The vice-chair of the House Education Committee in Arizona, Republican State Rep. John Fillmore (below), has some interesting ideas about what will enable students to “fend for themselves in society” — and he’s poised to impose those ideas on students with a pair of bills that would ban abuse-prevention education while forcing students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
Current Arizona law allows schools to provide “age-appropriate” information about abuse — physical, sexual, and emotional — in dating relationships. Note that the law does not require schools to cover the subject; it merely permits it.
Fillmore’s bill, HB2005, proposes to repeal that law and replace it with an outright ban. His reasoning? Information on dating abuse will take time away from the academic skills that students need to live successfully in society:
“I just don’t believe, based upon conversations I’ve had, that the schools should necessarily be dealing with high school dating amongst the students when they should be dealing more with the reading, writing and arithmetic,” he told Capitol Media Services.
Never mind that all the reading, writing, and math in the world won’t much improve the experience of someone subjected to relationship violence.
Or that the U.S. Department of Education indicates that one-third of teenagers have experienced relationship violence, with one in six American women experiencing rape before their twenty-fifth birthday.
And just forget that the psychological impacts of dating violence lead students’ grades and outcomes to suffer anyway — it’s hard to focus on algebra when you’re trying to navigate an abusive relationship.
No, the key to better outcomes is clearly to ignore any form of education that doesn’t deal with basic academic skills. Fillmore dismisses any attempts to provide students with other life skills — like protecting themselves from abuse and violence — as “social engineering.”
There is one non-academic pursuit, however, that Fillmore insists is vitally important in schools: reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Currently, school districts must set aside an opportunity each day for students to say the Pledge if they so choose. Fillmore’s other bill, HB2017, would change the legislation’s language to require students to recite the Pledge, with a formal parental request the only way out.
In a comment that he clearly believes has absolutely nothing to do with “social engineering,” Fillmore said:
“Patriotism is a good thing in America,” he said. “The love of our country and our free enterprise system I think is something the kids should understand and respect.”
So it’s important to teach students to “understand and respect” mindless conformity and uncritical patriotism within the classroom. But God forbid we teach them skills to understand and respect their own needs and boundaries in relationships. Somehow, that’s not a necessary life skill.
Call me paranoid, but it sure sounds like someone wants future citizens docile, conformist, and easy to control.
(Screenshot via YouTube)