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Education Briefs 
High schoolers in Burlington, Vermont attended a publicly financed after-school program called "Gendertopia" at Vermont's Queer Youth Center. The program taught students a radical view of gender identity. "Most people come into it thinking, 'Oh there's two genders and two sexualities,'" explained one junior student. "People assume it's boy and girl, but it's so much more than that. There's a whole world out there full of different genders." (Associated Press, 6-7-09)

After the story made national news, the Lawrence, Kansas school district rehired history teacher Tim Latham, who was fired last spring over his conservative political views. Latham's supervisor, Assistant Principal Jan Gentry, had criticized Latham's website as "too patriotic," and said of his McCain-Palin bumper sticker, "I don't know how you could support that woman." District Superintendent Randy Weseman confirmed that Latham's firing was an "injustice," and that the district would reinstate his contract. (Foxnews.com, 6-23-09)

A California state appeals court ruled in favor of the state's policy to administer all achievement tests and high school exit exams in English. Californians approved a ballot measure in 1998 to prohibit most bilingual instruction. The First District Court of Appeal ruled against bilingual-education groups and nine school districts, concluding that the No Child Left Behind Act does not authorize a court to be "the official second-guesser" of state testing methods and requirements. (San Francisco Chronicle, 7-31-09)

A taxpayer-funded program in North Carolina gives 12- to 18-year-old girls $1 a day not to get pregnant. "Our three goals are that they avoid pregnancy, graduate from high school and enroll in college," said maternity nurse Hazel Brown, who founded the "College-Bound Sisters" program. Girls who participate must attend weekly meetings, and some have already graduated with more than $2,000 in the bank from the program. (WXII12.com, 6-24-09)

Former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders's extreme views on sex ed won a standing ovation from the annual summit of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. Elders served one year under President Bill Clinton before she was dismissed for advocating teaching young people about masturbation as a way to curtail riskier sexual behaviors. Elders's speech in July affirmed her long-standing support for school-based clinics offering contraceptives and other "health services" to all students. Elders also spoke out in favor of "comprehensive" sex education beginning in kindergarten. When CNSNews.com staff asked Elders about statistics showing that African-Americans constitute 13% of America's population but 36% of aborted babies, Elders blamed lack of sex education, lack of available contraceptives, and failure to "let women be in control of their reproductive health." "I feel like anybody out there in the black community looking at this as genocide, to me genocide is having an unplanned pregnancy such that you don't get your education and you end up growing up poor and slaves for the rest of their lives," said Elders. "That, to me, is genocide." (CNSNews.com, 7-9-09)

In July, Arizona became the most recent state to authorize tracking adults' vaccination histories in a statewide, electronic registry. The Arizona State Immunization Information System has tracked children's vaccinations since 1998. According to the American Immunization Registry Association, 27 other states also maintain electronic immunization registries for adults as well as for children. (Arizona Republic, 7-19-09)

The federal government has called on school districts to set up in-school flu-shot clinics to administer the swine flu vaccine this fall. This appears set to become the most widespread school vaccination effort since the first administrations of the polio vaccine. Federal officials will ship the swine flu vaccine to states in mid-October, and millions of students will receive two injections each, about three weeks apart. (MSNBC.com, 8-16-09) The Modesto, California school district backed away from a policy that would have allowed students to leave campus without parental consent to receive "confidential medical services," including abortions. The board passed in June a preliminary motion in favor of the new policy, but retreated from that position by declining to vote again on the proposal in August. The Vista and Fairfield-Suisun School Districts also recently rejected policy changes that would have allowed students to leave campus for medical treatment without their parents' knowledge. (www.pacificjustice.org, 8-27-09)

September 2009 Education Reporter
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Education Reporter is published monthly by Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund with editorial offices at 7800 Bonhomme Ave., St. Louis, MO 63105, (314) 721-1213. The views expressed in this newsletter are those of the persons quoted and should not be attributed to Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund. Annual subscription $25. Back issues available at $2.
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