In computing terms, a Trojan Horse is defined as “a program designed to breach the security of a computer system while ostensibly performing some innocuous function”.
While “inclusive curriculum” sounds deceptively innocuous – even noble – it is through this Trojan Horse that ideological doctrine is being foisted upon the captive and impressionable audience of K-12 students in our Alberta classrooms.
Most alarmingly, this instruction is happening without most parents even knowing about it.
Consider the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) as an example.
The CBE submitted a policy to the government last spring entitled “Guidelines for Attending to Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sexual Orientation in our Schools,” including a section about “Inclusive Curriculum” on page 5-48. This section concludes with the following directive to staff members:
“CBE staff members are encouraged to challenge gender and sexual orientation stereotypes and integrate sexual and gender minority positive content into teaching and learning on a regular basis.”
As an educator, I have repeatedly stated my concern regarding the fine line between instruction about an ideology, and promotion of an ideology in the context of Alberta’s’ K-12 schools.
That line is clearly and unacceptably being overstepped by the CBE.
By insisting that staff include “sexual and gender minority positive content into teaching and learning on a regular basis” (emphasis mine), the CBE is demonstrating a blatant disregard for its proper designated role in the education of children.
In fact, it seems the CBE school board trustees forgot to read Alberta Education’s Guide to Education before they approved their new policy and it is essential that Calgary electors contact the CBE trustees to remind them how the board is failing to act in a “supportive role to parents in the areas of values and moral development” (page 82) when it comes to “controversial issues”:
In light of this information, a few pressing questions arise:
1) Isn’t there a fundamental contradiction with “inclusive curriculum” that focuses exclusively on the positive promotion of just one group?
2) While the government pursues a heavy-handed inquiry regarding the sexual orientation and gender identity policies submitted by two independent Baptist schools, why isn’t the provincial government also pursuing an investigation of the CBE’s clear violation of Alberta Education’s own standards?
3) Consider the many students who attend public schools and come from family cultures and traditions that value sexual abstinence until marriage, as well as the sacred value of marriage between one man and one woman for life.
Do these students have an equal right to have their perspectives specifically named, acknowledged, honoured, reflected and protected by specific provisions in school board policies?
In the interests of ensuring all Alberta students experience a sense of acceptance and belonging, will the CBE and other public school districts ensure that instructional time is equally devoted to the positive promotion of sexuality from these student perspectives?
Guest Speakers in the Classroom
Re-defining the topic of sexuality as “inclusive curriculum” (or “human rights” and “diversity education”) also opens the door for special interest groups and LGTBQ advocates to freely access the classroom through guest speaker presentations, which happen during instructional time and often without the direct knowledge of parents.
An older brother shared about his Grade 7 sister’s distress after a presentation by Calgary Sexual Health Centre in April:
“My youngest sister came home upset from sex ed yesterday. The guest speaker in her class taught that gender is in the mind, totally separate from the body. That for the purposes of sexuality and puberty, there are no males and females but “people with penises” and “people with vaginas”. That “some people” grow more facial hair than others. The speaker lumped the changes that come with puberty (breast development, facial hair, etc.) together into one degendered list. According to my sister, many of her classmates were confused. Some of them, not knowing what else to think, just accepted it.
Well, I don’t believe it. And I don’t think many people do. We believe there are such things as male bodies and female bodies,that gender corresponds with chromosomes and primary sex characteristics. The problem is that people with ordinary beliefs aren’t generally the ones volunteering to write sex ed curriculum or give presentations about sex to children. I don’t think this means kids need to be pulled out of sex ed, but I think it does mean that parents now will have to thoroughly educate their kids at young ages so they can reject the garbage they hear from guest speakers, and maybe help their classmates reject it too.”
Camp Fyrefly, an LGBTQ advocacy organization co-founded by Dr Kristopher Wells of the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services, has also been actively recruiting peer educators who will do classroom presentations anywhere in Alberta to promote “sexual and gender diversity.”
