This post was contributed by Tony Kiar, a retired Principal who lives in Ontario. Tony can be found at his personal blog https://scrapbookwithtony.wordpress.com/
What is happening to our schools?
Children are being indoctrinated with gender ideology and it starts at kindergarten.
In academic circles, this is a necessity for the good of the children. Pamela M. Malins (The University of Western Ontario) doctoral research is typical;
Heterosexism and misogyny remain pervasive in North American society, and education has the potential to provide young children opportunities to make meaning differently and cultivate a more respectful and open-minded society, beginning with the intended curriculum . . . . Children are active in the construction of their gender and sexual identities, and are a part of, or are surrounded by, diverse families or are questioning personal identities. In a multicultural and multimodal society, diverse identities cannot be ignored or avoided. Young children deserve, and have a right to, an education that includes and embraces all identity options and all families.Making Meaning of Gender and Sexual Identities in Early Childhood: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Canadian Early Childhood Curricula, p.164
This view portrays kindergarten children as adults; only shorter and less evolved as far as sexuality is concerned. Pamela Malins argues that developmentally appropriate practices are outdated and “Research no longer supports the justification of avoiding diverse gender and sexual identities under notions of childhood innocence or DAP [Developmentally Appropriate Practice].” (Ibid)
Why is this view taking over our education system?
The complete takeover of our schools by gender ideology activism should not come as a surprise but it does. Why?
After studying this takeover of our public school system by gender ideology I realized that larger social forces were at work. Our school system has been conformed to a new reality by the political and social pressures around it. Douglas Murray in his book, ‘The Madness of Crowds’, tells us that a ‘postmodern vacuum’ has pulled into our society a new narrative of meaning. He writes:
Although the foundations had been laid for several decades, it is only since the financial crash of 2008 that there has been a march into the mainstream of ideas that were previously known solely on the obscurest fringes of academia. . . . The interpretation of the world through the lens of ‘social justice, identity group politics’ and ‘intersectionalism’ is probably the most audacious and comprehensive effort since the end of the Cold War at creating a new ideology.Douglas Murray, The Madness of Crowds (p2)
This ‘new way’ of looking at things drives our politics and social relations in all spheres of society. We now have a cadre of teachers who are wholeheartedly dedicated to promoting Gender Ideology, the earlier the better. Terezia Zoric, writing for the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario says;
. . . teaching equity has never been more relevant, and that it’s never too early to start teaching about fairness. . . . Social justice education needs to be in the fabric of our daily teaching work because every day social injustice is woven into the fabric of our students’ lives.Terezia Zoric – EFTO publication
Social justice activism has become the pedagogical driver by which Gender Ideology is promoted in schools.
Social Justice – when the end justifies the means and becomes very aggressive
It’s never too early to start teaching social justice, even before your child enters grade one. Anyone who questions the ’process or goal’ of social justice is sidelined or silenced quickly with powerful weapons of social coercion. Douglas Murray put it plainly;
. . . , anybody who got in the way of this new direction of travel found themselves mown down with astonishing vigour. The weapons at hand (accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia and finally transphobia) were all too easy to wield and there was no price to pay for wielding them unfairly, unjustifiably or indeed frivolously.Doulgas Murray – The Madness of Crowds, p. 59
When the ‘process and the goal’ are so intimately linked the ‘end’ will always justify the ‘means’ by which it is achieved.
This kind of social activism which ‘justifies the means by its end’ is dangerous socially and politically. We’ve seen it before. Hannah Arendt’s caution is applicable today:
Totalitarian solutions may well survive the fall of totalitarian regimes in the form of strong temptations which will come up whenever it seems impossible to alleviate political, social, or economic misery in a manner worthy of man.Hannah Arendt – The Origins of Totalitarianism
Hannah Arendt knew what she was talking about and anyone with a child in the public education system is finding out.
What are the goals of this social justice activism?
What are the social justice aims of ETFO with respect to Gender Ideology? Take a look at their website”s resources for teachers – in particular How to Become a Super Rad Gender Warrior Classroom Teacher!
“Gender is not in fact a binary, but a spectrum with masculine at one end, feminine at the other and androgynous or genderqueer somewhere in the middle. Given that there are different points on the spectrum, it’s no surprise that gender identity (one’s internal experience of their own gender) and gender presentation (one’s external presentation of their gender) can be fluid and not fixed. . . .
As educators, we play a critical role in beginning honest and open discussions with the goal of breaking down inherent stereotypes that have been systematically enforced for a very long time. It’s not always easy to confront internal biases or to bust apart systems we have always been told are factual. But it is necessary.”EFTO Resources for Teachers
I am left wondering what internal biases and inherent stereotypes a 4 year old child has that need to be confronted and ‘busted’ apart.
The teachers you send your children to are committed to an ideology that is not scientific and they are encouraged to ‘confront and bust apart’ any systems that are contrary to the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario’s view of Social Justice. This includes the biological underpinnings of gender. For this kind of social justice activism to succeed, objective truths of male and female need to be replaced by their fluid (and apparently not internally biased) gender roles – men can literally be women and girls can literally be boys.
