Evolution classes optional under proposed Alberta law

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Snuckles
Evolution classes optional under proposed Alberta law

And the Know-Nothings continue their war on science. . .

 

Quote:
A controversial Alberta bill will enshrine into law the rights of parents to pull their children out of classes discussing the topics of evolution and homosexuality.

The new rules, which would require schools to notify parents in advance of "subject-matter that deals explicitly with religion, sexuality or sexual orientation," is buried in a bill that extends human rights to homosexuals. Parents can ask for their child to be excluded from the discussion.

"This government supports a very, very fundamental right and that is parental rights with respect to education," said Premier Ed Stelmach.

Although Stelmach has confirmed the bill will give parents the authority to exclude their kids from classes if the topic of evolution comes up, Education Minister Dave Hancock said it won't change anything.

"With respect to values, religion and sex education have always been areas of concern for parents, and they've always been areas parents have had the right to be notified about and to exempt their students from," Hancock said.

 

Read it [url=http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2009/04/30/cgy-bill-evolution-law....

 

Draco

Credit where credit is due, the primary driver isn't the war on science, it's the war on gays.  The section is bundled with the long overdue formal inclusion of sexual orientation in human rights laws as a sop to the many homophobes in the PC caucus.  Despite the media spin and Stelmach's comments, it is unlikely the provision would even be judicially interpreted as applying to evolution, which does not by any reasonable standard explicitly deal with religion, sexuality, or sexual orientation.

The amusing thing is that the breadth of things that do deal explicilty deal with those topics, from most historical events to practically all of literature, is so vast that it would shut down the classroom entirely.

TemporalHominid TemporalHominid's picture

actually this used to be under the Educational act  and may end up in the Alberta Human Rights Law

 

The Alberta Conservative government stated it's intention to revisit and revise Alberta Human Rights Law. Parental rights are one focus of the revision, including a proposal to introduce a parent's right to choose what is or is not taught to their children in school. Parents would be given the opportunity to opt their children out of instruction on human sexuality, sexual orientation, evolution, evidence based reasoning, the value of Pi, limericks about people not from Nantucket and other lessons that conflict with their religious convictions.

Lindsay Blackett, the minister responsible for overhauling current human rights law, cites "Family Values" as a guiding principal in his quest to update Alberta Human Right Law. Blackett goes on to talk about safe communities and "at the core, has to be parents in the household."

 here is what Blackett said

When we ran as a party in the last election we ran on family values, we ran on families and communities. That's what the premier led the last election on... As a government we talk about safe communities and all the members who make up that. At the core, has to be parents in the household... Alberta is the most tolerant province in the country but we still get this redneck label. In fact we're more open to things. We don't want them thrown in our face necessarily but we're open. We're tolerant. Just because we don't have a gay pride parade with 50,000 people in it, does that make us less tolerant? No. Absolutely not. If you have an opinion you have the right to have your opinion and somebody has the right to have the contrary opinion and they both have the right to be heard. And, you know, sometimes you just have to suck it up and have a little bit more faith in the tolerant Albertans we are. We want to move past the hurt-feeling stage. But we want to emphasize that those people who deliberately incite hatred, they're not going to be tolerated. If you're going to do that, you should be punished to the full extent of the law. There's no reason we should tolerate a swastika on a synagogue. There's no reason we should tolerate a burning cross anywhere. I have a 10-year-old and an eight-year old kid and I don't know how long I'm going to be in politics. For the time I'm here, I will always be able to look my kids in the eye and tell them I did the best I could and I made a difference. So I've got to go at it full-bore. The human rights stuff has been neglected for 12 years because people were too afraid to tackle the issue. But if you take a common-sensical approach and think what it means to your family and your community and look through that lens, the decisions are real easy to make.

- Alberta Culture Minister, Lindsay Blackett

The Conservative government is writing up proposed legislation to be introduced as early as this week, with proposals going to the legislature for debate after the April 7 budget. Some people in the province already live in fear of one or more identifiable groups in our communities.

 

 Some people in Alberta have an Us vs Them mentality (vs the homeless, working poor, immigrant workers, LGBTQs, senior citizens, first nations, Muslims, people with mental illness, and citizens critical of tar sands operations). The Tories propose to introduce legislation, which at its core has an Us vs Them perspective. Some MLAs feel that "family values" are under represented in Alberta politics and in Alberta Human Rights Law. Mr. Blackett invokes concepts such as safe communities, family values, and a vague concept called "parents in the household" to support his view that changes to Alberta Human Rigths Legislation are needed. Blackett also invokes symbols such as a burning cross and a swastika on a synagogue to demonstrate how tolerant Albertans are. I sure am glad Minister Blackett illustrated the shenanigans we won't put up with in this province.

