We are failing a generation of children in academics when schools are expected to address every social issue of the day.
Many educators are fed up with the constant push to deliver more content that addresses sexuality over the critical sliding ranking of our students in maths, reading and science. While NZ students have the worst results in maths and science since 1994, many schools are requiring their students to participate in PRIDE Week activities from June 14 – 18.
There is an eerie silence in the halls and corners of some staff rooms where a fear of being threatened with teaching standards will be used against teachers if they dare to speak their mind. Those who brave the silence and question issues trigger a barrage of attacks from our profession. It is ironic to witness teachers empowering their students when they are not afforded the same right. One expectation is that educators empower and equip students so they can become critical thinkers, learning how to think. However, this is being replaced with telling them what to think. Debate is discouraged if it does not align to the views of fad-following social reformers.
Teaching staff are not trained or qualified in sexual identities and nor should they be. They are qualified to teach academics and to equip students to have critical minds. Yet they are required to address diverse sexual concerns and are expected to lead their students to affirm identities. Even those who have used political means to embed this controversial content into the curriculum do not have a comprehensive understanding of it. These ‘fluid’ identities are subjective and not based on science, and schools have not been transparent with parents about how they are teaching this content to their children.
Do we now allow a culture where the once oppressed becomes the oppressor? Students who come to school with different family beliefs are made to feel like they are bigots and racists. Students are being taught concepts that are not educational or academic, but subjective personal views. Bullying is now disguised as affirming diversity. “You must believe in this and support them or you are a bigot,” is a form of bullying. Mental health is an issue for all, not just minority groups.
Teaching staff are expected to not bring their subjective views into a classroom, and yet depending on which minority group you belong to, that expectation is variable. How many parents have agreed to their child participating in weeklong PRIDE activities?
This is not what equality looks like. The NZ Bill of Rights calls for equality of all people. However, there are many in our New Zealand schools who are underrepresented while for several years now only one group has had the focus. The push for inclusion is only afforded to some.
Teachers are crossing the line when they put their subjective views onto students regarding sexuality, and they also verge on becoming criminal by opening these sexual conversations up in a school setting with minors.
New Conservative encourages parents to find out if their children are being required to participate in PRIDE Week activities at the expense of their academic progress, and to demand education in the essentials if this is so.
Helen Houghton, New Conservative Education Spokeswoman
027 746 5757