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Opinion: Distracted colleges fail to equip workforce, hurt families

Seattle University students are occupying the lobby of the school’s college of humanities, demanding the resignation of its dean.

The offense? According to the students’ petition, the college’s faculty and curriculum “traumatize,” “tokenize,” and “pathologize” students, resulting in a “profoundly damaging” student experience that has “lasting effects on [their] mental and emotional well-being.”

The students contend that the problems they are facing will only be corrected once the Seattle University humanities curriculum is replaced with a “non-Eurocentric interdisciplinary curriculum,” taught by staff from “marginalized backgrounds,” and “especially professors of color and queer professors.”  They want the college to “radically reinterpret what it means [for the college] to educate teachers and leaders for a just and humane world.”

In their minds, this can only be achieved by “centering dialogue about racism, gentrification, sexism, colonialism, imperialism, global white supremacy, and other ethical questions about systems of power.”  In other words, they want education to be rooted in the victim theories popular in the leftist culture of the modern academy.

FPIW’s most recent video, filmed at Seattle University, illustrates perfectly what happens when proper education takes a backseat to leftist social justice causes.

Higher education’s undue emphasis on elevating social justice, diversity, and tolerance diverts attention and resources away from the traditional purpose of education, namely, to prepare students with the skills and knowledge necessary to become productive citizens in a dynamic economy and society.

The recent events and video filmed at Seattle University are manifestations of the prevailing trend in higher education that seeks to indoctrinate students with a perspective that leaves them wholly unprepared for the workforce, and thus harming families in the long run.

Students of today and employees of tomorrow suffer when education is disproportionately devoted to topics arising from postmodern academic thought.  The University of Washington, for example, offers an undergraduate major in “Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies,” which features course offerings such as “Queer Desires,” “Feminist International Political Economy,” and “Lesbian Lives and Culture.”  It goes without saying that most students who devote their academic studies to classes like these will likely be unprepared for the modern workplace.

There is little doubt among employers that colleges and universities are failing to properly prepare students for the workforce. A Braun Research survey of 500 senior executives indicates that nearly 60% of them believe that higher education is inadequately preparing students for today’s workforce.

Where is the skills gap most apparent? The senior executives who participated in the Braun Research survey mentioned soft skills (44%), including communication, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration, as well as a lack of technical skills (22%). A robust study of humanities in core curricula would address the former while additional STEM programs and technology integration in the classroom would alleviate the latter.

Simply put, students whose education focuses primarily on gender and race studies, cultural and moral relativism, and anti-colonialist, anti-American, and anti-Western sentiments are far less prepared to make a living for themselves, let alone provide for a family.

Even students who don’t major in gender or race studies experience a lower quality education when taught by liberal academic institutions.  The National Association of Scholars publishes a list of the books most commonly assigned by universities as required reading for incoming freshman.  Their study found that the majority of assigned books are recently published and politically progressive, with topics focusing on victimization and oppression.

It appears that instead of encouraging their incoming students to familiarize themselves with enduring literature or books that will prepare them for academic and professional success, schools have been using texts to advocate progressive causes.

In recent years, universities began hiring diversity officers and other administrators to ensure compliance with prevailing conceptions of political correctness. Nonacademic administrative employment at U.S. colleges increased by 60% from 1993 to 2009, according to data from the Department of Education. This administrative bloat drives up tuition costs, increases student loan debt, and crowds out valuable resources that could otherwise be used for instruction and research.

With total national student loan debt nearing $1.25 trillion and graduating students facing an average debt of $37,172, colleges and universities have an obligation to provide students with a quality education that prepares them to enter the workforce. Without these skills and knowledge, both individuals and families suffer.

This ballooning burden of student loan debt increases financial insecurity.  Quality education leads to sustainable employment, providing the economic foundation without which many millennials will not enter into marriage.

Improving the quality of education will increase economic opportunity and strengthen families. To accomplish this task, colleges and universities must refocus their efforts on providing students with the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in the modern workplace, without the added distractions of diversity and social justice advocacy.


Blaine Conzatti is a columnist and 2016 Research Fellow at the Family Policy Institute of Washington.  He can be reached at Blaine@FPIW.org.

New FPIW Video to be Released Monday

 

The next installment in FPIW’s wildly popular College Kids Say the Darndest Things series will be released on Monday, May 9th at 7:00pm Eastern/4:00 pm Pacific.

The first episode of the series, which aims to generate conversation about some of the most pressing issues in our culture, has been played more than 2.1 million times in over 220 countries.  In the episode, filmed on campus at the University of Washington in Seattle, FPIW Executive Director Joseph Backholm asked students questions about identity; specifically, whether or not he should be able to identify as a 6’5″ Chinese woman. The answers he got were both hilarious and highly concerning. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out here.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 3.15.03 PM

Episode 2 was filmed near Seattle University, a private, Jesuit Catholic school located about three miles from the University of Washington.  In it, Joseph, a law-school alumnus of Seattle University, asks students about the difference between men and women.  Like in the first episode, the answers are hilarious, but also highlight the strange world view students are being taught by the academic establishment — both in secular and faith-based institutions.

Episode 2 will be screened Friday night at FPIW’s Annual Dinner, Beyond Football: An Evening with Steve Largent.  A limited number of tickets and sponsorships for that event are still available (click here for tickets).  

For continuous updates, be sure to follow @FPIW on Twitter.

Sex Offender Led North Carolina LGBT Bathroom Ordinance Efforts

 

In late 2015, the Washington State Human Rights Commission quietly put forward a new rule requiring all public establishments to grant locker room, shower, and bathroom access to any individual, at any time, regardless of that individual’s biological realities.  The rule, which also curbed concerned citizens’ legal ability to ask “unwelcome questions” of an individual if they felt uncomfortable, has since been attempted in various forms and fashions in cities and states across the country.

When the Charlotte, N.C. City Council passed their version of the open-facilities ordinance earlier this year, the Charlotte LGBT Chamber of Commerce led the charge to make it happen.

And leading the Charlotte LGBT Chamber of Commerce was convicted sex-offender Chad Sevearance-Turner.

The Spartanburg Herald-Journal reported that Chad Sevearance-Turner had been a youth minister at a church in Gaffney, South Carolina.  Sevearance-Turner was charged and convicted for “committing or attempting a lewd act upon a child under 16,” after taking advantage of a teenage church member while the child slept.

He recently resigned from the LGBT Chamber of Commerce after his record as a sex-offender surfaced.

While we know that not every person in gender transition is a sex offender, acting as though sex offenders do not exist in the LGBT ranks is an ignorant mistake.

In January, FPIW reported the story of Johanna Wolf, a Washington-based transgender activist and very vocal supporter of our Washington’s open-locker rooms policy.  Wolf, prior to claiming womanhood and changing names, was known as Jonathan Adrian Wolf.

Jonathan Adrian Wolf was charged and convicted for the rape of a minor female in Nebraska in 2006.

By virtue of involvement in the efforts to keep Washington’s open-bathroom rule in place, sex offenders like Wolf want unmitigated access to women’s locker rooms, showers, and bathrooms.

After being convicted of raping women.

Sex predators are always on the lookout for an easy, low-risk opportunity to take advantage of victims, and we must not provide it to them.

Washingtonians have known from the beginning that this rule would only bring harm to innocent people. The University of Toronto, one of the first institutions to put this sort of policy in place, completely reversed its decision after biologically male students were caught “holding their cellphones over female students’ shower stalls and filming them as they showered.”

Not taking into account the damages that the loss of privacy causes, people of both sexes deserve better than to wonder if the man dressed in a dress is there for legitimate purposes or if they are there to take photos of them showering over the stall.

Locker rooms, showers, and bathroom facilities exist to protect privacy during vulnerable times.  They should not be the laboratory for a social experiment gone awry.

If you’re on board with FPIW and maintaining sanity on issues like this, please consider amplifying that message by partnering with us financially.

Seattle Police Arrest Man in Wig for Voyeurism and Indecent Exposure

The Seattle Police Department last month arrested a 33-year old suspect for indecent exposure and voyeurism in the Miller Park neighborhood, after victims told police a man had exposed himself and chased after them with a hand down his pants.  One woman said he was wearing a wig and denim-cutoff shorts.
The suspect told police, after his arrest, that he identifies as a woman.
The Seattle Police Department announced after the arrest that they had “booked her [emphasis added] into the King County Jail,” further fueling speculation that the suspect had been admitted into a women’s section of the King County Jail — immediately after being accused of six separate sex-crimes against women.
These incidents have added yet another level to the list of concerns brought forth by opponents of the state’s new open-locker room policy.  The policy, which went into effect in November, mandates that schools, businesses, and other “public accommodations” grant complete access to public showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms based on the way an individual claims to identify rather than their biological sex and anatomical state.

This case has also reinforced the concern that sex predators may claim to suffer from gender dysphoria to either gain access to private places or in an effort to receive reduced sentences for their crimes.  Women’s prison sentences are, on average, 63 percent shorter than men’s, based upon convictions for the same crimes.

“The concern, of course, is not that all transgendered people are sex predators, but that the bathroom rule doesn’t allow us to keep people like this suspect from being able to prey on women in private places,” said Zach Freeman, Director of Communications for the Family Policy Institute of Washington.  “Yes, he got arrested, but the damage to these women has already been done. We really need to focus on stopping this assault on women going forward.”

This new case comes just a week after it was revealed that one of the more vocal proponents of the open-locker rooms rule living in Seattle is previously a registered sex-offender in Nebraska — a felon, convicted of sex crimes against a woman, before moving to Washington, changing his name, and presenting as a woman.

The Just Want Privacy campaign has been launched to repeal the dangerous open-locker rooms rule.  Check out their website for more information on how you can join the effort to keep women and children safe.  

Several Missouri Senators Try to Kill Religious Freedom — And Fail

 

Democratic Senators in Missouri’s state legislature have ended a filibuster that lasted more than 39 hours over SJR39, a joint resolution that proposes to amend the state constitution to prevent the state from punishing individuals or religious entities who decline to participate in gay marriage ceremonies.

The bill, introduced by State Senator Bob Onder, also provides protections for worship facilities and clergy that refuse to participate in the ceremonies due to sincerely held religious beliefs, as well as vendors and individuals citizens.  Senator Onder argues that religious beliefs are a perfectly acceptable reason to decline services.

Lawmakers who filibustered the bill claimed the bill was a “mean-spirited attempt” to unfairly treat LGBT individuals. However, Republican sponsors of the law maintain that the change would not harm those individuals, rather it would only seek to protect the consciences of Missouri’s religious population.

The proposal has passed final reading in the Senate and awaits a vote in the House. If the proposal passes in the House, then Missouri voters will be given the chance to vote on it either on the August or November ballot.

FPIW applauds the Missouri Senate for their efforts to pass this resolution, despite angry opposition, and we hope that our own state legislature will place special emphasis on the protection for religious freedom in Washington moving forward.

Join forces with FPIW to shore up religious protections in Washington State!

To follow this story, you can check out updates from our sister organization, the Missouri Family Policy Council.

Progressive Media Now Promoting Polygamy and Pedophilia

 

For years, pro-marriage advocates argued that redefining marriage would be a slippery slope that would lead to the acceptance of other behavioral and societal deviations.  “Bigots! Homophobes! Fearmongers!” their opponents screamed in chorus, dismissing the concerns without so much as a rational conversation.

Today, those concerns seem quasi-prophetic.

“Once marriage is unhinged from the biological roots that have been there for a millennium, marriage isn’t redefined, it is undefined,” said David Fowler, president of FACT, prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage. “Any relationship that people want to have and call a marriage will be entitled to become a marriage.”

