Thursday, May 08, 2014

How I was right in my post about 5 things to consider before putting your homeschooled student into regular high school - it's actually worse than I thought!

Last May I wrote a post entitled "5 Things to Consider Before Putting your Homeschooled Student into Regular High School." 

My second point was:
2. Mom and Dad will no longer control the curriculum. Oh, there can be meetings with the teachers and principal and maybe there will be attempts to sway the school board from time to time if things get too out of hand, but for the most part, you won't know what's in the novels that are assigned (because for the most part, they won't be classics that you're familiar with!) and you won't know what's being presented in class that's NOT on the syllabus.
One of my friends was buying a book for her daughter that she needed for a literature class. While waiting in line, she opened the book and started reading about a pretty explicit sex act! She had no clue something like that was going to be covered in class at this particular Catholic School.

One blogger took me to taskstating that my post was full of fallacies and lies  and allowed open attacks in her com section.



 This one stands out:
Emphasis mine.
2. Parents have access to all established curricula. Many schools, mine included, also use the Internet to communicate current homework, class notes, and study guides. Also, while control is lost, knowledge is not. Her example of the mother at the Catholic school who “started reading about a pretty explicit sex act” in a literature book definitely pushed my buttons. Not only does Elena fail to explain which text, but the mere existence of a sexual act in literature is not reason to toss the book out. If it were, Shakespeare’s plays, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and THE BIBLE would all be inappropriate. I teach The Kite Runner, for example, and it includes a scene of rape. The scene is not gratuitous, nor is it exceptionally graphic, and it is definitely not titillating or erotic. Why teach a book that mentions rape? Because it deals with the very real issues of political unrest, racism, and power struggles in the modern Middle East – all of which students, especially Christian students, need to explore. It is not the only option for exploring this, but after reading the entire book (and other books dealing with similar issues), my department came to the conclusion that this book was the best option for achieving these goals. However, if Elena or the mother in question had simply opened to that scene and read it without context, she could easily disparage it as “a pretty explicit sex act,” misleading readers because she didn’t take the time to fully explore the curriculum that she is so afraid of losing control over. (If The Kite Runner is too modern for those reading, replace it with my classic examples above; the references to sex acts in those are often more explicit.) 
There are certainly things discussed that aren’t captured on the syllabus, but there’s that fear, again. I told my parents about school on a regular basis, as do most of my students (based upon what I hear back from their parents). This is another chance to have discussions about how to navigate a world outside of the family unit, how to put faith into action. Elena comes across as so panicked that she cannot even fathom allowing her children to hear the ideas of others, which makes her argument even less viable.
*************
Fallacy - a mistaken belief, especially one based on unsound argument.


This week, a father was arrested from his local school board meeting for objecting to a passage from the book, Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult.




The father, William Baer, explained it this way: 
Baer tells EAGnews he became aware of the book’s objectionable material purely by chance. A family friend was visiting last Wednesday and talking to Baer’s 14-year-old daughter about how things were going in school. When she mentioned that she’d just been assigned the novel, the friend picked up the book and casually opened it to page 313 which contains a very graphic description of a sexual encounter between two adolescents. The friend was aghast as he read the passage, and asked Baer if he was aware of the book’s content.
“I was shocked when I read the passage, and not much shocks me anymore,” Baer says. “My wife was stunned by the increasingly graphic nature of the sexual content of the scene and the imagery it evoked.”

So just to be clear, this father lost not only control over what his daughter was reading, but had no knowledge of it either.

Oh, and it wasn't great literature -  Here's an explicit clip and warning, it is explicit.







“‘Relax,’ Matt murmured, and then he sank his teeth into her shoulder. He pinned her hands over her head and ground his hips against hers. She could feel his erection, hot against her stomach.
” … She couldn’t remember ever feeling so heavy, as if her heart were beating between her legs. She clawed at Matt’s back to bring him closer.
“‘Yeah,’ he groaned, and her pushed her thighs apart. And then suddenly Matt was inside her, pumping so hard that she scooted backward on the carpet, burning the backs of her legs. … (H)e clamped his hand over her mouth and drove harder and harder until Josie felt him come.


“Semen, sticky and hot, pooled on the carpet beneath her.”

At the risk of being accused of "taking it out of context" I have the book on my Kindle and I'll give it a fair chance to see if there is any type of redeemable context in which this could be the "best option for achieving these goals" of dealing with "very real issues."

Unless that issue is carpet cleaning I am at a loss as to how these passages are edifying and uplifting to 14-year-old high school students.

I've rebutted the rebuttals before. See here for my first rebuttal.

And also this one where I was also  vindicated. 


Addendum:  The knee jerk reaction is probably, "not at my school"  My friend who noted a sexually explicit passage in her daughter's book had her enrolled in an all girl's Catholic School down the road from me.

I also found that 19 minutes is showing up as required reading in other districts:
An EAGnews investigation finds that Picoult’s “Nineteen Minutes” is used in several school districts throughout the nation.
California’s Sobrato High School includes the novel on its “9th Grade Advanced Common Core” recommended reading list.
Pennsylvania’s Deer Lakes High School includes the book in its “Advanced Academic English II” class.
G.W. Hewlett High School in New York has made the novel part of its summer reading list for incoming 11thgraders. The district, however, does caution parents that some of the books on the list contain “mature” language and content.

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