Apparently, MLAs and their families (whom believe in family values, safe communities, and "parents in the household") need protection from the Alberta Curriculum, teachers that deliver the legislated curriculum, and families in their communities that allegedly don't believe in Tory-touted family values, safe communities and "parents in the household".

The Minister of Culture feels that his family, and families like his, need protection from the one in ten families in his community that have one or more members that are not heterosexual. He also feels that families like his needs protection from teachers that dare to deliver curriculum based lessons, or from schools that aim to have safe, caring, and inclusive classrooms.

 

The Alberta Teacher's Association has an initiative called the Safe Spaces Initiative, which compliments the Safe an Caring Schools initiative around the province: it states :

Contemporary research indicates that students who feel unsafe in their school are less likely to learn, whereas students who perceive their schools as accepting, safe and welcoming spaces not only improve their grades and attendance but also feel more hopeful about their academic and personal future. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified and queer (LGBTQ) students often face discrimination and prejudice in their schools. As a result of this marginalization, many LGBTQ students experience higher rates of suicide, drug and alcohol use, smoking, and feelings of isolation and despair. www.teachers.ab.ca

 

Conservative estimates are that 1 in 14 school aged children identify themselves as not heterosexual. Children in our schools and communities have one or more parents that may be of any orientation. These children are members of families in our communities. Outside of a loving home, schools are one of the safest places for children in the community when the school adopts a safe, caring and inclusive outlook. Schools, parents and staff have been responsive to implementing bully free schools and developing perspectives of acceptance and tolerance in our pluralistic society.

 

Blackett proposes family values based human rights legislation to protect Alberta parents and families that believe in family values, safe communities, and parents in the household. He invokes the concept of safer communites, suggesting that family values based legislation translates to safe communites. The reality is, all of our children currently benefit from safe, caring and inclusive schools. Human rights legislation based on "family values", as defined by Mr. Blackett and other MLAs, will not contribute to safe, caring and inclusive schools for all attending students. Mr. Blackett's proposals do not make our communities safer, but rather serve to alienate a group of students that have traditionally been marginalized because they or their parents are not heterosexual.

Snuckles

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2009/05/04/cgy-evolution-alberta-... Alberta law doesn't make evolution classes optional: Minister[/url]

 

Quote:
A controversial new bill does not give Alberta parents the right to pull their children out of science classes when evolution is discussed, according to Lindsay Blackett, the provincial minister responsible for human rights.

New rules buried in a proposed amendment to Alberta's human rights legislation that extends rights to homosexuals would require schools to notify parents in advance of "subject-matter that deals explicitly with religion, sexuality or sexual orientation." Parents can then ask for their child to be excluded from the discussion.

Premier Ed Stelmach told reporters last week that the provision could be used to pull students out of classes dealing with evolution if parents preferred their kids be taught what's in the Bible instead.

"The parents would have the opportunity to make that choice," he said.

But in an interview with CBC News Monday, Blackett said he has gone through the draft bill and talked to staff in the education and justice departments and concluded that religious beliefs aren't covered.

"This is opt-out on religious instruction not on grounds of religious beliefs. So the thought that somebody can get out of evolution using the fact that it's against their religious beliefs is not correct," he said. "Evolution is not a part of religious studies, it's part of science curriculum, and there is nothing that will change that going forward."

If a teacher follows the curriculum there "is no problem."

"We aren't talking about discussions that come up in class," he said. "We expect people to be reasonable. We expect that the teacher has to have the latitude. We are not the thought police, and we don't want to interfere with their ability to teach their classes."

Unionist

Ouch! Sorry Snuckles, I guess Doug didn't notice your earlier thread, and neither did the rest of us!

Hey mods, is there any way to merge [url=">http://rabble.ca/babble/western-provinces/education-be-optional-alberta]... that other thread[/url] into this one??

 

remind remind's picture

Well, that is interesting, I guess their "Family Values" means it is okay to beat up your children and wife, seeing as how Alberta has the highest incidences of both in Canada.

Perhaps they could use a little bit less of "parents in the household"? Or at least 1.

Quote:
Blackett said "When we ran as a party in the last election we ran on family values, we ran on families and communities. That's what the premier led the last election on... As a government we talk about safe communities and all the members who make up that. At the core, has to be parents in the household... Alberta is the most tolerant province in the country but we still get this redneck label."

Safe communities? How about safe homes?

Quote:
Some people in the province already live in fear of one or more identifiable groups in our communities.

Perhaps what/who people should be fearing is the religious wingnuts?

And what the hell is the Premier doing spouting off about evolution in a Human Rights Bill for? Is he trying to sell a quid pro quo?

