50 Shades of Pretending to Protect Kids from Porn

Tomorrow, June 30, the Utah State Board of Education will debate this issue: What is the best way to prevent pornographic materials in the school?

Two model policies have been proposed with two different visions on how to achieve this goal.

The first version is called the Master Merged Draft, and it allows Utah’s 42-plus districts to create 42-plus different interpretations of how the law should be followed.

The second version is called Member Cline’s Sensitive Material Model Policy Draft 3.5. It helps protect the districts from lawsuits by requiring them to use a uniform policy based strictly on Utah laws defining and prohibiting obscene materials.

When you read these two policies, here are some key questions to keep in mind:

First:
Does this policy really hold districts accountable to do the right thing? The reason the issue of porn in our kids’ schools has come before the State Board is because the districts refuse to police themselves when it comes to removing explicit materials from school settings. Here are just a few of the many examples of this happening In Utah schools:

8th Grade Student Encounters Sexually Explicit Material in Health Class
Canyons School District Puts Obscene Content Back on Book Shelves
Laverna in the Library – Facebook Group Focused on Explicit Material Sightings in Schools
Davis School District Keeps “Red Hood” in Schools
Pornographic Materials in Schools Inspire 2020 Bill to Create Porn Warning Labels on Books
Parents Plea With Washington County School District to Remove Pornographic Material

The Master Merged Draft says that a district could determine for itself if it did the right thing in retaining explicit materials. The only oversight the State Board would have is to evaluate whether a district followed its own process or not in that determination, not whether that determination actually complied with the law.

By stark contrast, Member Cline’s Sensitive Material Model Policy Draft 3.5 requires the State Board to act as a check on the districts’ decisions to retain explicit materials. A complaint about explicit material itself could be appealed to the board directly, ensuring that the Board would have to keep a finger on the pulse of what is actually happening in our children’s schools.

We don’t need 50 Shades of Pretending to Protect Kids from Porn—we need the State Board to actually follow through and create a single system that will allow them to hold the districts accountable to the law.

pexels-dayan-rodio-4132936

Second: What does the Utah Office of the Attorney General (AGO) have to say about pornographic materials in schools?

The AGO in its Official Memorandum—Laws Surrounding School Libraries stated unequivocally that one of the first actions districts can take is to immediately remove books from school libraries that are “categorically defined as pornography” under state law, and that “nothing should prevent the Board and LEAs from proactively complying with state law in removing pornographic books from library shelves.”

The Master Merged Draft allows children to have limited access to harmful materials with “parent permission” or an “access code” (lines 84-87). Giving ANY access to children to porn is AGAINST THE LAW. Parents can’t let their kids have access to alcohol with their permission. They can’t let their kids have access to illicit drugs with their permission. But this draft produced by the board staff and some Members gives kids access to what may clearly be deemed pornographic—with parent permission.

Compare this to Member Cline’s Policy Draft, which removes the material until a final determination on the material’s obscene status is made. Under no circumstances should children be allowed to be exposed to harmful material when another, safer option is available. Member Cline’s draft puts guardrails at the top of the cliff, instead of ambulances at the bottom.

If you care at all about real protections for our kids from sexually explicit and obscene images and language, your voice is needed NOW. HB374 was passed by the state legislature this year to supposedly “stop porn in our schools.”

Only one draft before the State Board of Education in their June 30 meeting unapologetically puts our children first. Your support is needed for such a time as this.

Wokeness Dumbs Down Education and Messes with Mental Health

The Utah Education and Mental Health Coordinating Council went spectacularly off the rails Wednesday, June 8.

Presenters pulled out all the stops to transform education and mental health practices and operations into a Woke circus of centralized planning antics gone unchecked.

Video with commentary on highlights of DSAMH study of "unfair" Systems [Rumble.com]

Lowlights included the following:

It was a busy day for busybodies.

 

This video features excerpts from DSAMH’s overblown and wasteful study that advocates in the name of “inclusivity” for:

  • Creating “culturally relevant medical licensure” for BIPOC populations
  • More images of same-sex couples in state mental health facilities
  • Ways of affirming minors’ gender dysphoria without their parents’ knowledge

Equity: One of CRT’s many disguises in our schools

When people use the word “equity” it’s because they want whatever they’re associating it with to sound “fair.” But when it comes to racial matters, equity is the opposite of fairness. Equity in practice means discriminating in the name of ending discrimination. It’s hardly fair, but that doesn’t stop those who believe in inflicting social justice on others in the name of equity from trying to disguise it as a positive thing. 

