A Moving Target...The Educational Tower of Babel - New Phrases and Definitions in 2023
From THE BIBLE:
Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, "Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth."
5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, "If as one people speaking the same language, they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other." So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel -because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth. - Genesis 11:1-9
This point of this story is that mankind attempted to build the Tower of Babel to reach to heaven and to act in rebellion to God. They desired to become God. So, God made them speak different languages so they couldn't understand each other (previously they had all spoken the same language). God shut the rebellion down and scattered the rebellious throughout the corners of the Earth.
What does this have to do with education? That's coming.
I was at a Christmas Party last week talking to a woman whose husband was President of a local school board. She was telling us what a great job he was doing and how proud she was of him, which was nice. Then, she made this statement after finding out that I was working with a group in my county as a voice for parents regarding how their children are being educated. She said, "Oh, well if you're talking about CRT, it doesn't exist in our schools. My husband has reviewed all the county textbooks and it isn't there. There may be the occasional teacher who teaches CRT, but it isn't in our schools."
After I stifled the urge to laugh, I told her that of course her husband wasn't finding CRT in textbooks. It doesn't exist there. In fact, even when people observe classes or ask for lesson plans, they don't find CRT explicitly taught. She stared at me blankly. I guess she thought that books would have a CRT Chapter or Section. I asked her if she had ever heard of "SEL." She said she hadn't so I explained to her that it was short for Social Emotional Learning and that it was basically the "operating system" for CRT and all other extremist ideas to be taught. Again, a blank stare. At that point our conversation stopped.
I suppose I shouldn't blame this woman for her lack of knowledge. It's not her fault. It's the fault of the system that keeps people off balance and ill-informed about what is happening in our schools. They keep changing the terms and programs, disguising them, infusing them where we don't expect them, and it's working. They change them so often that even school personnel are not well versed on what is going on. I guess it could be plausible deniability.
Why would they do this? Read these recent stories:
Parents in the United States are starting to wake up to the academic and moral wasteland the public schools are becoming. They are also waking up to the increased violence without accountability and the war against parental rights. They are not only taking their kids out of the schools, but they are becoming more active in questioning schools and running for school board.
And the educational establishment including the unions, don't like it. So, they hope they can quell some of it in one of three ways, suppressing their input, overwhelming parents with information, or confusing them with special and ever-changing educational phrases and terms.
Unlike the creators of the Tower of Babel, however, parents and parent/student advocates don't have to scatter and can learn the language and ask questions.
So, here are the top ten new phrases/definitions in education that YOU need to look out for and ask questions about:
Social Emotional Learning: As stated earlier, this is the "operating system" that schools use to support all other ideological programs. Here is a blog post with information on SEL: Destabilizing Children: Are Schools Conducting a “Psy-Op” on Our Kids? – Radio Free Oxford
Statewide Longitudinal Data System: Almost all states have an agency that maintains and disseminates data from various agencies in that state. 50-State Comparison: Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems - Education Commission of the States (ecs.org) Our state, Maryland has: MLDSC Home Page (maryland.gov) The data is used for a variety of purposes and may include data on individual students, teachers, families etc. The state says the data is all anonymous. When surveys are conducted by the Maryland Department of Education, the data goes here. When Health Departments submit data, it goes here. When many school surveys are conducted by districts, that data might and sometimes does end up here. While the stated use of this data may seem innocuous, it's important that parents know and ask questions about the data and the system. There have been some rumors that this data may eventually inform a Statewide Passport, I.D. program, or even a social credit system. Here's some good advice: Teach KIDS to Say "No" to Data-Mining at School (substack.com) Look at this website for resources, including opt out letters: Courage Is A Habit Ask questions like the ones attached to list blog.
Community Schools: This term will be used more and more in 2023. It sounds great, a community school, like the one down the street in your neighborhood. But here are more facts: These Community Schools Aren’t What You Think They Are – Radio Free Oxford. Not only will these schools become "one stop shopping" for all services, but they will also cost billions and take the focus of schools OFF academics. Schools will be asked to provide trauma informed treatment, become doctors' offices, nutritional services, dental services, workforce training for adults, and much more. Our students don't need schools to be distracted, especially after two years of academic losses.
