teachers_dispute_20140616

Use XE and XEM to find Y?

Via National Post

British Columbia teachers have been at war with the province for more than a decade, and are set to walk out on strike just days before the end of the school year.

Normally I would question the wisdom of a strike that takes place over the summer holidays (who’s going to notice?) and is related to unreasonable pay demands. But not in this case. B.C., it is clear, does not view schools as a place in which children are taught the basic tools necessary to navigate life – math, science, geography – but as petri dishes for social experimentation in which teachers are lab technicians with unwitting children as their mice. You couldn’t pay me enough to do this stuff.

On Monday, the Vancouver School Board approved a policy change aimed at accommodating gender identity and sexual orientation. The motive is admirable enough, to prevent students being singled out, bullied or otherwise discriminated against on the basis of gender. The complexity derives from the board’s determination to allow not just for actual gender, but “perceived” gender, i.e. the gender the student identifies with, as opposed to the gender on their birth certificate. Parents who questioned the change argued, quite reasonably, that six-year-olds aren’t qualified to understand all the intricacies of identity issues. Some of them can’t even use the toilet yet, much less decide which washroom to do it in.

Nonetheless, the school board forged ahead, even deciding to adopt new pronouns for those who would rather pick no gender at all. A last-minute amendment mandated that “xe, xem and xyr” may be used in place of “he/she” or “him/her”. These are “sex-neutral third-person” terms used to repair the failure of the English language to allow for 21st century gender sensitivities. The British long ago began using the term “one” – as in “one does wish for a glass of water” — to get around this problem, but it’s viewed as a bit cold and snooty, and therefore undesirable.

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HT JettieG

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