For parents who have children in elementary school, the practical questions become; Do you know what your child is being taught in school? Do you think the teachers who you trust your children with are ideologically neutral? Are you sure these teachers will respect your child’s right to deeply held religious convictions or even their own view of themselves? If you’re comfortable and complacent – it may be in your child’s best interest to become more aware of what’s happening in your local school.
Ministry of Education Guiding Documents
Does the Ontario Ministry of Education which sets the curriculum for all publicly funded schools in Ontario subscribe to the brand of social justice activism promoted by Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario and unions like it? Let’s take a look at some of the Ministry’s guiding documents.
The document, “An Introduction to How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years For Leaders” views children and their families in a positive light;
When we see children as competent, capable of complex thinking, curious, and rich in potential, we value and build on their strengths and abilities. When we see families as experts who know their children better than anyone else and have important information to share, we value and engage them in a meaningful way.Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years (p5)
This is clearly not the view of a ‘Super Rad Gender Warrior classroom teacher’ whose job it is to break down the ‘stereotypes you the parents have inculcated into your child and to confront your child’s internal biases from a position of power and moral superiority.
There is a dangerous disconnect between what the Ministry of Education sees as a proper approach to teaching and the activism of teachers who fancy themselves as social justice warriors. Your child may be caught in the crossfire if the views clash openly or may become another quiet casualty in the cold war between the teachers and the Ontario government.
If your child happens to be in an Ontario Kindergarten, teachers and early childhood educators should follow 2016 The Kindergarten Program. This curriculum document states that;
In an environment based on the principles of inclusive education, all children in Kindergarten, their parents, other family members, and other members of the school community – regardless of ancestry, culture, ethnicity, sex, physical or intellectual ability, race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or other similar factors – are welcomed, included, treated fairly, and respected. Diversity is valued, and all members of the school community feel safe, comfortable, and accepted.The Kindergarten Program Curriculum Document p 101
This sounds fair if you’re not given to unionised social justice activism. Parents who believe a family is made up of a man and a woman who are married with boys and girls as children shouldn’t feel any less part of the community than those who don’t have such beliefs.
However, the document goes on to say;
Early childhood settings can be pro-active in identifying strategies that will respect families’ diverse linguistic, cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds and value this diversity as an asset that enriches the environment for everyone. … Preconceived notions about children’s ethno-cultural backgrounds, gender, abilities or socioeconomic circumstances create barriers that reduce engagement and equitable outcomes (Bernhard, Freire, & Mulligan, 2004). Addressing prejudices increases the involvement of all children. Early childhood practitioners can take actions to avoid prejudice and to counteract bias when it occurs in early childhood settings. [emphasis mine](ELECT, 2007, p. 12) (quoted on page 102)
Here is a serious problem for religious parents and parents who may not subscribe to an unscientific gender spectrum of Gender Ideology. Given the discussions thus far it isn’t hard to see how such counter-cultural views would be seen as prejudicial and require action on the part of the ‘early childhood practitioners.’ These actions to avoid prejudice and counteract bias are often called teachable moments.
How “Teachable Moments” are used to drive an ideological agenda
The Kindergarten Program refers to ‘teachable moments’ as a stance of inquiry and asking questions by the teacher;
One of the things we were excited about as we observed children engaged in play and exploration was the potential for teachable moments. We loved hearing children ask questions that allowed us to answer them and extend their vocabulary or knowledge about something. After a while, we realized that every time we provided a quick answer to a question or pondering, their interest in it diminished. After reflecting on this, we began to respond to a question from a child with another question from us. We kept in mind the notion that it is better to ask than to tell, whenever possible. This kept us in an inquiry stance more often.Ontario Kindergarten Program p. 92
This is crucial information for parents because much of what isn’t in the curriculum that is purely ‘ideologically driven gender warrior’ material is termed a ‘teaching moment,’ which gives the teacher a ‘free pass’ to teach anything they like, as long as they like and as forcefully as they like.
In other words, instances of ideological indoctrination are often mislabelled as ‘teachable moments’ allowing teachers to get off the hook when challenged. Yet according to the Ministry document- The Kindergarten Program- a teachable moment is question-based and necessarily brief (attention span of a 4 year old) – no telling, expounding, or pounding of social justice activism over a period of days or weeks. Further, it is initiated by the children, not the teacher. This is a far cry from Melissa Major’s views of how a super rad gender classroom warrior teacher tackles social justice with little children.
As a former teacher and school principal of many years I cannot overstress the need for parents to know what is going on in their child’s classroom, even if they are in Kindergarten. The Ministry of Education’s curriculum document – the Kindergarten Program provides two very excellent tips for parents – it tells you what a ‘teachable moment’ is (and isn’t) and it tells you that as a parent you can request to go into your child’s classroom to observe what is being taught.
If you don’t protect your child’s education – who will?