Trauma Informed Teaching/Mental Health Matters Act, HR 7780: This phrase and this bill are so new that even educators don't know what they are. First, trauma informed teaching is built on the premise that a majority of our students are the victim of trauma in their lives. Trauma-Informed Teaching Strategies (ascd.org). There is NO doubt that many kids have suffered during Covid and in some cases the violence in their cities. However, during a time when teachers are struggling to teach reading, writing, math and other academics, we are forcing them into acting as crisis counselors and psychologists which they are not trained to do. It's a new Progressive idea that ALL children need trauma informed teaching, forcing them to become victims. Federally, The Mental Health Matters Act exacerbates this problem by forcing schools to test all school children (public, private, and homeschool included) for mental health problems. It also funds an army of mental health staff into every public-school costing taxpayers billions and ensuring that mental health problems will be found whether or not they exist. This is referenced in this blog: Creating Mental Health Issues in Schools – Radio Free Oxford . Here is a one-page summary of HR 7780 Mental Health Matters Act Fact Sheet (house.gov). It won't show you all the facts, but it will give you info.
Culturally Responsive Teaching/Culturally Responsive sustaining education: This is part of the new name for CRT (Critical Race Theory) and it is one of the most racist practices in education. Teachers will be trained not to teach students as individuals, but as members of ethnic, racial, gender, economic and sexual preference groups. Each group will have a list of "common learning styles and characteristics "and teachers will use that list to teach those in each group. For example, if a child is Black, it will be assumed that he should be taught in a certain way as a member of that race, not as an individual with special preferences and needs. These phrases are evident throughout the Blueprint for Maryland's Future and are the new fad of the day in teacher education.
Ant-racism: It's no longer enough NOT to be racist, one has to be anti-racist which means you must constantly speak out about possible racism. Anti-racism is the creation of Marxist Ibram X. Kendi, who decided that everyone needs to spend every minute of the day talking about racial disparities. But those disparities only go in one direction according to Ibram. If one cannot find racism, they must create it. In the classroom, it means forcing white kids to decry and apologize merely for the color of their skin. It is one of the foundations of Critical Race Theory and is extremely divisive and dangerous. For example, a friend relayed a recent incident at a local private school. Several boys (all White) were playing in a classroom and one of the boys jumped over a desk. His friend laughed and called him "a monkey." Immediately, the woke virtue signaling (and obviously anti-racist) principal of this school conducted a special training with the boys on racism. Apparently, using the word "monkey" is racist and must be stopped. At USC in California, the term "field" will no longer be used because the anti-racist lobby said it had racist connotations. This is Kendi's vision in practice.
Restorative Discipline: This is another one of those terms that sounds so nice. Who can argue about using discipline to "restore" students and make them all better and non-violent? Of course, it does nothing of the kind. It coddles students who are chronic bad actors, never gives them consequences, and creates a generation of entitled violent students who feel empowered to terrorize other students. What is truly frightening is that now legislatures have codified it. Parents of students in our local school system are so worried about these "restored" students that they are instructing their children not to make eye contact or speak to other students lest they be attacked. This is what restorative discipline has gotten us in Maryland: Teen accused of stabbing student at Lansdowne High School faces attempted murder charge | WBFF (foxbaltimore.com) Mother speaks out after daughter violent attack recorded in Baltimore Co. school | WBFF (foxbaltimore.com)
MTSS- Multi-tiered Systems of Supports: This is another phrase that sounds so good. What could possibly go wrong with providing needy children with all the supports they need? Here is the difference between RTI (Response to Intervention) and MTSS: RTI and MTSS | The Difference Between RTI and MTSS | Understood The key phrase repeated in MTSS is "whole child." Schools used to focus on the academics of the child, MTSS now extends their mission to cover all aspects of a child's life. Again, it sounds good and is well intentioned, but it is like most public programs, it will overstep its boundaries. It won't be cost effective to throw millions of dollars and many new employees just to provide services to a few students; they will create "make work" practices that will find problems with children where none exist. As an example, consider that between 2016-2017 the number of gender changing surgeries in the U.S. quadrupled for females. (IRREVERSIBLE DAMAGE, Abigail Shrier). While counselors and indoctrination may not account for all of it, their constant counseling on gender confusion certainly encouraged it. Parents need to know about this strategy and how it is being used with their children.
