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Education Matters: What unites, rather than divides, us

July 21, 2011|By Dan Kimber

Editor's Note: Numerous instances of plagiarism have been discovered in Dan Kimber’s “Education Matters” column, which ran in the News- Press from September 2003 to September 2011. In those columns where plagiarism has been found, a For the Record specifying the details will be appended to the piece.

I find myself for the second week in a row taking a position that departs, only slightly, from my basic political tendency.

I’m having some difficulty with a new state law, the FAIR Education Act, that will require textbooks created by the California Board of Education to introduce the issue of sexual orientation when teaching American culture.

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Existing law currently requires adopting instructional materials by schools that include portrayal of Native American, African-American, Mexican-American, Asian-American, European-American and other ethnic and cultural groups that contributed to the development of California, as well as the United States. The legislation leaves it to local school boards to decide how to implement the added requirement. It does not specify a grade level for the instruction to begin.

Before I state my objection, let me tell you what doesn’t bother me about the new law. I do not consider it an attack on the family, our country’s moral fiber, our cherished beliefs, our religious doctrines, or the innocent minds of our children. I’ll leave those concerns to people who still believe that homosexuality is a disease.

The Traditional Values Coalition said that the measure “molested the minds of children.” Bill O’Reilly, applying his unique spin, claimed on his Fox News show that “if you are a teacher….you’re not going to be able to say bad things about (convicted murderer) Jeffrey Dahmer because he was a ‘gay cannibal.’” And then there is the paranoid hue and cry that fantasizes a “gay agenda,” looking to infiltrate the minds of teachers (like me) to promote a deviant lifestyle and recruit young children into it.

“Satan is at the gates,” wrote one blogger, contemplating the full horror of this development. “Jesus is coming,” wrote another.

How ironic to invoke the name of one whose preachings clearly transcended the earthly limitations that we have placed on “true love,” but I digress.

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