Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Family group questions “sexual orientation” in state’s new Model Curriculum Framework

LEXINGTON, KY—A family advocacy group today criticized the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) for including gay rights language in a new document designed to guide local school curricula. "The last thing we need in our schools is a shift in focus away from academics toward special interest politics," said Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst for The Family Foundation, who criticized the language which was included in an April 11 draft of the state's new Model Curriculum Framework. "We need less politics in schools and more academics," Cothran said.

This is the first time "sexual orientation" language has been included in a state document governing elementary and secondary education according to Cothran. "What we don't need in order to academically improve our schools is a larger dose of political correctness."

Cothran made the statement as part of a larger critique of the document, which he described as "vague, devoid of practical helps for educators, and riddled with the kind of amateur pop psychology popular in college education departments."

"The document betrays a serious misunderstanding of what is needed to improve education in this state," he said. "The authors repeat the mantra of '21st century learning' as if it will automatically drive away the problems schools have been suffering since the middle of the 20th century; it misdiagnoses instructional problems as the prevalence, rather than the lack of traditional teaching methodologies; and it seems to see technology as some kind of panacea for our education ills."

He also criticized the Model Curriculum for being heavy on "feel-good rhetoric" and light on actual substance. Cothran pointed in particular to repeated use of the term "critical thinking skills." "Our educational policy makers in this state seem to think that if you merely repeat the term 'critical thinking skills' often enough you can actually bring it about. They offer no definition of the term, much less any practical help on how to inculcate it in students."

The Family Foundation was a leading voice in the mid-1990s debate over education reform in Kentucky.


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