Granite School District created two documents on equity. The first document is a Q&A on Race and Curriculum, created in September of 2021, based on the Utah State Board’s controversial R277-328 Educational Equity rule.  In this document the district emphasizes the topics that shouldn’t be included in classroom discussion, and stresses the need for teachers to present racial topics in an “unbiased” and “balanced” manner. According to district emails, the Q&A was distributed to teachers to “get ahead of parent complaints or teacher ‘gotchas.'”

Q&A on Race and Curriculum

From the document it almost seems like the district is at least attempting an even-handed approach at racial issues. But before we pat GSD on the back, let’s pull aside the curtain to see what was being communicated to educators through more private channels. 

In August 2021, one month before Granite’s Q&A on Race Curriculum hit teachers’ inboxes, the district put out one of many “educational equity” newsletters containing a link to this Racial Equity Educational Resources Resource Toolkit for School Staff, which walks teachers along the process of promoting equity activism to students through classroom activities, curriculum and instruction, etc.

Racial Equity Educational Resource Toolkit for School Staff

If you click through the links, it’s clear Granite’s Educational Equity department wants teachers to embed racialized viewpoints, topics, and approaches into every aspect of curriculum and instruction. 

Social Justice “Standards”? Yes, they’re a thing. And not a good thing, either, unless you’re all about cultural Marxist conformity.

Does any kid prefer learning all about White Rage and Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome to, say, dodgeball?

Any pretense at balanced, non-biased pedagogy has simply disappeared. In its place is a race-obsessed, non-academic how-to manual on social justice activism and woke groupthink. 

The question isn’t IF Critical Race Theory is being taught in Utah schools. The question is if schools can continue to disguise that they’re doing it.

Check out AIM’s Exclusive Videos on Rumble.com

We’re glad to be adding some video content on Rumble to our coverage of education in Utah. There’s no shortage of material to cover, but we hope to find more opportunity to shed light on the unique challenges families face when it comes to crucial issues in our schools, including woke ideas and practices, protecting educational freedom, and increasing parental involvement and voice in every aspect of a child’s learning.

Explicit Materials in Schools – the Fight at the Utah State Board of Education

The nationwide spotlight on illicit and explicit materials in our kids’ schools has been shining on Utah particularly lately, culminating in Representative Ken Ivory’s Sensitive Materials in Schools bill, HB374 That bill passed in March 2022, and now the ball is in the state Board’s court. 

Explicit Materials in Schools
The Battle at the Utah State Board of Education

What you’re listening to is comment on the current battle over what kinds of explicit materials the state will allow kids in schools to be subjected to.

Two competing policies on school materials go head-to-head this Friday May 5 in the USBE Law & Licensing Committee at 9:00am.

Read both policies for yourself: Member Cline’s draft vs. Member Lear’s draft 

Only one of these policies creates whole-system accountability for explicit materials in schools.

Only one of these policies provides a fair, detailed process for considering and reviewing materials according to Utah law.

Only one of these policies protects kids from materials that should never have been on the bookshelves in the first place.

Contact Board members Matt Hymas, Randy Boothe, Carol Lear, Natalie Cline, and Cindy Davis to let them know that they should support Member Cline’s draft if they support safeguarding children.

Utah Assistant Attorney General memo to Utah school districts on library materials:

Memo to LEAS on Laws Surrounding School Libraries

The Simple Art of Learning

How many policies, instructors, programs, assessments, assignments, data-driven reports, curricular plans, learning strategies, professional development trainings, standards, dollars, modules, organizations, procedures, surveys, etc. (you get the picture) does it take to teach a child to read the word “CAT?”

The Simple Art of learning, original presentation, March 10, 2022, given to Utah state Board of Education by board member Natalie cline

In today’s education landscape, an overwhelming amount, apparently. And even then, let’s just say that Little Sally being able to master the alphabet and feeling joy doing so isn’t something our school system can necessarily guarantee. Why is that?

In the March 10, 2022 Utah State Board of Education meeting, Member Natalie Cline proposed her own theory on why our public education system misses the mark.

It’s not because educators are underpaid (in Utah, teachers’ average salaries are actually 1.4% higher than the average salaries of all other occupations). It’s not because we don’t have enough specialists or experts or technology. And it’s definitely not because we don’t have access to curriculum, data, infrastructure, or other instructional resources. If anything, we’ve got such a linear increase in of all these things that even farm rabbits on speed dating night would struggle to compete.

