One of the pitfalls of a nation that is divided into relatively equal proportions is that fringe groups of activists appear to yield disproportionate power as they market their support to one side or the other; extracting political power, funding, and sometimes outrageous concessions for their support …
Unfortunately, we find the progressive socialist democrats actively engaged in this activity – dividing up the nation into groups of victims, each with their own real or imagined grievances and being promised redress if only their join the progressive socialist democrat coalition against the dreaded bogeyman of the GOP. In essence creating caricatured characters like Darth Cheney, the man who would deny you life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to turn a profit in the oil patch or creating a war to fund the military-industrial complex.
Other than the usual progressive socialist democrat suspects, Blacks, Hispanics, Women, Gays, and the Poor, we are seeing the rise of political exploitation in a new subset of the gay culture – the transgendered. People who are unsure of their sexual identity or believe that they are born with the wrong set of plumbing. Another segment of the population that can be divided and played for political power.
So why am I not surprised that groups in Nebraska and elsewhere are exploiting a training handout and suggesting that using the descriptive appellation boys and girls is somehow not inclusive of transgendered children; suggesting that some neutral phrase, like purple penguins, be used.
Curious as the color purple is most often associated with gays? Imagine the brouhaha if teachers divided students into red and blue groups? (blue + red = purple)
Gender Spectrum provides education, training and support to help create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for children of all ages.
Thinking Critically About Difference
Schools that explicitly recognize gender diversity establish conditions in which conversations and activities exploring other forms of difference become possible. In embarking on a path to expand students’ understanding about gender diversity, schools set a tone in which the examination of differences across multiple domains is accepted and encouraged. Exploring gender becomes an on ramp for students to consider complex issues in other aspects of their lives. Racial, cultural, religious, linguistic, socioeconomic and many other forms of difference can now be examined from the perspective of critical analysis grounded in this initial study and understanding of gender.
Coming to recognize gender in all of its complexity allows students to see concepts in more realistic terms. Helping them understand the idea of a spectrum—a range of possibilities and not simply the “opposite ends” of a binary—builds their capacity to critically examine concepts in other areas of learning as well as building their appreciation for gender and other forms of diversity. In building students’ perspectives about gender and gender diversity, schools are able to introduce notions of ambiguity and degree that will serve them they explore other complex topics for the rest of their lives.
Interpersonal entry points are the various ways in which individual interactions and communications are utilized to reinforce a school’s commitment to gender inclusion. Supported by many of the structural components, these relational aspects nonetheless require intentional behaviors in the day-to-day interrelationships of a campus. They literally voice a school’s commitment to honoring the gender diversity of all students. From the manner in which they set up and run classrooms to their use of language with students, and parents, teachers and leaders can literally “walk the talk” through these relational and conversational approaches. <Source>
I can understand the “neutrality” of calling children students, so where are the “purple penguins?”
Playing for the “other side” – used for fundraising or making a point to a “political base” …
The concept of “purple penguins” appears to have originated in a training handout – obviously targeted at elementary children. And, unlike the assertions put forth in various publications, this does not appear to be the policy of any particular school board or school.
School Told to Call Kids ‘Purple Penguins’ Because ‘Boys and Girls’ Is Not Inclusive to Transgender
Nebraska teachers are instructed to ask students what their preferred pronouns are.
A Nebraska school district has instructed its teachers to stop referring to students by “gendered expressions” such as “boys and girls,” and use “gender inclusive” ones such as “purple penguins” instead.
“Don’t use phrases such as ‘boys and girls,’ ‘you guys,’ ‘ladies and gentlemen,’ and similarly gendered expressions to get kids’ attention,” instructs a training document given to middle-school teachers at the Lincoln Public Schools.
“Create classroom names and then ask all of the ‘purple penguins’ to meet on the rug,” it advises.
The document also warns against asking students to “line up as boys or girls,” and suggests asking them to line up by whether they prefer “skateboards or bikes/milk or juice/dogs or cats/summer or winter/talking or listening.” <Source>
The truth is that, no matter what inclusivity training might be provided, children are aware enough of the differences and will use these differences to bully other children. So, perhaps an anti-bullying campaign would be more effective than some program designed to benefit one segment of the minority population.
You would think that those who are making a big deal out of “purple penguins” would be out gathering support for traditional teaching: reading, writing, arithmetic, history, civics, useful skills, and respect for individual students no matter who or what they may be. No more trying to politicalize sexual identity or engage in revisionist history for the benefit of one group or the other.
Bottom line …
This “purple penguins” kerfuffle is indicative of the hyper-politicization of school curriculum which has failed students and has produced yet another generation of functional illiterates. Children so dependent on digital devices that they cannot tell time using an analog watch or “make change” without a computer. Today, writing no longer involves critical thinking, but Google searches and cutting-and-pasting. All while teachers’ unions blather on about competing in a global economy – full well knowing that many of the graduates cannot compete in their home town.
It is not the duty of a school system to replace parental instruction or inculcate students with a progressive viewpoint. If a child is struggling with personal issues, perhaps it is time for a parent-teacher conference and a referral to specialized resources. But, you do not mandatorily force everyone to acknowledge and accept non-traditional viewpoints for the purpose of political “inclusiveness.” Nor do you teach to the lowest common denominator while overlooking the best and brightest who will become the backbone of the next generation. No more gold stars and ribbons for just showing up. No more rewarding incorrect answers to precise mathematical questions. No more overlooking poor grammar or not correcting slang or ethnic speech.
And, above all – it is time to punish thuggish behavior and demand discipline in the classrooms. If that means segregating the malcontents and disrupters in other facilities – let the be the basis of a bussing program. Rather than be concerned with “purple penguins,” school systems should be more concerned with cultures that do not embrace education and/or allow children to denigrate, berate, and bully those children that do well in school.
It is time to break the lock-step of the teachers’ unions who believe that they have the sole rights to students and their funding. More competitive teachers, more competitive schools, and more control over the long tail of the union pensions that are now wagging the dog. No more using a school board as a stepping stone to higher political office. No more accommodating education-based special interests – in today’s digital age, there can be no justification of $50 textbooks that contain material that was developed decades – if not centuries – ago. No more expensive artificial de-segregation in communities that purposefully self-segregate.
It is time that “We the People” took back our schools, our communities, and our nation from the political activists who have turned politics into a well-paying profession that does little or nothing to serve the public need.
It is time to come back to American values – where people are not hyphenated-Americans, but Americans; and where loyalties are not to foreign sovereign states. You are part of America or you are welcome to go elsewhere.
Reference Links …
- Gender Inclusive Framework
- Gender Inclusive Assessment Tool
- Gender Inclusive Action Planning
- My Gender Journey
- Teaching Tolerance – The Gender Spectrum
- Five Easy Steps Towards Gender Inclusion
- Twelve Easy Steps Towards Gender Inclusion
- Using Gender Inclusive Language with Kids
- Teaching About Gender – Common Questions and Concerns
- Responding to Concerns About Gender-inclusive Practices
- Gender Inclusive Signage
- Gender Inclusive Classrooms: Concepts and Lessons
- Gender Inclusive Registration Forms
- Annotated Bibliography of Children’s Books
- Tiered Training Program
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius