Sunday, April 18, 2010


Friday has been designated a Day of Silence in most of the nation’s schools by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). On April 16, many high school (and some middle school) students won’t speak during the day in order to show solidarity with gay classmates.

This now-annual event raises a plethora of questions about student rights and the role public schools should play vis-à-vis controversial political and social agendas.

There would be little to object to if the Day of Silence were only dedicated to the proposition that students shouldn’t be subjected to slurs of any kind—racial, religious, ethnic, or sexual. In my twenty years in the classroom I enforced this no-slur policy across the board.

GLSEN and similar organizations, however, aren’t merely anti-defamation leagues. Rather, they have broader political agendas that concern fundamental social issues about which there is deep public disagreement—a fact illustrated in spades by the passionate debate on California’s Proposition 8.

The question that arises for school administrators is how to respond to these “silent” student demonstrations. Do they ignore them, discourage them, or facilitate and build upon them?

Given the fact that the California Teachers Association gave 1.3 million dollars to the “No on 8” campaign, it is safe to assume that most public schools will be inclined to take the “facilitation” route—with some teachers seizing upon this “teachable moment” to further indoctrinate students with their own Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgender vision of society.

This vision, more implicit than explicit, includes the conviction that sexual orientation is purely a genetic given and that male-female households are no more beneficial to children and society than households or relationships of any other sexual configuration.

The fairly obvious truth, however, is that children benefit from male-female domestic models and that human sexual expression is a matter of gradations—not a function of gay-straight absolutes. Gradations, however, aren’t congenial to folks who place sexual activity in the same black-white categories as race.

Accordingly, the label “bisexual” is regularly employed by youngsters posting at GLSEN’s blog to lend an aura of genetic inevitability to actions once termed promiscuous.

Most public schools, I’m confident, would give absolutely no support to a student-led “Day of Silence” that defended the “silent scream” rights of an unborn child. Indeed, many administrators would likely cooperate with the ACLU to prohibit—like student prayers at graduation—the overt expression of these “religious” beliefs.

Parents who object to having public schools promote a GLBT social agenda should think seriously about keeping their kids home from school on Friday—especially if administrators aren’t forthcoming about their “Day of Silence” plans.

Friday, April 02, 2010


Recently a Los Angeles TV station announced that California lottery sales were down and efforts were afoot to boost this flagging source of state revenue--last year netting about a billion dollars.

That’s just the thing, I thought. Let’s tempt folks who can’t afford it to fork over more cash on the 15-million-to-one chance that their tickets will catapult them (and lift California) out of a deep recession.

Never mind that Californians overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 1C last year—with over two-thirds of San Diego and Riverside County voters saying no to expanding and borrowing against state-sponsored gaming enterprises. Apparently the geniuses in Sacramento still wish to find a way to up the lottery ante and increase the number of Golden State chumps.

On the other side of Easy Street are those who tout marijuana legalization as a significant economic boon to our debt-ridden state. This proposition, if passed, will at least have the advantage of dulling the senses of those who imagine that the road to governmental solvency is a one-way avenue that only requires a bit of chemical stimulus and legal flexibility—no downside scenarios permitted.

Such “budget solutions” are typical of the “anything painless” mentality that’s gotten California into a mess that lawmakers seem incapable of addressing realistically. Other versions of this mindset involve proposals to increase taxes on unpopular industries under the delusional assumption that one can have a continuous stream of golden goose eggs while strangling the fowl for dinner.

It never occurs to these folks that making an unfavorable business climate even more unfavorable isn’t a recipe for job creation--except for jobs in the burgeoning public sector.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich recently hosted a “jobs summit” in Irvine at which he offered various policy proposals: a two-year cut in payroll taxes, allowing small businesses to expense 100% of new equipment purchases, cutting the capital gains tax rate.

One might criticize these Washington-focused suggestions for exhibiting (from the other side of the political fence) the same “no pain” mentality demonstrated by last year’s massive $787 billion stimulus program. All gain and no pain.

Assuming that Gingrich’s pro-business proposals would be more effective than the President’s “Porkulus” approach, tax reductions of this magnitude would still need to be combined with serious budget cuts to avoid a fiscal train wreck.

Fortunately, California doesn’t have the authority to borrow and spend the state into prosperity—or rather, into oblivion. A truly pro-business, pro-jobs policy can’t simply be put on a gargantuan IOU and debited to future generations. It can only be implemented in conjunction with honest fiscal discipline.

Don’t bet on it.