In a country that doesn't (officially) recognize state-sponsored religion, whose Constitution says "all men are created equal," where bigotry and bias are abhorred — why do otherwise intelligent and sensitive people feel they can engage in hate speech against gay people?

Despite tenets such as [More...]



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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Rescue the Colorado Students from Their Ignorant Leaders

The article below, about the leaders of a school district in Colorado who have arbitrarily decided to reject an educational video because of their fears the video says positive things about homosexuality, made me wonder about the quality of the education those leaders are fostering. So, I went to see how Colorado students fare on the ACT exam given to students who are interested in attending college after high school. I figured this was as good of barometer as any of how these students -- whose leaders "protect" them from topics according to their (bigoted) whims -- stack up against students from other states.

What I found is pretty damning.

In 2004, the national ACT test average for students across the nation was 20.9. Colorado students achieved scores well below that mark, averaging 20.3. Only eight states scored worse.

Maybe it's time for these leaders to stop shielding their students from topics they deem controversial, which is essentially an effort to force their ideas of morality down their pupils throats. It's ensuring that their students continue to be misinformed about reality, understanding issues in only a one-sided manner. In other words, it's contributing to them being ignorant and stupid when they leave high school.

Simply put: These leaders are failing their students.

I suspect this argument would fall on deaf ears there, though. Stupid people generally don't get very far from home. I wonder how many of these Colorado school leaders were educated in the districts they now head -- doomed to a vicious circle of blind ignorance and dumb intolerance their entire lives and careers.

Save a student from such a dull fate. Rescue them from Colorado!

School District Rejects Disputed Video

Academy School District 20 won¹t show students a children¹s music video that conservative groups have denounced for promoting acceptance of gay lifestyles. More on this topic

The videos are being distributed to schools nationwide and arrived at Pikes Peak-area school districts this week.

The four-minute video features about 100 popular cartoon characters and puppets -- including SpongeBob SquarePants, Kermit the Frog, Big Bird and Barney -- singing ³We Are Family.²

It sparked controversy this year when the American Family Association and Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family claimed one of the motives behind the singalong was to encourage children to accept homosexuality.
The creator, New Yorkbased We Are Family Foundation, says the video conveys a message of tolerance and diversity, not sexual orientation.

FedEx, a national sponsor of the video, distributed more than 60,000 sets of DVDs and teachers guides nationwide at no cost.

Academy School District 20, which is the district¹s second-largest district and includes the headquarters of Focus on the Family, does not plan to distribute the DVDs to its 16 elementary schools, district spokeswoman Nanette Anderson said.

Before the video arrived, a ³handful² of parents objected to it being shown in school, she said. ³We just feel we have character ed programs already in place that address the same goals of tolerance and diversity.²

Other districts in the Pikes Peak area have not decided what to do with the video.

Assistant Superintendent Barbara Day of Falcon School District 49 watched the video Monday after about 10 of the DVDs arrived. ³Maybe I¹m an idiot, but I don¹t get it,² she said. ³I saw absolutely nothing objectionable.²

The video, she said, will be shown to principals, who will decide whether the video would be useful, she said.

The video, which can be viewed online at www.wearefamilyfoundation.org, or the teachers guide, available at www.adl.org/waff/guide.pdf, do not specifically refer to sexual orientation.

Focus issued a statement saying earlier versions of the teachers guide reportedly contained several references to same-sex parents.

³We can only assume the We Are Family Foundation removed those references after realizing the majority of American parents do not want such material to be foisted on their children under the guise of Œtolerance and diversity,¹² the (group) said in its statement.

Beth Yohe, associate director of education for the Anti-Defamation League¹s Mountain States Regional Office, said the league and the producers are letting the video and guide speak for themselves. They hope school districts will not refuse to show the video without watching it.

³We certainly hope that each school district will wait to reserve judgment until they see the actual materials,² she said, ³which is also the message for the kids -- get to know someone before you make a decision about them.²  -- Brian Newsom, The Gazette (Colorado Springs)

Find the original article here --> http://www.gazette.com/display.php?id=1306409&secid=1

Find ACT data here --> http://www.midwestsites.com/stellent2/groups/public/documents/pub/mws_am_ed_000923.hcsp

And here --> http://www.act.org/news/data/04/states.html


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