From Crayons to Condoms
"You're the only parent who has complained" is a refrain that runs all through the stories of faddish methods, biased curricula, obscene assignments, and invasive surveys related in this new book by Steve Baldwin and Karen Holgate called From Crayons to Condoms: The Ugly Truth About America's Public Schools (WND Books 2008).
The "ugly truth" about public schools includes describing high schoolers who can't read, write or spell because they are victims of trendy "whole language" instruction, required courses in "death education" that actually encourage teen depression and suicide, and math classes where students write how they "feel" about math problems instead of learning multiplication tables, fractions, or algebra.
The chapter titles in this book give accurate clues to its sensational eye-witness evidence: "The Curriculum of Social Engineering," "Self-Esteem Trumps Learning," "The X-Rated Classroom," "Pushing the Homosexual Agenda," and "Parental Rights — Going, Going, Gone."
Public school administrators sometimes try to shame parents out of their efforts to change the system for the better. Students, too, who raise objections often end up ostracized by teachers and peers. But as this book shows, you are not the only parent or student with complaints against these trends. Parents, students, and teachers all speak up in From Crayons to Condoms about their worst experiences with the public school bureaucracy. These are the experiences of average people in average school districts, so they reveal the extent of the problem as well as the prevalence of families' frustration. Only a few of these dozens of stories have ever appeared in the media.
"It is not the job of the school system to fix all of society's ills. I send my children to school for an education, not for social programs, risk surveys, or 'preventive maintenance,'" writes Linda Rice, a parent whose children were subjected to invasive surveys, endless group work, and one ineffective prevention and awareness program after another.
The book affirms there are many good teachers in the public schools, and many teachers and administrators who don't attempt to overstep their role in students' lives. Others, however, repeatedly infringe on the integrity of the family by taking over as amateur psychologists, preachers of a secular world view, and deciders of what children need to know about sex, death and suicide, and other sensitive topics.
"Legislators have given schools this power," the editors remind us. "They assume that with the breakdown of the family, all students are at-risk and in need of government intervention." Many legislators and educators believe that "they are the ones that need to step in and make all these sick children well."
The book concludes with a chapter on "What Can Parents Do?" Especially useful is the "school checklist" of almost 100 questions to ask about a school's instructional practices and philosophy. Most of these questions apply also to private school instruction and even homeschooling, and can help parents discern the strengths and weaknesses of their children's school.