We interrupt this Denial Festival with an important announcement from Reality:
I just got home from a Utah State School Board Meeting – my last. Why, you ask? I’ll tell you why. As a Utah parent, represented by said board, I have become irrelevant. Thanks to the higher paying “stakeholders” in Utah education, Delphi techniques of shutting out opposing dialog, and the new, high-tech, spineless, and anonymous digitalized voting for the Board, my place in the line-up of “stakeholders” in my own children’s and future grandchildren’s education is now dead last.
Thank you, Senator Howard Stephenson, for reiterating ad nauseum that the problem with less than “complete fidelity” to your technology “master plan” is poor implementation by teachers. If you’re a Star Trek fan and are familiar with the alien collective Borg, the translation of “complete fidelity” is actually “resistance is futile”. Minus points, Senator Stephenson, for your lack of originality in excuses. Every despotic central planner in the last century has pointed to poor implementation, when confronted with pesky human nature and its desire for self determination.
Mental health issues are brought to you by Representative Steve Eliason, asking for a mere $1 million in our multi billion dollar state budget – to help prevent suicide. It was at this point in the meeting that I had to look up the word aneurysm to make sure I wasn’t having one.
Let me get this straight Representative Eliason: you want to spend $1 million to help kids in mental health crisis, when the state of Utah has spent $39 million in the last 3 years to develop a testing system so onerous, that kids are stressed to the max about their schooling? Neck braces, anyone? So, to clear up my whiplash – which is our priority – to spend money TO mess up our kids by testing them every other day, or to spend money to clean up those messes?
I got out of the madness of public education by nothing but sheer Providential intervention, and have run a private Suzuki piano studio for the better part of 31 years. I have had more children break down at their piano lessons, weeping at the stress that has become their lives, in the last 2-3 years, than in all the preceding years. WEEKLY. I have CHILDREN weeping in frustration and stress – at their piano lessons! And as I try to coach them as to how they can fit their practicing into their lives, and they outline their weekly schedule for me, I weep with them. These children are not being allowed to live the lives of children any more. Talk about selling your birthright for a mess of pottage…
The saddest aspect of leading this segment with suicide prevention is that it is such a legitimate concern. How typical for those wishing to pass radical and sweeping changes to lead with emotion, which fuzzies the lines of logic afterwards. It is still not widely known that programs with names like “suicide prevention”, and “anti-bullying” have become emotional fronts for an aggressive Comprehensive Sexuality Education curriculum, which was shot down in the Utah House Education Committee last year. It is now sneaking through a side door via the Utah State School Board, the draconian entity formerly known as the Utah State Office of Education.
By “deeming” themselves part of the elected representative board with this new moniker, and by slipping sexuality education into the one-sided and parentless discussion of mental health and cultural concerns, the “Board” slipped in a whopper of a vote at the last minute in this segment of the now nearly three-hour meeting. The carefully orchestrated transition was nearly seamless and imperceptible, introduced by a charming, disarming, young Latino teacher with concerns that needed school counselors would not be “culturally proficient”. The discussion moved from “cultural” to “sexual” nearly in the same breath, and served as the perfect segue for the $64 question: “Oh, Board… would you rather that we:
1. Keep current health standards and just reformat? (no content change)
2. Prepare supplementary materials to add to current curriculum, to address “new” health risks – with a focus on mental health and suicide prevention? (price tag – $5000)
3. Create brand new health standards K-6 to address these new risks? (price tag – $68K)
4. Scrap ALL standards, K-12 and do a “comprehensive” revision? (price tag – $140K)
One board member immediately voted for Option 4. Without any discussion, the digital voting occurred, and there sat the irrelevant parents, as a faceless board hid behind their keyboards, and digitally, voted unanimously to not just let the CSE camel stick its nose in the tent – oh no! This camel has just taken up residence in the tent.
And parents? That tent happens to be where you used to raise your children. A vote was taken this evening that was a very necessary, important first step to even further diminishing your role in your children’s lives.
This Message Brought to You By: Laureen Simper