Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Social Justice 12

Achtung! Achtung!

VANCOUVER - Abbotsford, B.C., high schools have been prevented from teaching the controversial new Social Justice 12 course because the local school board wants to review its content.

The elective course, which deals with issues ranging from homophobia to animal rights, has caused controversy among religious groups that worry it's too malleable to the individual beliefs of teachers.


The school rushed to take out parts of the course and expand on others, creating a new course called Global Studies and Active Citizenship, [Social Studies department head, Leanne] Abrey said. She said the course no longer contains sections on homosexuality and gay and lesbian rights.

Abrey said she's been saddened and frustrated by the board's intervention.

"I kind of questioned why a ministry-approved course would need to have board approval," she said. "It sort of defeats the purpose of a social justice course when it can't be offered."

Sure. But it sort of defeats the purpose of social justice when certain agenda (particularly "ministry-approved" ones) are accepted without question. Right?

And in the case of this particular course, the Abbotsford Board of Education has every conceivable reason to keep it out of their classrooms. Malleability of individual teachers' beliefs be damned, this is propaganda of the most conspicuously and inflexibly anti-intellectual sort.

Consider this from the draft of the course's proposed "achievement indicators":
Demonstrate an understanding of the need to undertake informed action while at the same time not necessarily waiting until having "all the information."
Oddly (though hardly surprisingly), this particular phrase was amended to an almost opposite meaning ("demonstrate an understanding of the need to undertake informed action"), as were a couple of the other more blatantly terrifying of the course's expectations. But see what remains:
... Identify and describe specific practices of solving conflict and promoting social justice, including ... coups [and] revolutions ...

... Identify a range of ways in which social injustice is manifested (e.g. ... reduced self-worth) ...

... Demonstrate an understanding of the role of language in oppression (e.g. non-gender inclusive language, use of euphemism) ...
These among many, many, many others. Truly, it has to be seen to be believed. (Honestly: beginning at page 34. Do!)

The course, however, is not without its supporters. Carol Sirianni, who teaches SJ12 at a high school in Port Coquitlam, claims that it is "absolutely working". Indeed, so absolutely is it working that she reported that her students were "enraged" to hear of the Abbotsford board's controversial reluctance to take their ministerially-mandated medicine ... One assumes this is the rage of tolerance and enlightenment.


ADDENDUM (September 24th)

Jay Currie:
Occasionally I am asked why we home school our boys. Well, frankly, I would prefer they take decisions when they have “all the information” and I would hope that their exposure to lunatics like the people who wrote up this curriculum will consist of meetings in which they say, “Miss Sirianni, you’re fired.”