The Corren Agreement | Breaking the Code | Correspondence Ledger | Attorney General's Letter | Making Sense of Making Space, Giving Voice | News Release 2011-06-22 | Letter to Vancouver School Board 2011-06-23
Making Sense of Making Space, Giving Voice
Sean Murphy, Director
CCRL Western Region
A critical review of Ministry of Education guidelines issued as a result of the Corren Agreement.
| . . . trenchant, well-documented, and articulate. . . . raises serious concerns about the dangers to democracy of an ideologically driven and secretive policy designed to impose a particular view of what is claimed to be social justice . . . |
Ross Labrie, Professor Emeritus,
Faculty of English, University of British Columbia
. . .a comprehensive, finely detailed, extensively researched and documented critique. . . an oasis with an abundance of observations and warnings which specify the negative nature and consequences of the Corren Agreement to children and their parents and upon restrictions of fundamental freedoms of conscience, religion and expression . . . superlative . . .
Walter Szetela, Professor Emeritus,
Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia. . . utterly devastating. . . all the stronger for being free of ad hominem attacks and appeals to emotion . . . Even those who disagree with him will, if honest, concede that he has made a powerful case. It is their duty to provide an equally well reasoned response, without resort to debate-evading cries of “homophobia!” Every educator and parent in British Columbia should read and consider this publication . . .
Department of History, University of Guelph
| Click HERE for free hard copy.|
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. When is curriculum not curriculum?
II. Getting the facts right
III. Making time for Making Space
IV. Making room for the elephant
V. Giving voice to the experts
VI. The ethic of the experts
VII. Power: ethic or ideology?
Notes to Part One
|PART TWO |
THE CORREN AGREEMENT AND MAKING SPACE, GIVING VOICE
VIII. The Corren Creed
IX. “The full range of gender identity and sexual orientation”
X. Setting the stage
XII. Identity politics
XIII. Religion, belief and culture
XIV. Ancestry, ethnicity, race, racism and “heterosexism”
XV. Tolerance, understanding, respect and acceptance
Notes to Part Two
FROM RELATIVISM TO AUTHORITARIANISM
XVI. The mask of moral neutrality
XVII. Taking off the mask
XVIII. The principles of “Newspeak”
XIX. Divide and conquer
Notes to Part Three
TRANSFORMING THE CURRICULUM
XX. The curriculum that is not curriculum
XXI. “Silences in the text”
XXII. Conforming to the Corren Creed
XXIII. The straitjacket of ideology
Notes to Part Four
WHY IT MATTERS
XXV. Why does it matter?
XXVI. A new separation?
Notes to Part Five
Commentary on the Themes of Authority, Power and Oppression in Making Space, Giving Voice
Notes to Appendix “A”
|Appendix “B” |
Commentary on the Themes of Power and Autonomy in Career and Personal Planning 8-12
Notes to Appendix “B”
|Appendix “C” |
Values and the Morality of Sentiment in Career and Personal Planning 8-12
Notes to Appendix “C”
The limited purpose of this paper is to highlight the liberty, family and educational interests threatened by a policy that will transform state schools into instruments for ideological instruction. Hence, there is no attempt to fully examine social justice theory, the morality of homosexual conduct or the notion of ‘marriage’ by persons of the same sex. Similarly, the few explicit references to Catholic teaching do not attempt to develop it fully or to establish the relationship between Catholic teaching and the common good. Where these subjects are touched upon, it is only to illustrate the problematic and often incoherent positions adopted by Making Space, Giving Voice, or to alert the reader to the existence of alternatives to the monolithic view advocated by the Ministry of Education.
Making Space, Giving Voice is the result is the result of the Corren Agreement, a private contract between the Ministry of Education and two homosexual activists to change the state school curriculum.1 The Agreement was signed secretly in 2006 and, by common consent, kept secret for over a month.2
When the deal was finally disclosed, the Ministry of the Attorney General directed attention almost exclusively to a proposed grade 12 social justice elective, which the Ministry of Education emphasized was not mandatory.3
In fact, the most important part of the Agreement was that children from Kindergarten to Grade 12 would be forced to participate in "queer positive" classes and lessons,4 even over the objections of their parents.5
Making Space, Giving Voice illustrates how these lessons will be taught. It provides some insight into the ultimate impact of the Corren Agreement on state school curriculum and upon fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of conscience, freedom of religion and freedom of expression.
The Ministry of Education allowed only six weeks for the public to respond to Making Space, Giving Voice,6 sharply curtailing opportunities for serious and searching criticism of an experiment in social engineering that is to be conducted upon children without the consent of their parents.7
This is an expanded and revised version of the original submission made to meet the Ministry’s deadline. The Catholic Civil Rights League encourages parents and others interested in the protection of fundamental freedoms to continue to communicate their concerns or objections to the Corren Agreement and Making Space, Giving Voice to the Minister of Education and boards of school trustees.
1. Making Space, Giving Voice proposes an ideology that identifies autonomy as the essential characteristic of the human person, teaches that human relationships and social justice depend primarily upon a balance of power, and denies the distinction between authority and power. This ideology is fundamentally flawed. It may account for some human failings, but it cannot comprehend man’s highest aspirations. It provides an unsatisfactory preparation for life in a liberal democracy.
2. The goal of Making Space, Giving Voice is to require students to affirm the moral and social acceptability of any and all sexual lifestyles presented to them. These include not just homosexuality and bisexuality, but "transgenderism" and a kaleidoscopic mix of purported "identities" and "orientations." Ministry of Education policy requires that all be portrayed in a positive light. "Acceptance" is presented as a moral, social and legal obligation imposed by the requirements of social justice. To require this is a direct attack on natural marriage, a fundamental human institution. Moreover, this kind of instruction presumes and even requires the suppression of critical thinking, the estrangement of many children from their parents and cultural and religious communities, and a continuing exploration of sub-cultures and activities beyond the experience of children and even most adults.
3. Making Space, Giving Voice is not part of the official curriculum, but, as a policy document, it establishes norms for state schools. It authorizes the introduction of " non-heterosexual realities" into every subject in the curriculum from Kindergarten to Grade 12, not excluding mathematics, entirely at the behest of the teacher, without consultation with parents, and even over their objections. It may be cited to justify professional persecution of non-conforming teachers and the withdrawal of state funding for non-compliant independent schools.
4. Notions of " diversity," "identity" and "culture" advocated by Making Space, Giving Voice do not withstand critical analysis. It draws false analogies and fails to make important distinctions and omits information relevant to informed decision making. At one point it is seriously mistaken about matters of public record, while at another it requires a polemical interpretation of complex and controversial information. Some sample lesson plans are ideologically driven, tendentious and, occasionally, seem less than honest.
5. The kind of social justice instruction proposed by Making Space, Giving Voice can only be accomplished at the expense of core curriculum subjects, since there is not sufficient time to meet core learning outcomes and also deal adequately with social justice topics and related issues. The imposition of an ideological straitjacket on some subjects, like English and literature, is spiritually and intellectually impoverishing.
6. The approach taken by Making Space, Giving Voice is openly authoritarian and includes elements that are characteristic of education in a totalitarian state: isolation of students from parents, destruction of natural marriage and natural family, and a methodology calculated to destroy the capacity to form and maintain convictions that are not approved by the state.
7. The development of state schools has, incidentally, provided the state or other powerful interests the means to bring their power to bear on fundamental freedoms. The Corren Agreement demonstrates the need to develop defences against the coercive potential of state education. This may require substantial changes to the scope of the powers and responsibilities of the Ministry of Education, as well as other reforms. Ultimately, the preservation of democratic freedoms may require the separation of school and state.