It’s conventional wisdom that sometimes you can have too much of a good thing, as Shakespeare pointed out. And sometimes you can have too much of a bad thing. Either way, it’s too much. Too many cooks spoil the broth. Too many chiefs, not enough Indians. There’s truth in these sayings, and we’re seeing this truth exposed in our public schools today. When we see something that needs doing, the modern impulse is often to overdo it, to overcompensate. Very rarely do we sit back, clear our minds, fill our lungs with fresh air, and ask the question, “Can less be more?” Simplification is not a science, it’s an art. It’s never easy. And it requires asking tough questions. 

 

The Simple Art of learning, full presentation, by natalie cline

Natalie Cline is on to something in her plea for simplicity. Her presentation, entitled “The Simple Art of Learning,” makes the case for addition by subtraction in a number of ways in our schools. In our zeal to analyze, measure, and micromanage every aspect of a child’s life, from cradle to career, we’re managing to cripple the natural, boundless, and intuitive process of learning that people have managed to manage for centuries–without the compulsion of cookie-cutter assessments, curriculum, or centralized planning.

Watch the presentation. Our kids are struggling more than ever under the ever-increasing Frankensteinian “science” of formalized instruction. It’s time we pull the plug on the educational experiment that has reduced our kids’ lives to something unnatural and almost unrecognizable.

 

SUMMIT is peak awful: Davis School District needs to back down

In trying to figure our Summit Learning I have followed the money and found how Big Tech is seeking influence, market share and greater control in public schools while forcing schools to rely on their unproven learning platforms.  

  1. Basically, Gates Foundation set out a working definition of ‘Personalized Learning’ using computer platforms in 2014.
  2. Funded by Big Tech donors “Personalized Learning” has been aggressively marketed at every level of education as the hot new thing. (nobody can even define it)
  3. Big Tech funds lobbying organizations who do market research and extensive, systematic lobbying at the federal and state level.  These organizations include iNICOL.org, LEAP InnovationsCRPE.org and CASEL.org who lobbies for SEL.   In one of their documents CASEL.org seeks 5.5 hours weekly for Social Emotional Learning in a public-school day. (This is at the cost of student learning and instruction time.
  4. Personalized Competency Based Learning (PCBL) is the current push funded by Big Tech.  Of course, learning platforms created and programmed by Big Tech claim they perfectly address, teach and measure PCBL.  At least they say they do, none of the platforms have any evidence or third-party reviews.
  5. In March 2021, HB 181 changed the coded 2011 language from personalized education to adopting the Big Tech language of ‘Personalized Competency Based Learning’. Perfectly aligning with Big Tech marketing and lobbying. (there is no definition of Personalized Learning or Competency-Based Learning it is made up language by Big Tech) Our state believes in PCBL which requires Big Tech platforms, which Big Tech states can measure PCBL.
  6. Also in Utah due to Big Tech marketing and lobbying is USBE’s strategic plan, Utah’s Portrait of a GraduateUtah’s Personalized Competency-Based Learning (PCBL) Grant Program and, most recently, release of Utah’s PCBL Framework and Guide to Education Flexibility in Utah

So, Big Tech created the language and educational ideas. They marketed the heck out of their ideas even though they include poor performing ideas, generating excitement and demand.  They systematically lobbied to get their ideas and language into state policy.  They produced unproven learning platforms to address the educational need they created with their marketing. Taxpayers are paying for poor schooling ideas marketed by Big Tech, accepted by educational leaders without evidence and written into law by legislators. 

Educational terms and ideas marketed by Big Tech 

The list indicates low performing strategies (*) based on Visible Learning by John Hattie, which provides research and synthesis of 800 meta-analyses on the influences on achievement in school aged children. 

  1. Personalized Competency-Based Learning (PCBL) or personalized learning or competency-based learning 
  2. Personalized Digital Learning Platforms, 1:1 learning, one child learning from one computer. *     
  3. Project -Based Learning* 
  4. Child Centered Classrooms* 
  5. Student Directed Learning, Student Lead learning or Student lead Instruction*  
  6. 21st Century Learning (what does this term mean?) 
  7. Social Emotional Learning 
  8. Teacher as facilitator, teacher as mentor or coach* 

We need to say “NO” and get the language changed to clearly defined, actional able, proven educational language for our taxpayer dollar

More Helpful Links

PART I “WHITE” People: CRT Alive and Unwell in Our Schools

Critical Race Theory is the Schrodinger’s cat of public education–it’s both taught and yet somehow not taught in our Utah schools.

That’s the conundrum, isn’t it? How can so many people think a thing exists and yet doesn’t at the same time?

Schrodinger's cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Rather like CRT in our kids' classrooms.

Let’s take a look at that question. For starters, CRT as a “theory” is not taught as a course subject to students. Your kids can sign up for classes with nebulous names like “Math 1” and “Freshman Success” but nothing that’s titled “Critical Race Theory” per se. 

