their agenda in the classroom. In some schools it may already be too late.

The idea is admirable, but I'm afraid it's also probably impractical for many, many families. Here in Orange County we have a unique problem. It takes money — lots of money — to live in this neck of the woods. Hacienda Woody is a manufactured home, for heaven's sake, and we're paying nearly as much per month as we did in our townhouse in Ventura County seven years ago. So much of a given family's disposable income is, in fact, dedicated merely to living expenses that there isn't really much left over for anything like private education for any but the wealthiest of our citizenry. Maintaining this kind of lifestyle also generally means dual incomes. Mom and Dad both have to work, usually outside of the home, in order to keep up with their expenditures every month. Those of us with single incomes are even more strapped.

One idea fronted by the Mandate is that a family might find another family who is, for example, homeschooling, and ask if their child could join them for studies. That idea, while it may have some merit, is also not without its difficulties. For one thing, moving a child from a public school environment to a homeschool situation is often difficult and carries with it a longish learning curve for both the parents and the child. Secondly, there are no guarantees that a child from another home will be a good fit in another family's homeschool. This kind of decision would have to be researched long and hard, and most families don't have that kind of time right now.

I suspect the better course is to challenge SB 777 in court. It needs to be done, really, because there have to be constitutional challenges that will be generated by passage of this legislation. For one thing, there is no provision for parents to indicate whether their student should be subjected to this kind of teaching. There are, of course, exemptions for things like religious academies, especially if this bill seeks to impose anything that would run counter to what that religion teaches. But religious academies are private and would have been exempt anyway. Likewise homeschools are exempt, as they should be. Heck, I could easily qualify my homeschool as a "religious private school" if push came to absolute shove, but I'd rather not have to bother.

[I say "easily," but let's get serious: The minute you declare yourself to the State of Califoria as a private or parochial school, you are suddenly subject to more regulations than you ever dreamed existed. Additionally, the paperwork to qualify for that designation alone would just about kill you. Hence, I amend my original statement to say, "Heck, I could, if held at gunpoint, qualify my homeschool..." Yeah, that sounds more realistic.]

Public school families, unfortunately, have no such safeguards, and the bombardment will be intense and overwhelming at some point in the near future. This is one of those times when I wish I had better solutions to offer, but I don't. I do wish those families Godspeed, however. They'll need all the blessings they can get.

No comments: