Education Report Fall 2022

By Jen Wooldridge



SIGNIFICANT GROWTH IN CHRISTIAN SCHOOL

Smith Mountain Lake Christian Academy in Moneta, Virginia, has exploded in growth over the last few years. This school was the first school that RenewaNation took through our revitalization process in partnership with EastLake Community Church. The school has grown from 34 students in June 2015 to more than 500 students in fall 2022. God has provided two new school buildings and a football, baseball, and softball complex and high school building that are currently under construction. God is up to something big in the arena of education!


PORNOGRAPHIC BOOK REINSTATED IN FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA

Despite being listed for ages 18 and up on Amazon, Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe is available in school libraries across the country. After backlash, some school districts have pulled the book that includes graphic depictions of sex acts, bodily functions, and strong language.1 However, two Fairfax County Public Schools committees of “school administrators, librarians, parents, and students” unanimously recommended that the book should remain available, claiming a “commitment to supporting diversity in literature.”2


1. Will McDuffie, “Books including ‘Gender Queer’ being pulled from schools, sparking controversy,” ABC News, November 13, 2021, https://abcnews.go.com/US/books-including-gender-queer-pulled-schools-sparking-controversy/story?id=81110458.

2. “FCPS Reinstates Two Books, Reaffirming Commitment to Supporting Diversity in Literature,” Fairfax County Public Schools, November 23, 2021, https://fcps.edu/news/fcps-reinstates-two-books-reaffirming-commitment-supporting-diversity-literature.


SCHOOL HELPS STUDENTS HIDE GENDER DYSPHORIA FROM PARENTS

A Fremont High School in Oakland, California, has a new dressing room for trans students in partnership with The Transition Closet.1 Teacher Thomas Martin-Edwards says, “The goal of the transition closet is for our students to wear the clothes that their parents approve of, come to school and then swap out into the clothes that fit who they truly are.” He likens the concept to Superman changing in a phone booth: “Clark Kent is actually the disguise. And when Clark Kent goes into the phone booth, he transforms into Superman, who is really just who he truly is . . . So this gives our trans students the opportunity to be the superheroes that we know they are.”


1. Libby Emmons, “Oakland school launches ‘Transition Closet’ to help students hide gender dysphoria from parents,” The Post Millennial, February 16, 2022, https://thepostmillennial.com/oakland-school-transition-closet-dysphoria.


RECORD 41% REJECTION OF MATH BOOKS FOR INCLUDING CRT

Out of 132 submitted textbooks, 41 percent were rejected by the Florida Department of Education (DOE) for including CRT.1 A statement from the DOE said, “The highest number of books rejected were for grade levels K-5, where an alarming 71 percent were not appropriately aligned with Florida standards or included prohibited topics and unsolicited strategies.” The DOE further explained that the “reasons for rejecting textbooks included references to Critical Race Theory (CRT), inclusions of Common Core, and the unsolicited addition of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in mathematics.”


Controversies over Common Core have swirled for some time, and CRT has been on the forefront lately, most notably in the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election.2 However, many are not yet aware of the risks of Social Emotional Learning in education. A study by the Pioneer Institute conveys the problems with SEL: “Proponents of SEL call for focusing less on academic content and knowledge in schools, and more on student attributes, mindsets, values, and behaviors. Not only are the goals of SEL ill-defined, but they also raise significant, unanswered questions about what attitudes should be promoted.”3 Jane Robbins, co-author of the study, aptly stated, “It’s one thing to direct your own moral, ethical, and emotional development or that of your children. But having a government vendor or unqualified public school officials implement an SEL curriculum based on coffee-table psychology is quite another.”


1. Anders Hagstrom, “Florida rejects 41% of math textbooks for including CRT, most aimed at K-5 students: ‘Impermissible,’” Fox News, April 17, 2022, https://foxnews.com/politics/florida-math-textbook-critical-race-theory-desantis.

2. Katherine Hamilton, “Critical Race Theory Top Issue in Virginia Election, Democrats Still Insist It ‘Isn’t Real,’” Breitbart News, accessed May 5, 2022, https://breitbart.com/politics/2021/11/03/critical-race-theory-top-issue-virginia-election-democrats-insist-isnt-real.

3. Editorial Staff, “New Study Finds Multiple Problems with Push for Social-Emotional Learning in K-12 Education,” Pioneer Institute, March 11, 2019, https://pioneerinstitute.org/featured/new-study-finds-multiple-problems-with-push-for-social-emotional-learning-in-k-12-education.