Sometimes Nebraska Is Just Too Nice (UPDATED)

charles-starkweatherUntil now the only thing for which Irving Middle School has been notorious was that the infamous spree murderer Charlie Starkweather (1938–59) attended there, in the 1950s, when it was a Junior High School. It is in the news today, however, because of the revelation of a teacher-training document which instructs teachers to avoid using sex-specific language when speaking to children. They are no longer to be described as boys and girls or ladies and gentlemen. Instead, children are to be categorized according to odd and even birth dates and when necessary to refer to their sex to say, “boy, girl, both, or neither.” One might think that, when this training document came to light, that saner heads at headquarters (the Lincoln Public School District) would have rebuffed this overzealous inclusiveness but one would be wrong. LPS Superintended Steve Joel says,

“our position, ours is inclusiveness. … We know that there’s a correlation between bullying and gender, as well as sexual preference, and so you know, as a school district, we’re just trying to provide information for our folks to understand that a little bit better, and I think that’s what they’ve done, and I think they’re doing a great job with it.”

We must deny the existence of two sexes and insinuate to impressionable children (6th, 7th, and 8th graders) that there are more than two sexes or that some of their schoolmates belong simultaneously to two sexes (however that works) because of bullying? Nebraskans are a nice people. They are among the nicest, most helpful people you will ever meet. If your car breaks down on a Nebraska highway (other than I-80) a local is likely to stop to ask if you need help. If your hands are full someone will open a door for you. Little old ladies have been known to help younger men across the road (true story). We (I am one of them) are raised to be helpful, to be friendly, to be welcoming but sometimes, when infused with political correctness, niceness can get out of hand.

Let’s get a few things straight (no pun intended) here:

  • Considered biologically, human beings do not have a gender. We need to stop speaking this way. Gender is a grammatical not a biological category. In Greek, Latin, English, and other languages, nouns are assigned, often arbitrarily to a gender but the same is not true humans. It is a mistake (or worse an intentional ploy to destroy the very idea of sexual differences) to confuse the two.
  • It is a fact of biology that ordinarily human beings are born belonging to one of two sexes: male or female. It is true that a small percentage of humans are born sexually indeterminate but that is the exception that tests the rule. Exceptions do not obliterate the rule. Were it otherwise the species would have died out but we have not.
  • Is the district planning to continue teaching biology and human physiology? If so, pedagogical coherence will quickly become a problem. Biology and physiology teachers cannot very well stand before students and talk about the sexual differences of this or any other species and then turn around and imply that, when they line up to go to lunch, that there are no such things as the male and female sexes.
  • The district’s position assumes one’s sex is a matter of preference. This is nothing short of radical nominalism. Who died and gave Irving Middle School or Superintendent Joel the authority to impose this philosophy (epistemology) on children and families? I suppose that most of the parents who send their children to Irving or to any other LPS school believe that sexual identity is not just a preference or a choice and that, in the nature of things, humans are born male and female. Parents do not send their children to school as boys or girls only to have them re-programmed or assigned to another sex or to mo sex at all at school. No sir, that just will not do. When boys and girls are dropped off at Irving they remain boys and girls and they return home boys and girls. Why should tax-paying parents be forced to undo what a foolish, radical program has attempted to do their children for the last 7 hours?
  • As a matter of universal sense perception—get thee to a farm, a birthing room, or a biology lab—humans belong to one of two sexes (see above) but it belongs to the parents to explain to their children how humans reproduce. The sexual revolution and its concomitant, sex ed, has been an unmitigated cultural disaster. In the 70s we were promised that by pushing sex ed into the schools and pushing it to an earlier start date we could curb teen pregnancy. It hasn’t happened. Today fully 1/3 of all Americans has a sexually transmitted disease. Uh hello. That’s the benchmark of failure. Sexualizing the students, in this case, by even suggesting to them that some humans of the same sex may engage in sexual activity with one another is another giant mistake.
  • If Irving Middle School and LPS refuse to repudiate this stupid contra-natural program, parents should begin withdrawing their children. Let’s see how long the district adheres to this silliness when they begin losing state tax dollars because of a drop in enrollment.
  • Parents: Your children only get one shot at a decent education. I know that you’re busy and that the economy is difficult but there are alternatives and you are responsible for the education of your children. Vote with your feet. Give your child a fighting chance to grow up to be a normal, reasonably well-adjusted, reasonably intelligent human being. Don’t subject him to bizarre educational theories and a third-rate education. Any school or district that permits teachers to imply that humans are born “neither” male nor female is not a school or district to which you should subject your child.