Like is he covertly saying; "we have to give human rights to homosexuals, but we will give additional rights to you"?

And as for this:

Quote:
"This is opt-out on religious instruction not on grounds of religious beliefs. So the thought that somebody can get out of evolution using the fact that it's against their religious beliefs is not correct," he said. "Evolution is not a part of religious studies, it's part of science curriculum, and there is nothing that will change that going forward."

If a teacher follows the curriculum there "is no problem."

"We aren't talking about discussions that come up in class," he said. "We expect people to be reasonable. We expect that the teacher has to have the latitude. We are not the thought police, and we don't want to interfere with their ability to teach their classes."

Is the first sentence saying that parents can now opt their children out of religious instruction, whereas before they couldn't? And that parents can't opt out on religious belief reasons?

But then he actully states that a teacher can teach religion in a science class when teaching evolution. Unfuckingbelievable.

Or perhaps even saying that the teachers can teach anti-homosexual information in sexuality classes, after all the teacher has to have "latitude", they are not the "thought police".

remind remind's picture

Even more disturbing was this I found buried in the CBC article:

Quote:
Also Monday, the Calgary-based Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership held a press conference to call the bill, with its amendments to Alberta's human rights legislation, "stunningly unimpressive and a great disappointment."

Research associate Dan Sharpio said parents already have the right to exclude their children from sex education classes so there is no need to include it in this bill.

"I mean there's already a ministerial directive in the department of education for parents to opt their children out of stuff dealing with human sexuality, i.e., sex education classes, in which case this is redundant. Why add it into human rights legislation? And moreover it opens a huge can of worms, namely the possibility that we'll have human rights complaints against teachers, administrators and so on," he said.

Targeting the teachers and admin to keep them in line?

Lou Arab Lou Arab's picture

Facebook group: Pull my kids from school if they're taught about the Alberta Conservatives

Please join and tell your friends!

 

TemporalHominid TemporalHominid's picture

the bill was passed Tues June 2, 1:30 am

 

"In every school jurisdiction in Alberta, there are effective ways to resolve these questions at the local level. It's a mystery as to what problem the government is seeking to solve."

- Heather Welwood, president of the Alberta School Boards Association,

 

"My question is why: Why did this need to be brought into the forefront? ....parents' and students' rights are already protected in the School Act." - Principal, Dr. Clark Elementary School, Lorraine Demers

 

Last week, the provincial government amended some of the bill's wording, allowing teachers to talk about sexual orientation or religion incidentally or indirectly without needing to notify parents. But ...the wording of "incident" versus "explicit" does not clarify the situation...

They're saying that if it's an incidental or indirect reference that it's OK, but when does it move from incidental to explicit? Who is making that call? ... Is it up to the parents? Because that might mean at one school, it may be fine to spend 15 minutes in a biology class talking about reproduction and the impact medical science has on that and in another school that may be considered to be explicitly discussed. It's very confusing. The board voted and was very disapproving of this bill" - Kim Jenkins, superintendent, Fort McMurray Catholic Board of Education.

He added that the Alberta School Boards Association, the Alberta School Councils Association, the College of Alberta School Superintendents and the Alberta Teachers' Association all opposed Bill 44. "They all spoke out against it. Nobody involved - parents, teachers, superintendents from both public and Catholic schools - said this was a good idea. It obviously landed on deaf ears."

He spoke of Education Minister Dave Hancock's provincial think-tank discussions called Inspiring Education: A Dialogue with Albertans, which focused on what education will look like in Alberta 20 years from now. Jenkins said, "Then at the same time, the government is bringing in an archaic, bizarre bill like this - that doesn't fit with what he's talking about in defining education. Putting in this kind of legislation is not inspiring education."

TemporalHominid TemporalHominid's picture

According to the feminist-gay gospel, the great evils of this world are sexism and homophobia, and their breeding ground is the traditional family. Hence, the gay-feminist project has become a social engineering project -- to use the coercive power of the state to undermine the existing family and to reconstruct in its place their gender-equal utopias..
it was vital to persuade governments around the world to subject all new legislation to a values test, to make sure that each new law supported "natural" family life. New laws should be drafted to consider their impact on "parental rights and responsibilities -- especially the right to educate their children in the moral and spiritual traditions of their choice. Enlisting the coercive power of the state to force people to 'approve' homosexual relations is the antithesis of toleration. Toleration loses any meaning if we are not allowed to continue to disapprove of what we tolerate.

-MLA Ted Morton, in a speach to the World Congress of Families in Geneva

 

Bill 208 defeated

Policywonk

According to the Conservatives, and especially Ted Morton and his ilk, ignorance is a family value.