Fowler was right — this ‘undefinition’ has given birth to a plethora of calls for tolerance, acceptance, and equality for other groups — even groups whose activity has always been seen as a perversion and danger to society.  And who is leading this charge?  Progressive media.

Marriage, for thousands of years, was defined as a relationship between one man and one woman.  That definition has recently been changed to mean a relationship between two consenting adults, irregardless of gender.  But why stop there?  I mean, if we are really for equality, we can’t leave anyone out.  Let’s at least be consistent in our logic.

The Huffington Post recently wrote about a campaign that has been launched to remove the “stigma” associated with polyamorous relationships, and to normalize those intimate, consenting, marital relationships involving more than two people. In fact, HuffPo has devoted an entire section of their website to the exploration, promotion, and acceptance of polyamory.

But the Huffington Post is right.  If society is really into equality, and if the ‘love is love’ mantra is really the cornerstone of international public policy as it relates to marriage and intimacy, what reason would any court have to block polygamous relationships from becoming the next law-of-the-land?  Why can a woman not marry her cat, or her grandson, or a man marry his computer, or himself?  If they’re in love, and consent is achieved by all parties, what’s wrong with it?

Progressive media is absolutely obsessed with driving societal change, regardless of how damaging it is. Meanwhile, everyone else is too afraid to speak up on issues of sexuality because they don’t want to be put on the eternal bigot blacklist.

Take this article from Salon.com, imploring people not to judge pedophiles too harshly because they can’t control their feelings about wanting to be intimate with children. As if some sort of congratulations are in order for those ‘heroes’ who resist their sexually deviant urges, Salon is now promoting tolerance for individuals who desire to have intercourse with children.  Keep in mind that Salon.com is read by over 322 million people per year.  

Are we so afraid to speak up that we can’t just call out evil when we see it?

The London Times ran this article from an anonymous female ‘academic’ who says that having intercourse with your biological brother shouldn’t be illegal, or even looked down upon.  While essentially calling us to ignore the biological realities of sexual relationships between close family members, the London Times borrows the same talking point that pro-gay rights activists have used for decades now: if it’s love, who are you to judge?

By calling us ignorant and bigoted, the sexual revolutions warriors in the progressive media have almost entirely avoided answering tough questions about the realities they’d prefer not exist.  By definition, they are being both ignorant and bigoted.

In 1975, an overwhelming 75 percent of the U.S. population felt that homosexuality was always wrong, and in 1988, 89 percent of Americans still opposed same-sex marriage.  But it took less than 20 years for Americans to turn 180 degrees and radically change opinions on those issues.

This dramatic and quick change was driven by the premise that it is both improper and illegal to deny people what they desire if their motivation is love.

Perhaps not many people in our society today would openly admit openness to the normalization and legalization of pedophilia, incest, or marriage to inanimate objects.  But advocates for those lifestyles are using the same arguments to make their case that the gay rights movement has made for decades:

a.) You can’t discriminate against me because my sexual preference doesn’t conform to an accepted societal norm;

b.) I was born with this preference, making it therefore unchangeable;

c.) To deny me that which I desire is a violation of my human rights.

People need to stop accepting these as legitimate and valid excuses.  Otherwise, we’ll meet back here in 2035 to have a talk about how it became legal for pedophiles to take children home with them to enjoy some hedonistic pleasure.

The U.S. Supreme Court made a major mistake.  By demonstrating to the public that it retains the authority to change historically significant institutions with the issuance of a legal opinion, it broadcasted to the public that it retains the authority to change that definition again.

Enter, fifty other sexual interest groups wanting their behaviors normalized and accepted.

Through it all, the progressive media is promoting the very deviancies the gay lobby said would never enter the discussion, and they’re doing it openly.  And it all started with the ‘un-defining’ of marriage.

If feelings of love — now the basis for all legitimate relationships — are truly just ingrained biological programs involving no choice or discernment, then marriage no longer exists and we should all move on.

