Two days ago, I brought to your attention the fact that the San Francisco School Board — despite facing a $113 million dollar budget shortfall over the next two years, despite its admission that it will be cutting summer school and academic programs, and despite the fact that there has not been a sudden outbreak of extreme prejudice against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) students in San Francisco’s public schools — was seriously contemplating putting into place a whole new program aimed at tracking discrimination against the GLBT crowd and at educating the San Francisco student population to drop words such as “dyke,” “fag” and “queer” from its insult lexicon (although I’ll just note here that all those words are very “in” with the Queer activist crowd).
I was careful to point out that this program was simply the subject of debate at the Board meeting. To be honest, I thought it would die on the vine, because even San Francisco politicians can’t be so crazy that they’ll openly undermine academic programs during a budget shortfall while simultaneously creating a whole new layer of costly victim class bureaucracy. But as Mencken should have said, “No one ever went broke underestimating Progressives’ pathological need to tax the public to obtain reparations for self-defined PC victim groups.” And so, in a turn of events that appears to have surprised even the SF Chronicle‘s reporter, the San Francisco School Board turned its back on the academic needs of the majority of the students trapped in San Francisco’s mediocre public schools, and pandered:
The San Francisco school board added to the district’s massive $113 million shortfall over the next two years by voting Tuesday night to fund a substantial increase in instruction and services related to gay and lesbian issues.
Though the district is facing layoffs and significant program cuts, board members unanimously agreed that the estimated $120,000 annual price tag was worth it to support gay and lesbian students – children who are more likely to experience bullying and skip school because they are afraid.
The resolution calls for adding a district position to manage “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning” youth issues. It also requires the district to keep tabs on harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation and distribute educational packets every year to parents encouraging them to discuss sexuality, gender identity and safety with their children.
The measure, sponsored by the city’s Youth Commission and Human Rights Commission and the district’s Student Advisory Council, requires district staff to seek outside funding to cover the costs, but guarantees at least a half-time position and other services regardless.
About 13 percent of San Francisco’s middle school students and 11 percent of high school students self-identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, according to a district survey.
Read the rest here.
(As an aside, the last paragraph I quoted has a very high level of self-identification compared to national numbers. One reason there might be such a high level of self-identification is that GLBT kids in SF do feel fairly safe, despite the fact that they are bullied more than their peers — or, at least, safe enough to explore and recognize their sexuality. It could also be that gay parents raise gay children, something that does not answer the nature/nature debate about gayness, but that seems to happen fairly often to the extent I’ve observed gay parents. San Francisco, of course, has a lot of gay — and, I might add, loving and wonderful — parents. It could also be because the constant focus on gay sex in San Francisco’s schools and streets affects youngsters’ sexuality, pushing them in experimental directions they might sublimate, happily or not, in a slightly more repressive environment. )
But even with a high 13% GLBT self-identification, and even accepting that these kids are less happy than your average teenager (who is often plenty unhappy), and even accepting that GLBT youth are the subject of greater bullying, it strikes me as unconscionable to for a School Board, which is tasked with the well-being of all students in the district, to engage in this type of touchy-feelie programing when the district as a whole is going broke. The fact is that bullying should be unacceptable regardless of the nature of victim. Heck, I got bullied unmercifully at some rough schools because I was short and wore glasses. The solution is to de-rough the schools, many of which are worn out and gang-ridden, rather than to focus on a specifically identified victim group. This is a weird version of the Left’s obsession with equality of outcome, rather than equality of opportunity. Rather than making a better, safer environment for all, the Progressives are trying to ensure that GLBT students are picked on at precisely the same statistical rate as their non-GLBT peers.
As I pointed out the other day, San Francisco isn’t alone in this desire to appease minority sensibilities at the expense of the majority. Berkeley, right across the Bay, garnered significant headlines when its school district proposed cutting science programs (that is, solidly academic programs) because not enough minorities were signing up for them. After an uproar from parents who care more about their children’s education than parading them as sacrificial lambs to Progressive politics, the school district has backed off the plan, at least for now.
Fundamentally, this isn’t about GLBT safety, no matter how the School Board dresses it up. This is simply the Progressive mindset at work: minorities are victims; victims need reparations; within the context of public education, reparations come in the form of denying academic opp0rtunities to all students (including, of course, the victims themselves).