Any good community organizer knows an effective protest requires two things: a bully to excoriate and a catchy slogan that resonates in the public mind.
Even though most protestors are â€œuncomplicatedâ€ people, donâ€™t be deceived; staging an effective rally is not a simple task.
First, a bully must be identified. For progressives, a bully is anybody who disagrees with you politically, so there is no shortage of candidates. However, as Saul Alinskyâ€™s â€œRules for Radicalsâ€ explains, itâ€™s best to settle on one target to isolate and attack.
Next, protestors need to come up with a catchy slogan to shout at the designated bully. Most people donâ€™t have the Rev. Jesse Jacksonâ€™s â€œgiftâ€ of reducing complex ideas into simplistic rhymes. This skill must be taught.
Which brings us to this weekâ€™s installment of the Indoctrination Fridays series: Gender doesnâ€™t limit you â€“ A research-based anti-bullying program for the early grades.
This charming six-part lesson plan is designed to stamp out (mostly) gender-based bullying from Pre-K all the way through 6th grade.
Most readers will agree that bullying is a problem and that teachers should talk to students about it in a thoughtful, reasonable manner.
But thought and reason are totally absent from the â€œGender doesnâ€™t limit youâ€ lesson plans, which only provide children with a designated slogan to shout at suspected bullies.
Hereâ€™s an example from Lesson 4 â€“ Biased Judgments:
To start the lesson, teachers are instructed to tell students that, â€œSometimes one group of kids thinks that they are better at something than another group because of their gender.â€
The teacher then tells students that whenever someone makes a highly offensive remark such as â€œboys are better at soccer than girls,â€ they should tell the offender, â€œGive it a rest. No group is best.â€
Since repetition is crucial to the learning process, the plan provides teachers with four scenarios to read to students. After each one the class is instructed to shout, â€œGive it a rest. No group is best.â€
Hereâ€™s one of the scenarios from Lesson 4:
(Teacher): â€œPaul and Vanessa are baking cookies together. Vanessa says that girls are better at baking than boys. What do we tell Vanessa? One, two, three GO!â€
(Class): "Give it a rest, no group is best."
Thatâ€™s the extent of the lesson. Identify a bully (doesnâ€™t that Vanessa sound like a monster?), give the kids a slogan to shout, and practice with a few scenarios.
Itâ€™s like that for each lesson, although the quality of the slogans varies. Hereâ€™s a Cliffâ€™s Notes version of the lesson plans:
For the â€œPeer Exclusionâ€ lesson, kids are instructed that â€œnot letting someone play with you just because of their gender is called bullyingâ€¦.â€ Applicable slogan: â€œYou canâ€™t say, â€˜Boys/Girls canâ€™t play.â€™â€
For the â€œRole Exclusionâ€ lesson, students are told that, â€œBoys and girls can have any job they want to, or do any activities that they want.â€ If some insensitive lout attempts to define gender roles in the childrenâ€™s presence, they are to say, â€œNot true! Gender doesnâ€™t limit you.â€
And so it goes for six lessons. Some of the remaining slogans include â€œThat's weird! Being boys and girls doesn't matter here" and â€œI disagree! Sexism is silly to me.â€
As you can see, the quality of the sloganeering fades with each lesson.
You can also see the â€œlessonsâ€ arenâ€™t designed to develop critical thought or meaningful classroom discussions. In fact, the researchers who designed these lessons brag that â€œteaching students catchphrases to interrupt gender bullyingâ€ is far more effective than â€œusing literature to challenge gender stereotypes.â€
What this curriculum seems best designed for is to teach kids thereâ€™s a bully around every corner and the best way to handle him (and you just know itâ€™s a â€œhimâ€) is to shout clever slogans. Sure, the kids whose school careers are frittered away with such tripe might not be prepared to enter the competitive world of work or college. But rest assured, these kids will know what to do when a bully like Scott Walker or Chris Christie tries to take away their seat on the governmentâ€™s gravy train. Thatâ€™s right, these lesson plans will produce some wonderful union activists someday. http://townhall.com/columnists/kyleolson/2011/07/22/students_chant_for_genderless_society/page/full/