Comprehensive Sexual (or Sex) Education: You probably remember what sex education USED to be. It was taught by your 9th grade Health or a Phys Ed teacher and was taught to boys and girls who were separated into same gender groups. The topics were basic information about gender and sex and how NOT to get an STD or get pregnant. At some point this was changed. First they changed the grade at which it is taught, moving it from 9th grade to as early as fifth grade. And they changed the content from basic biology of how things work to how to achieve sexual gratification. Here is one of the first bills considered in the Maryland House of Delegates this session: HB 199 Requiring the State Department of Education, in collaboration with the Maryland Department of Health, to develop a comprehensive health education framework; requiring each county board of education to create an age-appropriate curriculum that is consistent with the comprehensive health education framework; requiring each county board to establish a method by which a parent or guardian may opt out of certain topics, subject to certain requirements; etc. MD HB119 | 2023 | Regular Session | LegiScan While the sex education curriculum has been on the agenda for at least a year, the fact that this bill is one of the first up in the new session is concerning. For one thing, it seems the state has taken the choice away from your local school system as to what to teach and when to teach it. You can find the curriculum here: Maryland Comprehensive Health and Sex Education Curriculum - Search (bing.com) Not all of this curriculum is troublesome. But parents have real concerns about some portions of the curriculum that deals with "vaginal, oral and anal sex" being taught to children as young as fifth grade. There are also sections that foist sexual and gender orientations on children as young as in Kindergarten. While the Kindergarten lessons are not graphic or sexually explicit, they lead young children to consider sexual orientation and how it relates to family life. And, while parents can "opt out" of having their child participate, the State is setting up various hoops for parents to jump through to get that opt out. What is most concerning is that this Maryland Framework is sourced from the National Sex Education Standards which is authored and sponsored by some suspicious advocacy groups. One of them is: SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change. If you go to their website, you will see that the objective is "Sex Should Be for All." They include descriptions of " Masturbation May" and "SIECUS Condemns Florida Rule Restricting K-3 Teachers from Discussing Gender Identity and Sexuality." Another sponsoring group of the National Sex Education Framework are GLSEN (Homepage | GLSEN). Others are shown below. There are NO Parents' Rights or Religious Groups listed. No surprise.
En Loco Parentis/Confidentiality/Informed Consent vs. Implied Consent: Of all the language, parents should know these phrases and how they have been altered. En Loco Parentis: Here is an explanation: In Loco Parentis - Definition, Examples, Requirements (legaldictionary.net) Some educators are misusing this phrase to claim that they have the right to make all decisions for children in school in place of parents. This is how they justify hiding a child's decision to become transgender from a parent OR give a child a vaccine without parental approval. Some counties, such as Montgomery County, Maryland have openly ruled that parents DO NOT have the right to know the gender decisions and treatments of their child. Confidentiality is also a word that has a new meaning regarding minor children. It used to be that this meant that only the parents and school officials could possibly have access to a child's records. Now, a parent may actually have to do a special request to get their child's records and those records may have some information redacted by educators. Informed consent vs. implied consent: Informed consent; While implied consent is informal, informed consent is a legal term that requires certain elements to be valid. The individual is competent and can understand what they’re consenting to. For example, a minor* may not give informed consent. Second, the individual is making the decision voluntarily — i.e., no one is forcing them to do so. For example, no one is telling a parent that without certain conditions, a child may not participate in school activities or even go to school. Third, the parent has received sufficient information to make a decision. For instance, a parent knows which activities their child will participate in and the possible consequences or long-term effects of those activities. Alternative activities are given. Informed consent is important with Covid vaccines at school. Principles of implied consent would include: 1. Having common or general knowledge on the activities their child would participate in at school. 2). No formal agreement allowing a child to participate in certain activities 3.) The presence of nonverbal communication (parent brings child to school). 4. Refusal of allowing child to participate in certain activities is not apparent. Implied consent is very common in health care. This is why opting out of certain classes and even school or class surveys is so important. When a parent doesn't opt out, the school assume implied consent for their child to participate. *Maryland law allows minors to consent to certain treatments;
It is vital that parents know the distinction between all these phrases and their definitions since many of them have changed over the past ten years.
I started out talking about the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel and how God forced rebellious groups to speak different languages and spread out in the world in order to keep them from thinking they were almighty God.
Surely, schools and government are not God, but they do construct their programs and literature to squash parent movements by confusing people with acronyms and changing language. In order for parents to have a chance at having a say in their child's education, they need to know what they are saying and understand what it means. This won't be the last time we have to redefine things, because Progressives disguise their programs all the time.
They will continue to throw things at us every single day. And God has NOTHING to do with that. But, parents need to educate themselves, ask questions, and fight back before it is too late.
Or maybe they can find an alternative: Record number of Maryland students chose homeschooling in 2022 | WBFF (foxbaltimore.com)
Questions to ask about student data:
Groups that sponsor and support the National Sex Education Standards:
Jan Greenhawk, Editor/Writer, Radio Free Oxford
January 16, 2023
© Janet L. Greenhawk and Radio Free Oxford, 2023. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janet L. Greenhawk and Radio Free Oxford with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Jan can be reached at: Jan417@radiofreeoxford.com