News Release from Rep Bob McDermott, February 27, 2014
Representative Bob McDermott is in the process of reviewing the latest arrival from the mainland to be thrust upon the Hawaii public school system. This new program is called Teaching Tolerance.
On the heels of the controversial Pono Choice sex education curriculum, comes another, grant-funded program. This time it is for training teachers to impart the concept of “tolerance.” While everyone agrees with the principle of tolerance, it seems that Hawaii has historically already done a better job with it than those now purporting to show us what values we should adopt. Also, like Pono Choices, there is a disproportionate focus on normalizing homosexuality.
McDermott said, “I support tolerance. But there is a difference between tolerance and forced acceptance of sensitive and controversial issues that violate one’s faith, creed or moral code.”
One workbook example actually singles out, in a negative way, an “exclusionary fundamentalist Christian home.”
“Where’s the tolerance for people who hold faith-based morality?” asks McDermott.
The Teaching Tolerance Program is a product of the Southern Poverty Law Center based in Alabama. It is a K-12 teacher training for a “literacy-based anti-bias curriculum.” One of the problems is how it is being implemented. Teachers, who are required to develop this type of curriculum, can now get a turn-key solution for free. In fact, the promoters, with the full blessing of the Hawaii Department of Education, will pay teachers $250 for attending the pilot training. This raises all sorts of ethical issues. Are Hawaii teachers being bribed to promote a specific point of view in these materials to their students?
A preliminary review of the materials by McDermott’s staff shows that while tolerance of race, gender and physical disabilities are discussed, almost 25% of the example scenarios deal with gay acceptance. As he did during the Pono Choices debate, McDermott asks why the gay population (which is no more than 4% of the general population) is consistently disproportionately represented in these new teaching materials.
Rep. McDermott added: “There is something fundamentally wrong with the Department of Education imparting a version of ‘tolerance’ on our children, without first consulting the local and diverse families that already make Hawaii the most accepting and loving place in the world.”