The extremist and ultraconservative views taught at some taxpayer-funded voucher schools

The Huffington Post examines what some evangelical Christian schools – some largely funded with taxpayer money through vouchers – are teaching. It starts with an interview with a former student who attended multiple evangelical Christian schools where she was taught that to dance was to sin, that gay people were child molesters and that mental illness was a function of satanic influence. Teachers at her schools talked about slavery as black immigration, and instructors called environmentalists “hippie witches” and taught that Islam is a violent religion and evolution has “no real scientific basis.”

Voucher Schools Championed By Betsy DeVos Can Teach What They Want. Turns Out They Teach Lies.

PORTLAND, Ore. ― It was late morning in an artsy cafe, the smell of coffee and baked goods sweetening the air, and Ashley Bishop sat at a table, recalling a time when she was taught that most of secular American society was worthy of contempt.

NEA President says Trump ‘creates fear in children, and that is unforgivable’

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García on Friday said the country is facing “a reckless, irresponsible administration that creates chaos and confusion.” Speaking to the National Press Club, she said President Trump “creates fear in children, and that is unforgivable.” Educators, she said, at times have to “comfort crying children because they are afraid of their president.”

San Diego schools combat rising Islamophobia

Responding to a rising number of bullying incidents directed at Muslim students, the San Diego Unified School District is adopting a multi-tiered approach to combatting Islamophobia.

According to the Los Angeles Times, elements of the plan include:

  • Administrators and teachers will have calendars showing Islamic holidays.
  • Students will learn more about the religion in social studies classes.
  • Safe places will be created on campuses for Muslim students.
  • Applying a restorative-justice method of discipline for students who bully Muslims, requiring them to speak with other students about the issue.

“It’s more of a comprehensive program, not just a curriculum,” said Stan Anjan, the district’s executive director of family and community engagement. “We’re looking at it from a very integrated and holistic approach.”

A 2015 report released by the Council on American-Islamic Relations found that 55% of Muslim American students surveyed in California said they had been bullied because of their religion.

WEAC and the NEA are working with members to address the issue of Islamophobia in schools. Representatives to the WEAC Representative Assembly this spring passed a New Business Item that states, in part, that WEAC “will stand against all forms of religious discrimination intended to hurt, harm or marginalize our Muslim population that will impede their educational or religious obligation.”

A 2016 article in NEA Today summarized the issue this way:

Anti-Islamic rhetoric has reached a fever pitch in America, spouting not only from presidential candidates and governors, but even from school board members, like one in Philadelphia who posted that she is “officially against Muslims” and “We don’t want them in America” on her Facebook page.

In New York, Chicago, and in Mohamed’s hometown of San Francisco, city bus ads paid for by millionaire Pamela Geller showed pictures of ISIS atrocities and proclaimed, “It’s not Islamophobia. It’s Islamorealism.”

For Muslims who ride city buses—including hundreds of school kids—the message was loud and clear: “Muslims are terrorists and must be feared.”

“It’s scary, unfair, and weird how we are in the year 2016 and people are allowed to be so openly biased and hateful,” says Mohamed Omar, 18, a senior at San Francisco’s Raul Wallenberg High School. “People look at us in a damning way. They have this image of us that’s hard to change, and it bothers me that Pamela Geller can have freedom of speech, but where is my freedom of religion?”

Read more in the Los Angeles Times:

San Diego Unified has a plan to fight Islamophobia and bullying

San Diego Unified School District administrators and teachers will have calendars showing Islamic holidays, students will learn more about the religion in social studies classes and safe places will be created on campuses for Muslim students as part of a multi-tiered approach to combat Islamophobia.

Take the NEA’s Bully Free Pledge and find out more about bullying in schools:

NEA’s Bully Free: It Starts with Me

A toolkit to help educators create bully free schools. The critical role that a positive school climate plays in bullying prevention. Valuable research to help turn your school into a bully free zone. Groundbreaking research by NEA and NEA partners examining perspectives on bullying and bullying prevention efforts.