The most problematic aspect of these presentations is that they specifically address topics of sexuality and promote a specific value-based perspective, all while circumventing parental notification and consent.
Parental Notification & Consent
Widespread media coverage a few weeks ago focused on a public school in Wetaskiwin where parents were shocked to learn that students were reciting the Lord’s Prayer at the start of each school day, without parental knowledge.
This topic led to an interesting discussion on the September 16th Edmonton Journal Press Gallery podcast.
The Journal’s education reporter, Janet French, astutely observed that while there was an opt-out option for the prayer time, “How can you opt-out of something you don’t even know is happening?”
Likewise, parents across the province do not even realize how gender/queer theory has been reclassified as “inclusive curriculum”, “appreciation for diversity” and “human rights” and therefore can no longer “opt-out” based on Section 40 of the School Act.
At another point in the podcast discussion, Paula Simons, another Edmonton Journal columnist, stated:
“There’s a real interesting parallel here – we talk about parental rights and I think there is an interesting parallel with a Gay-Straight Alliance. Imagine if the rules were that every child had to join a Gay-Straight Alliance because it would be good for them to be exposed to this idea of open-ness and tolerance.
Now then I think the parents might have an argument that that’s the State forcing a doctrine on you. But I would no more favour forcing everybody to join a Gay-Straight Alliance then I would favour forcing everybody to say a prayer.
Parental rights should extend though to all parents, not just to Christian parents.
And as a parent, I should have a parental right to say that my child should not be forced to have religious instruction in a faith that is not mine.
In the same way that a Christian parent should be able to exercise a parental right not to have their child taught something that they profoundly disagree with.” (13 – 13:50 min)
Is it true what Simons claims? That a “parent should be able to exercise a parental right not to have their child taught something that they profoundly disagree with”?
If so, will she add her voice to the tens of thousands of parents who have been voicing their concerns on this issue across the province?
Paula Simons and every other person in this province must wake up to realize that this Trojan Horse advances far beyond GSAs, striking at the very heart of the fundamental purposes of our education system.
Minister of Education David Eggen claims to be a “student of history”. If so, I would expect him to be familiar with the many historical examples of education systems that were exploited through a deliberate removal of parental influence, followed by the transmission of an ideology onto a willing, impressionable next generation – the idea of conquering through “evolution of thought” vs revolution.
And he should also know that not one of those historical examples are fondly remembered for their practice of democratic principles.
The fact is that when an ideology can be normalized and allowed to permeate an education system, especially in the absence of parental support, an entire generation is more easily converted.
It is the reason why our education system so vigilantly guards against “proselytizing”, even within faith-based alternative programs. It is the reason why the Health and Life Skills Guide to Implementation clearly states on page 39 that “teachers should use controversial issues to promote critical inquiry rather than advocacy, and to teach students how to think rather than what to think.”
We recognize that K-12 children are a captive, impressionable audience and must respect that it is never the role of an education system in a free, democratic society to remove parental notification and consent in order to impose any one cultural, religious or non-religious value system on all students.
That is why it is so surprising that into this vacuum of morality we would be so quick to welcome any ideology to permeate our hallways and the minds of our K-12 children and allow it to trump any sort of consideration for the values and beliefs of children and families.
Do Albertans realize that their inaction and silence continue to allow this Trojan Horse to advance into our province’s schools?
Parents for Choice in Education has launched a massive new campaign today to spread awareness about the vital importance of parental engagement, notification and consent and to pressure our elected representatives for six specific, critical changes that must be made to existing legislation and school policies.
Please click on the image below to learn more about the new campaign and share over email and social media to help spread the word.
Frankly it does not matter what you personally believe about religion or sexuality.
Anyone who values the foundations of our pluralistic, multicultural, free and democratic society must vigilantly and vocally guard our education system.
Albertans must rise up and say “NO” to this Trojan Horse that is still being permitted to advance, infiltrate and fundamentally transform the purposes of our province’s K-12 schools.
Speak up now, before it is too late.