So if CRT is not taught as a theory, is there any other way it may show up in the classroom? Well, like Schrodinger’s cat, the only way CRT’s existence passes from the theoretical to the practical realm is if you open the box and look inside–in this case, the box is the school. 

It’s not an easy box to open. Parents can volunteer in their kids’ classes, but it’s not as if they can be there constantly, observing the totality of their children’s interactions, day in and day out.  Some things are verbalized by teachers or staff in an instant; other things become the topics of discussion or even assignments. Plus the Observer Effect always kicks in–the act of being observed changes what’s being observed, and a teacher may be less inclined to take conversations in certain directions in the presence of a parent. To say that something wasn’t taught at one time in a certain way doesn’t mean it wasn’t taught at another time, in another way. 

This report is the first of a series examining how Critical Race Theory exists in boxes within boxes in Utah’s public school system. It is based on verified accounts and source documents obtained from first-person observers, participants, and government records requests.

Schools: The Innermost Box

In May of 2021, the Utah state legislature issued a resolution on Critical Race Theory in Education prohibiting certain divisive curriculum and standards in the K-12 schools:

Excerpt from Utah state legislative resolution on Critical Race Theory in Education

Despite this legislative directive to the Utah State Board of Education (USBE), a number of accounts of controversial, politicized racial and sexual identity-based incidents continue to occur to this day. Given many schools limiting visitors due to Covid-19 protocols, it’s unlikely that many parents are seeing these displays.

Some of these incidents are evergreen, having no determinable beginning or end, such as racial and sexual identity displays in schools: 

 

School Promotions of Racial/Sexual Diversity, Various Schools, 2021-22

Other instances of CRT in schools are evident in class discussions, class curricula, and training instruction given to teachers:

WHITE PEOPLE! Granite School District teacher at Matheson JR. High presents anti-white, anti-religion version of american History, FeB. 2022 [AUDIO]

Play Video
Play Video

SEL Assignments with racial/sexual/cultural identity focus

Adult Roles and ResponsibilitieS Course via Weber State, Syracuse High Concurrent Enrollment Quiz--gender, race, &sexuality questions, Feb. 2022

project topeka: Social justice/student activism/computer-assessed WRITING Program, Alpine SChool District, UTAH, 2020-22

Project Topeka is an algorithm-based student writing assessment tool funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that provides students mainly activist topics, and then requires the students defend a predetermined side of an argument, using predetermined vocabulary:

Alpine district junior high teacher explains Project Topeka to parents in an email, December 2021

 Alpine School District 7th and 8th graders are given writing samples on how they are expected to argue on each topic; all the exemplars show a strong social justice/CRT bias:

EOS (Equal Opportunity Schools) Advanced Placement & International BaccaLaureate (AP & IB) Equity recruitment, Cyprus High, Granite School District, UTAH 2021-22

EOS Equity handout to AP Ambassador Students, Cyprus High

CRT concepts of equity, diversity, and inclusion are so ubiquitous in our children’s schools in Utah that you can hardly pass a single classroom without seeing some evidence of their influence. These ideas might have race essentialism at their center, but they don’t end at race–the framework of victim/victimizer extends to sexuality, gender identity, religion, culture and more–and all are embedded into instruction, school environments, and teacher training.

Despite the assertions of promoting “inclusion” and “diversity,” it’s plain that these words are defined and implemented in a patently non-inclusive, non-diverse fashion. It’s almost as if every day is Opposite Day at schools that embrace CRT-based equity policies and practices. When inclusion and diversity mean some people get elevated at the expense of others based on assumed advantages and disadvantages, then we’re looking down a one-way street that stops at a dead end. There’s no way forward in this scenario.

If CRT were only a localized phenomenon, then maybe a simple piece of legislation would be enough to save our children from its reach. But the school level is only the inside box of a host of CRT containers. 

Part II: “White” People: CRT is Alive and Unwell in Our Schools will analyze how equity policies are perpetuated at the district level.

Say No to SJR 6: 3Rs in the Classroom UPDATED 2-25

The SJR 6 Joint Resolution Promoting the 3rs Framework of Rights, Responsibility, and Respect in Classrooms, if you go by the sound of it, seems like a bill that could inspire folks from both sides of the aisle to shake hands over. But if you click through the Utah 3Rs Project website, you’ll see a pattern emerge that isn’t all that tolerant of religious diversity, despite claims to that fact.

The Utah State Legislature should be very cautious before promoting “vendor-specific” legislation on which to base teacher instructional training , and the Utah 3Rs Project is the case in point. 