Zachary Freeman is the Director of Communications for the Family Policy Institute of Washington, and is the publisher of TheCollegeConservative.com.  Share your thoughts on Twitter with @ZacharyGFreeman.

6 Religious Freedom Battles in Schools to Watch in 2016

 

For many years, Christian students and faculty have been increasingly targeted by secular school administrations for demonstrating religious beliefs, whether through prayer or other forms of expression.

Coach Joe Kennedy

Bremerton High School Coach Joe Kennedy congratulates a player at a football game in September.

The issue is all too familiar for Washingtonians, who have recently seen a state school district explicitly punish public prayer by students and faculty.  The administration at Bremerton High School has suspended and threatened to fire football Coach Joe Kennedy for briefly praying with the team before and after football games. The school ordered Kennedy to halt his public displays of faith so as to “avoid alienation of any team member.”

Related: Help us honor Coach Kennedy for his courage on May 6th!

And it doesn’t appear this targeting of religious expression in schools is going away any time soon.

While it may still be early in 2016, here are just a few of the major violations of the right to religious expression that have occurred in public schools so far this year:

  • A school district in Hollister, Missouri, told students they could no longer participate in organized prayer during school hours after a cell-phone video emerged showing a large group of students praying with a visiting Christian minister during lunch time.  The students were the ones who first approached the minister — who is not a representative or employee of the school district — and asked him to lead a prayer.  The footage prompted the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), an atheist advocacy group, to send a letter pressuring the Hollister School District to ban the practice in the future.
  • Two schools in Fairfield County, Ohio first suspended, and then reportedly banned a Church-led Bible study after receiving complaints, also from the FFRF.  Consequently, the Liberty Union-Thurston school district conducted investigations into school Bible clubs, as the FFRF claimed that invitations to local church pastors to participate in club activities is illegal, despite the fact that the groups are entirely student-led.
  • In February, a U.S. District Court judge ordered the Chino Valley Unified School District in Arizona to stop prayer at school board meetings, arguing that it is an “unconstitutional government endorsement of religion.” The board’s activities included reading Bible passages and opening board meetings with religious invocations.  The school board has since voted 3-2 to hire a lawyer to appeal the Court’s decision.
  • A public prayer at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Cooper Elementary School in Bentonville, Arkansas, has been labeled as unconstitutional.  An individual speaking at the ceremony, which celebrated the opening of a fitness trail, said a blessing over the project and allowed the spectators to participate in a prayer.  The main issue centers around whether or not the event was officially sponsored by the school; only about 20 students and administrators attended the ceremony.
  • An Illinois public school district has placed a ban on coach-led prayers, arguing that basketball coaches leading their teams in prayer is unconstitutional. The school district’s decision comes after they received pressure from the FFRF, which argued that, because coaches are employees of the school and the district, their behavior constitutes an official endorsement of religion.
  • The American Civil Liberties Union has threatened to file a lawsuit against the Azusa Unified School District in California because one of its teachers displays a portrait of Jesus and Bible verses in his classroom.  The ACLU has warned the district that unless it prohibits the teacher, Michael Martinez, from displaying the religious decor, they will initiate a lawsuit, claiming that the presence of the object signify an endorsement of Christianity by the school district.

Organizations such as the FFRF and the ACLU may claim to be fighting for the separation of church and state, but their actions indicate that their real goal is the censorship of religious speech in public spaces.  They claim that religious expression in the presence of others creates victims — and that it should not be tolerated.

We must resist this policing of speech.  If we don’t, speaking openly about our personal religious convictions will be the least of our problems.  Indeed, we may not be able to speak openly at all.

Schools need protection now more than ever.  If you believe in protecting students’ rights to pray openly in schools, will you stand with FPIW to protect religious freedom in our state?

American College of Pediatricians Blasts Gender Fluidity Activism

The Florida-based American College of Pediatricians has released a statement that urges lawmakers, educators, and citizens around the United States to reject the normalizing of surgical or chemical impersonation of the opposite sex to children.

