Sunday, September 01, 2013

Chicago: We Need to Teach Sex Education in Kindergarten Classrooms

    Some people may think a five-year old is too young for sex education.     Administrators with Chicago Public schools do not.  New to the curriculum this year, mandatory sexual and health education for kindergarten classes.

    CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker took at look at the lesson the little ones will be learning.

    Like every other kindergartener, Angelina Yang is learning reading, writing, arithmetic–and now sexual health education.   “I want to know what kind of education she is receiving before she gets that education,” said Angelia’s mom, Stella. ‘As a parent, I have a right to know.”

    CPS insists the curriculum will use language children understand and focus on topics like bullying, correct names for external body parts and the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touching.

    “As you identify body parts, you talk about should you be touched here or not.,” said Stephanie Whyte, the CPS Chief Health Officer. “And if someone touches you, and it’s uncomfortable, you should tell a trusted adult.”

Why even introduce these concepts to unsuspecting children? If anything, this will only lead to their loss of innocence earlier than necessary, no?

Meanwhile, some might call this (ahem) “teaching tolerance.” Others, well, might call it by its rightful name: indoctrination:

    “Whether that means there’s two moms at home, everyone’s home life is different, and we introduce the fact that we all have a diverse background, “ said Whyte

    That’s a lesson some conservative organizations oppose.  They say CPS is giving in to liberal groups that seek “to normalize homosexuality.”

    It’s the kind of lesson that makes some parents hesitant.  “If he has questions, I’m happy to answer them, but I’m not sure it belongs in a classroom setting,” said parent Brooke Lyon.

This program is seemingly well-intentioned. But c’mon. Besides the obvious reasons for why “sex education” of any kind is inappropriate in kindergarten classrooms, I must raise the point of priorities. Is there really no other subject (or subjects) teachers could focus on instead of “sexual and health education”?

After all, roughly 80 percent of eight graders in the city are not “grade-level proficient” in either reading or math. Wouldn’t it therefore be wise for teachers to spend additional time with young children, say, teaching them how to read and solve math problems?

This new curriculum seems like a colossal waste of time -- especially for a K-12 public school system struggling to adequately prepare kids for life after high school.


Rand Paul: School Choice is “the Civil Rights Issue of Our Day”

Thankfully, institutionalized racism and legal discrimination have been relegated to the ash heap of history. But there are still too many inequalities in American society today, according to Kentucky’s junior Senator Rand Paul. Thus, he writes, it’s high time we live out Martin Luther King Jr’s vision of "racial equality." How? By championing school choice -- and finally giving children from failing public schools a chance to be successful.

This, he insists, is the “civil rights issue of our day”:

    "King’s dream of racial equality has come a long way, but inequalities still exist that can’t be ignored. Too many Americans are trapped in a public education system that does not do our children justice. We have a system in which politicians and bureaucrats have too much control, parents have too little, and students’ needs are not being met. Our children have so much potential, but their natural skills and talents are often ignored. Their true potential is not being realized.

    Everywhere it is tried, school choice has allowed parents to give their children the education they deserve. Voucher and charter school programs that allow public education dollars to follow the student are greatly improving their performance and giving children so many opportunities. The Wall Street Journal noted in 2010 that 2,000 of our nation’s 20,000 high schools produce roughly 50 percent of all dropouts. Black children have a 50-50 chance of attending one of these schools. Compare these statistics to Washington, D.C., where a Stanford University study showed that 41 percent of students who attend charter schools learned the equivalent of 72 days more in reading and 101 days more in math each year than similar students attending district schools.

    Our children deserve better — they deserve a choice in education. A pastor friend of mine in Kentucky has called school choice the civil rights issue of our day. He’s right."

This is essentially what syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said on “Special Report” a few nights ago (via RCP):

    “Today the challenge is the social issues…it is the breakdown of the family and it is the terrible education that young people in the ghettos are subjected to which ruins their lives from the beginning and in which Democrats, particularly the teachers unions, are complicit and they simply will not face that fact.”

Those Democrats looking for racism where it doesn’t exist, Krauthammer argues, are merely ignoring the real and more pressing challenges of our time. They are living in a bygone era -- incapable of accepting and internalizing the profound improvements in American race relations over the past fifty years. What a shame. And yet both Paul and Krauthammer almost certainly agree on something else too: access to a quality education in 2013 is paramount. It’s difficult indeed to overemphasize just how important it is today to finally fix America’s broken education system. After all, a good education changes lives.

That’s why Republicans and Democrats need to be more committed to this issue, as Dr. Martin Luther King no doubt would have wanted.


Aussie students excelled as "all rounders" but still beaten by  East Asians

Australians helped by the fact that  40% of them go to private High Schools.  Asians helped by their higher IQs

HIGH school students in Australia have entered a rare category - they are among the world's best academic all-rounders.

OECD data shows that more students in Australia achieve high levels in maths, reading and science than their counterparts in most other countries.

On average across OECD countries, 16.3 per cent of students are top performers in at least one of the subject areas of science, mathematics and reading but only 4.1 per cent are top performers in all three.

In Australia however more than 8 per cent of students are high-achieving all-rounders.

The OECD analysis was based on international tests among 15 year-olds across 65 countries.

It showed that Shanghai-China had the highest numbers of academic all-rounders at 14.6 per cent, followed by Singapore with 12.3 per cent.

New Zealand is ahead of Australia with 9.9 per cent. In Hong Kong and in Japan 8.4 per cent of students are good all rounders.
In Australia 8.1 per cent of the students tested were top performers across all three subjects.

This puts Australia ahead of the UK where just 4.6 per cent of of students were considered all-rounders - just slightly higher than the OECD average.

A briefing note published by the OECD says that academic all-rounders are rare.  "To satisfy the growing demand for high-level skills in knowledge-based 21st-century economies, school systems need to increase the proportion of their students who are top performers," it said.


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