No-Place-for-Hate sounds like an innocuous, generic series of lessons and policies for public school students that possibly teach students manners or social skills. It seems like the type of program that promotes everyone just getting along. No-Place-for-Hate is a course with premade activities and lessons prepared by the Anti-Defamation League, which was recently partially implemented by Alvin ISD (Read MyPearlandNew’s copy of the No-Place-for-Hate guidebook that was distributed to AISD educators). And a quick review of the guidebook for the program shows it is mostly harmless and promotes subjects such as no bullying in schools.
However, the coursework includes some interesting activities that some parents might find problematic. While other parents might view it as educators pushing a political agenda on children as young as kindergarten level. An Alvin ISD administrator recently spoke with MyPearlandNews under an agreement of anonymity. This administrator claimed that outgoing superintendent Dr. Buck Gilcrease essentially edited and censored the coursework of the ADL’s program to remove controversial lessons that might upset some parents. However, with Alvin ISD hiring a new superintendent in the coming weeks there is an opportunity for a new superintendent to be installed who might welcome the pushing of such political ideas on children.
What kind of ideas are we talking about here? How about teaching kindergarten children the horrors of gender stereotypes. It is well known that persons defer to the judgment of fellow ingroup members. As such teachers are instructed to show a video of a kindergarten student “Riley” explaining that is ok for boys to wear pink and play with princess dolls while girls play with boy toys. The assignment itself challenges the students to see matters in gender-neutral terms. The ADL calls for teachers to
“Point out that there really is no such thing as a girl’s or boy’s toy, that all children can potentially like dolls, toy soldiers, strollers, teddy bears, baseball and Legos. Ask students: Why is it important that children feel comfortable playing with whatever they would like to play with? Explain that stereotyping impacts children’s ability to explore different parts of themselves, and it can limit their opportunities.” (- ADL form Gender and Toys) … Students are taught not to let gender get in the way of what toys to play with. It’s like Riley suggested if boys want to be princesses in pink that’s fine… The ADL goes on to suggest teachers call on students based on gender to make sure both genders are speaking up in class and to refer to students with gender-neutral terms. The ADL even suggests interfering with play time by having female students play on a workbench instead of a make-believe kitchen. Students are then to be taught about the “allowance gap,” which is an argument that boys get more allowance than girls. Teaching gender issues to Pre-K and Kindergarten students is not new. Many organizations other than the ADL produce materials for classes such as this video series made for young children called Queer Kid Stuff. Could such materials be used in an AISD classroom under a new more progressive superintendent?
Wondering what older students are taught? High School Teachers are trained to promote the importance of Kolin Kaepernick heroic protest against the NFL. Older students are taught to use art to explore social justice. Teachers are taught to not wait for students to bring up how they differ from each other regarding such things as race. But rather start a conversation and point out the students’ differences.
It will be interesting to see how the classroom content of AISD changes as its board of trustee’s look for a new superintendent. The AISD administrator who spoke with MyPearlandNews said the superintendent is essentially the CEO of the school district, whose political leanings might affect the instruction. Will AISD hire a liberal progressive superintendent interested in social justice projects? Or, will AISD hirer a conservative superintendent? It’s up to the board. Should the board be unable to find a superintendent before the May election, a new school board might be swept in by this coming election who could possibly restart the search process. This creates the May 2019 AISD election to be a chance for liberals to take control of AISD and bring in new ideas. Will AISD kindergarten classrooms remain traditional or will they morph into more progressive children’s classes like the recently released Radical Cram School which takes an intersectional approach to early childhood education.