This statement comes on the heels of efforts by activists in several states to normalize and promote a concept of gender fluidity — where an individual can change their gender identity and presentation, without regard for biological realities.

The statement makes eight points, affirming the belief of many in the medical community that the social experiment of gender fluidity is not, in fact, a scientific truth, but rather a state of confusion and willful ignorance of biological reality.

  1. Human sexuality is an objective biological binary trait: “XY” and “XX” are genetic markers of health – not genetic markers of a disorder.
  2. No one is born with a gender. Everyone is born with a biological sex. Gender (an awareness and sense of oneself as male or female) is a sociological and psychological concept; not an objective biological one.
  3. A person’s belief that he or she is something they are not is, at best, a sign of confused thinking.
  4. Puberty is not a disease and puberty-blocking hormones can be dangerous.
  5. According to the DSM-V, as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.
  6. Children who use puberty blockers to impersonate the opposite sex will require cross-sex hormones in late adolescence. Cross-sex hormones are associated with dangerous health risks including but not limited to high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke and cancer.
  7. Rates of suicide are twenty times greater among adults who use cross-sex hormones and undergo sex reassignment surgery, even in Sweden which is among the most LGBQT – affirming countries.
  8. Conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.

You can read the rest of the statement here, and leave your comments below.

Convicted sex offender seeks access to women’s locker rooms through bathroom law

 

The battle over the Washington bathroom rule repeal just got a whole lot more interesting.

Transgender activists have sounded off in recent weeks claiming that they are being unfairly characterized by those concerned about locker room privacy and safety following the launch of the Just Want Privacy campaign.  Proponents of repealing the open bathroom rule have repeatedly said that their concern is not that the transgender community is going to harm women and children, but that it creates opportunity for those who would seek access to places they don’t belong.

Much of this debate has taken place in social media.

Seattle-based transgender rights activist Johanna Wolf has been among the most vitriolic in her responses to privacy activists, claiming that it’s only their “hatred” and “bigotry” that is trying to keep her and others out of the locker rooms and showers.

Recently we have discovered that Johanna used to be a man, Jonathan Adrian Wolf, who is a sex-offender convicted of raping a 20-year old deaf girl in Nebraska in 2006.

Why is this relevant?

Because a sex-offender is now seeking access to a woman’s locker room through this open bathroom policy.

Wolf, now identifying as a woman (view the name change document here), appears to be shocked and offended that people in Washington want to take away “her” rights to use the locker room and shower of “her” choice (caution: strong language):

johanna

Obviously, it remains true that not everyone who experiences gender dysphoria is a sex-offender or wanting to do harm.

But the fact is, this new rule would create liability for businesses who would seek to intervene in cases like this.

Despite maintaining residency in the Seattle-area, Wolf does not currently appear as a registered sex offender in the online sex-offender registry operated by the Washington State Department of Corrections or the database operated by King County.

There are already many cases of men impersonating transgender women to gain access to private places.  Now we know there are convicted sex offenders seeking access to women’s bathrooms under the same rationale.

Just in case you needed another reason to be concerned about this new bathroom rule, now you have one.

Let us know what you think about this in the comments section, below.

FPIW Releases New Video, “Truth is Compassion”

 

 

The Family Policy Institute of Washington has released its newest video, entitled “Truth is Compassion.”

This video was picked up and editorialized by Glenn Beck’s media giant TheBlaze over the weekend, pushing it into national spotlight as several states grapple with issues relating to transgender bathroom/locker room policies.

“The left is now aggressively pushing protected class status based on what someone says they are irrespective of reality,” FPIW’s executive director, Joseph Backholm told TheBlaze. “People should be free to ‘identify’ as something if they want to, but no one should have the power of government to be able to force someone else to agree with you.”

“Everyone wants to be compassionate. But before we start down the path of giving people protecting class status based on what they say they are, we need to think about where that road could lead,” Backholm added. “We hope this video helps to do that.”

Watch the video here:

For more updates, follow @FPIW on Twitter, and on Facebook.