Watch this video
 of a Utah teacher testifying to the anti-LDS (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) nature of the training she and other teachers received from Utah 3Rs representatives. At one point in the training, the picture that follows was shown to teachers, who were forbidden to look away, and further instructed to “sit in their discomfort.”

Also telling is Scenario 3 from the website. Scenario 3 describes the following:

A Latter-day Saint (Mormon) parent has a child being bullied. Parent wants to pass anti-bullying legislation. A gay pastor hears about the legislation. Pastor is more concerned that kids being bullied because they are gay will be outed to their parents (and end up rejected and homeless) if the reason for the bullying is revealed, which she considers worse than kids being bullied in the first place.

How is this scenario “resolved?” The parent appeases the pastor’s concerns and makes an exception to not outing bullied gay kids to protect those kids from…their religiously intolerant parents.

The baseline assumptions underlying this video are both patently anti-LDS as well as anti-parent. But somehow this is considered a model example of “respectful” religious dialogue. 

This is just one among many examples on the Utah 3Rs site curriculum, which raises the question: why would the state legislatively endorse a curriculum that undermines religion as intolerant through the subtext of its training materials? 

 

Updated February 25, 2022

This article, from Place for All Utah, affirms some of the key underlying goals of 3RsUtah.org, among which is that:

“Teachers will also explore Utah’s changing demographics and learn how to recognize and counter their own unconscious bias.”

This quote is from 3Rs Executive Director Eleesha Tucker. 

 

This next image demonstrates the Utah 3Rs Project’s embracing of identity politics and intersectionality as a key dynamic of “religious identity formation.” 

The dogmatic strategy and practice of relabeling people’s personally-held religious convictions as “unconscious bias” and of invoking sectarian Critical Race Theory philosophies of “intersectionality” is something the State of Utah will be subsidizing, ideologically and infrastructurally, through our children’s schools should this resolution pass.  

HB337: Don’t Let the Governor Get His Hands in Education

HB 337 supposedly tries to create a way for parents to be heard through an Education Ombudsman — but that won’t happen because the ombudsman would be under the Governor. Governor Cox has been very clear about wanting to “define” parents’ role as being just one of many “stakeholders” in education.

See the email below from Governor Cox’s senior advisor on Equity and Opportunity to members of the USBE’s staff and ACEESS committee:

Parents are more than one among many “different entities in public education.” We parents are the primary stakeholders in every aspect of our kids’ lives, including education.

Parents don’t have “roles,” they have rights, and they aren’t Cox’s to decide.

If the Education Ombudsman being under Cox’s oversight isn’t reason enough to make you think twice on this bill, consider the following list of drawbacks to the bill’s provisions:

HB337 creates multiple issues of bipartisan concern:

  • The Education Ombudsman is subject to the supervision of the Governor, who has no state constitutional authority over education. (Article X, Utah State Constitution)
  • Constitutionally and statutorily, the Legislature has directed the general control and supervision of the public school system to the state Board. Creating the Education Ombudsman in the office of the Governor (line 119) creates a jurisdictional conflict and the potential politicization of the ombudsman position.
  • Parents, who already have statutory recognition of their inalienable rights (Utah State Codes 53E-2-201, 62A-4(a)-201, 53E-2-301(3), et al.), will have the parameters of their educational involvement defined and arbitrated by the Education Ombudsman and, by extension, the office of the Governor, for whom there is no legal precedent of governance over educational issues or parental rights. (Lines 163-169)
  • Lines 120-122 call for the appointment of an individual with background and expertise in federal and state law in education. This sole qualification does not guarantee the involved parties in a dispute an impartial arbitration, and is more likely to result in an appointee with existing loyalties and personal connections to the educational establishment.
  • The selection of an ombudsman in educational matters solely by political appointees is a concern, especially as this process circumvents democratic representation of parental interests.
  • The ombudsman’s authority and capacity to “facilitate the resolution” of complaints is legally ambiguous, pertaining to parents particularly, for whom there exists no codified legal recourse or protections for a redress of grievances in educational matters short of filing suit. Another larger concern here is that the ombudsman’s determination may be considered to carry disproportionate evidentiary weight should a dispute be litigated. (Lines 178-182)

If the intent of this bill is to provide parents the advocacy that they’ve been historically denied through the public school system, then the provisions of the bill are inadequate to that purpose. 

Should this bill pass, parents would find their “role” relegated to just another “stakeholder” in the educational system, rather than as the preeminent arbiters and presiding authorities in all matters pertaining to their children, including education.