I largely agree with your take on these matters, which is well expressed here. I would add, though, that in weighing the competing interests and responsibilities of parents and the State in rearing citizens (and you correctly note that we're talking about child-rearing, not just education), sex is generally considered way to the parents' side -- especially at such a young age.

It's significant, too, that there's not a lot of fundamental disagreement in today's America about issues of race and equality, but there's a very large segment that prefers, to a greater or lesser extent, traditional sexual mores. For a teacher to tell his students that, say, "all kinds of love are equal" and answer the the parents' outrage with "What? What'd I say?" is either disingenuous or -- more likely -- obtuse.

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Mar 12, 2022·edited Mar 12, 2022

I primarily agree with Mr. Jilani's well-written article and his proposed ways to resolve these issues. Parents have to be involved, and as a parent I always kept informed of what was going on in the school my child attended. "Erudit0rum" above posted clearly why so many of these decisions have to be kept private at some levels, so we can all live and work together, considering our divergent values and beliefs in this country. When I was in elementary/middle school, my parents attended the parent screenings and discussions of films to be shown on sex and drug information. I always had permission to attend (parental permission was required), but my parents had already educated me on most of what was in sex education films so they were mostly reinforcements of what I had already been taught at home. To my surprise, many of my peers were not that fortunate and didn't know even the basics from their parents, and so it is sometimes necessary for parents to be reawakened to their responsibilities as a parent and as a parent of a public school attendee. If public sector schools push curriculum on parents or students, there will be many more local board elections with parents taking leadership and private education may grow and appeal to more parents as the demand grows.

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This is the challenge with decision making in the public sphere. Because the decision is public we all have to live with the same outcome and therefore have to find some way to balance everyones values, interests, points of view, etc. However, given the massive diversity present in modern society we're pretty much never going to come up with solutions that make everyone (or even most people) happy.

This is why liberalism breaks up so many previously public decisions into a series of private decisions. Once upon a time we decided as nations which religion everyone would practice. The result, quite predictably, was that we had a lot of civil wars and spent a lot of time killing each other. Nowadays we let each person or group decide which religion will be practiced in their own private homes, churches, mosques, etc. Of course this doesn't always eliminate disagreement, but it does massively cut down on the amount of viewpoint diversity that our decision procedures have to cope with. As John Gray once put it: “The importance of several [i.e., private] property for civil society is that it acts as an enabling device whereby rival and possibly incommensurable conceptions of the good may be implemented and realized without any recourse to any collective decision-procedure.”

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I like this article, but would have appreciated Ethnic Studies mandate and curriculum issue addressed. Ethnic Studies are now required in California. But it’s a particular curriculum that serves to inculcate progressive activism into a new generation of school children. Its a big issue, with lots to know, but if nothing else, know this: it is being introduced into several more US states and will eventually reach them all.

If you’d like to see a sample of this well-funded movement, check out The Liberated group, who’s curriculum includes a clenched fist on each page http://www.liberatedethnicstudies.org/.

Or if you’re a Jew, see their Teaching Palestine page, just recently mysteriously removed from Liberated group (and others) websites, but still accessible on the Internet. https://web.archive.org/web/20210809173631/http://www.liberatedethnicstudies.org/teach-palestine.html

So if you care about school curriculum, please be informed about this effort as well.

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