This formerly underground program at Irving Middle School illustrates the degree to which insanity has overtaken the educational establishment in this country. Children are sent home for chewing pop tarts incorrectly. Playgrounds are being stripped of swings. Games of tag are outlawed. Wake up parents. The people running your schools no longer believe in nature, that there is a certain “giveness” to things. Sure they may still teach the existence of gravity but that’s only until they figure out a way to imply that “what goes up must come down” is really a mere convention or appearance. They are Gnostics. They really think that what we experience with our senses is an illusion. This is highly problematic if only because their main vocation is to explain to our children what we experience with our senses. This is why they think that sexual differences are a mere convention (an agreement), that they are arbitrary. Judging by the positions adopted by the Department of Education, the leading teachers’ unions, and educational bureaucrats (educats) across this country, the inmates are running the asylum and if Christians and others who still believe in nature continue to submit to it, then we’re just as crazy as they are.

Nebraskans are genuinely nice. They want to be liked and want (sometimes too much) others to like them. They’re also worried about being perceived as rubes or behind the times. Sometimes, in reaction, they overcompensate. In this case they’ve gone too far.  In trying to be nice they’ve become bullies and, as we all know, bullying isn’t nice. Who is introducing to the minds of children that perhaps they aren’t male or female or that perhaps they belong to both sexes or to neither? Who is playing on the uncertainties and doubts of young people as they begin to mature sexually? Why that would be the nice people at Irving Middle School and the Lincoln Public Schools and that isn’t nice.

UPDATED 10/28/14

LPS has withdrawn the materials.

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  1. In a country were we are rapidly moving to no rules, just opinions and the failure that entails, How do we as believers and conservatives prove that there are truths and that living in accordance with them is superior and produces superior results without divorcing ourselves completely from the culture? There has to be a middle ground between setting up walls to separate ourselves and being so much a part of the culture that we get sucked into it. This is not a new problem we just seem to forget how it was solved before.

  2. This is not peculiar to Nebraskans, however nice they might be. This is the ideological poison and epistemological rot that afflicts the American public educational profession. As a group, these people have turned from academics to social engineering. While I am a product of public education (of the 60s and 70s) and believe I was served well therein, I could not in good conscience inflict this on any child today.

  3. As a bit of a sidebar to the subject a hand, yes, Nebraskans really are very nice. A splendid example recently was the polite state trooper who pulled my lead-footed wife over along I-80 this past Monday on our return from Colorado, having clocked her at 85 mph. He let her off easy with a warning ticket.

    We stayed in Kearney that evening and had lunch on Tuesday in downtown Lincoln at a sports bar/restaurant in the heart of Cornhusker territory. All of the people we met at these places were very nice.

  4. The supreme irony is that gender is viewed entirely as a matter of personal choice, while sexual orientation is viewed as a matter of absolute hard-wiring. In the new ideology your gender can change easily, but yor sexual orientation is set before birth. People used to call it sexual preference but the vocabulary police have deemed that term unacceptable, as it implies an individual has some choice in the matter.

  5. Get this for a cognitive disconnect: The folks who yell loudest that they’re “scientific” think that someone whose every cell screams “XY!” is a “woman” if he buys a wig, changes clothes, and gets some cutting done–and convinces some credulous fool with a paper credential that he sincerely thinks he’s not a man.

    About gender:

    Once, as a non-trad grad student, I used the agreement of pronoun and antecedent rule [if someone is in trouble, help him–not help them] drummed into me by dear Mrs. Kosovsky in 11th grade English. I got called out as using “non-inclusive” language. I looked over my glasses, appealed to my dear 11th grade English teacher (a woman); pointed out that I’d lived a large chunk of my adult life in countries where the local Sinitic and Tai-Kadai languages didn’t gender their third person pronouns at all, but still produced MCP’s in abundance; and would the complainer kindly keep her cultural provincialism, ageism, and blatant disrespect for a very conscientious and skilled schoolmarm of the past to herself? I just couldn’t help myself. You just don’t dis Mrs. Kosovsky in front of Peter Herz!

    I did get my Ph.D. anyway.

    In any event, I think Paul described our time perfectly when he spoke of people “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” (Rom. 1:22). Good post, Dr. Clark.

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