Thursday, August 07, 2003

Here's Mark Steyn on New York's new public Gay High School. This is a terrible idea. The last thing we need are more barriers keeping people apart.

The pro-segregationists' argument is that gay kids are bullied in normal high schools, so they'll be better off if they're only exposed to other gay kids. This is, of course, not precisely the best way to help people get along better with one another. Also, it's reminiscent of real-estate agents' arguments for promoting de facto residential segregation: "Oh, black people will be more comfortable around other black people anyway, so it's in their interest if we steer them toward black neighborhoods."

Here's Steyn's comeback:

...If it's unrealistic to expect Mayor Bloomberg's schools to crack down on bullying, wouldn't it be more cost-effective just to move all the bullies into Bully High School?

There they can bully each other to their hearts' content--or, as the educators would say, celebrate their identity in a purpose-built mutually threatening learning environment.

He's absolutely right. The main reason why public schools don't work any more is that they're full of kids who don't want to be there. Get them out of there. At age 14, eighth grade, you're old enough to get a job. If you don't give a crap about school, leave.

It's those students who don't care about learning who wreck the whole system. They're the ones who disrupt classes, the ones who attack and curse at teachers, the ones who bring their gang fights inside school walls, the ones who pick on anyone weaker than they are, the ones who make the "too cool for school" attitude de rigueur, and the ones who make it hard for the people who want to be there to learn anything in a regular high school, much less a high school in a tough neighborhood.

Get the bullies and the toughs and the punks out of the schools at age fourteen. If they can't read, that's their problem. (As a society, of course, we must provide adult education for those who somehow fell behind as children; I'll bet at least a few of our bullies will sign up for that around age 17 or 18 after three years working at Mickey D's.) They don't want to be in school, so give 'em job training if they want it and if not, turn 'em loose.

Note on Steyn: I like him a lot, but he has a real fixation on continuously reminding us of his heterosexuality. This is probably because everyone just assumes all theater critics are gay, but it seems to really bother him big time.

Seems there have been quite a few gay issues in the news recently, what with the Episcopalians' gay bishop (hey, it's their business, they're a private religious organization, if they want to make Saddam Hussein a bishop they can, and if you don't like it go join the Catholics); the gay marriage hoo-haw (I'm for it as long as they have to go through the same divorce crap straights do when they break up, including the high court costs. That'll cut way back on the number of gays who want to get married and make sure it's limited to people with real commitments instead of people who just want to get married as a political statement); and the Vatican's recent pronouncement (it's a private religious organization, the Pope can say whatever he wants and that's the deal. That's been official policy for a couple thousand years. If you don't like it, go join the Episcopalians.)

One final note on Gay High: I can't help but think that a few homosexuals are in favor of the public gay high school because of clannishness. I know several gay people--as an English teacher, I couldn't avoid it even if I wanted to--who do not like to be around straights unless they are in a position of control. There are two guys at my old school who refuse to treat straight male colleagues courteously. Fair enough, if they want to be bigots it's their problem, but I do not think this attitude is extremely rare, and I do not like gay separatists any more than I like any other kind of bigot. I also don't think it's any coincidence that these two guys are extreme left-wingers politically.

No comments: