Whistleblower Report: Oregon Teacher
As I entered the classroom where one of our 2018-2019 school year trainings would take place, I was already angry and concerned. Without parental or teacher review or input, the district was implementing the use of Sanford Harmony, a social emotional program developed at Arizona State University and funded by entrepreneur Denny Sanford.
“The program’s mascot is ‘Z’,” the presenter said, smiling broadly and nodding. “Notice it’s not ‘she’ or ‘he’.” Nobody moved. “The program is being distributed to multiple school districts across the country free of charge by our wonderful friend and philanthropist, Mr. Sanford!”
I didn’t need to hear anything else about the program to know it was a social agenda being foisted on parents, teachers and students.
Unbeknownst to the presenter, I had already researched the program. What I found was a survey of roughly 2,000 teachers. Approximately 80% of the teachers hadn’t even used Sanford Harmony for a year yet. Needless to say, the glowing survey results proved nothing about the program, and of course were not scientific proof of the program’s effectiveness.
Should I tell the presenter I couldn’t find the research she was so exuberantly telling us about? Should I ask when parents had been given notice about this program? Should I ask why teachers never had any say in choosing this program, as we do with other curriculum?
“The program is being given to your district free! Isn’t that great?” I kept quiet.
Sure enough, later on when I had a chance to look through the lessons, they were nothing about building student character and virtue or helping them build friendships and civic values.
They were all about accepting whatever gender and sexual orientation people choose, and choosing one for yourself (titled ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ and ‘Empathy’). Teachers were encouraged to “remove the saliency” of speaking to the class as boys and girls, but rather as “students” or “class.”
Most concerning are the lessons on stereotypes. They aren’t really about stereotypes, but rather how to do what you want and tell anyone who doesn’t agree with you how unfair / biased / bigoted / uncaring / stereotyping, et cetera, they are. Including your parents.
Basically, the lessons encourage students to rebel against their parents if they don’t accept the child’s “choice of gender.” I’d been asked to teach these lessons in my classroom. My beliefs wouldn’t let me do it.
I was frightened for my job, my reputation and my ability to share other educational concerns with my colleagues. I brought my concerns to the principal, stating it was inappropriate for such topics to be taught, being of a controversial nature. I asked her when parents and teachers had been given a chance to review the program.
They hadn’t been given any such time, of course. “Since it’s not a core curriculum, the district doesn’t have to allow for that,” she said. My jaw dropped.
I looked her in the eye and said, “Anything taught to these children should first be given the approval of their parents.” She said I could skip the lessons I felt were controversial.
In our state, similar to California, a “Healthy Youth Act” has already passed. Any day now I expect a curriculum to arrive to go along with it. Similar to California, it will be full of nothing but gender identity and sexuality lessons. This time, it will be considered core curriculum and subject to the review of parents and teachers. I believe the Sanford Harmony program is just a soft opening to the acceptance of the contents of the “Healthy Youth Act”.
Children belong to their parents, and no school districts have any right to indoctrinate those children with ideas contrary to their parents’ guidance.