Washington, D.C.--With Congress reconvening next week, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, today released a series of policy papers outlining how key provisions originally found in President Bush’s education plan, "No Child Left Behind," may potentially hurt, rather than help, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students. This first-of-its-kind analysis also offers recommendations for strengthening these legislative proposals for the U.S. education system, so it may better serve LGBT students and parents.
"We need to hold ourselves, and our leaders, to the promise to ‘leave no child behind,’" stated GLSEN Executive Director Kevin Jennings. "As the Bush blueprint currently exists, LGBT young people stand to lose in several key areas that are not currently designed to be accountable to their needs and safety."
While education is largely a state and local responsibility, the federal government also plays a role in ensuring safe and equitable educational access for the nation’s school children. GLSEN has analyzed four main provisions originally found in the Bush education package, and details how each may be of detriment to LGBT students and parents. For instance:
* School vouchers, by transporting monies from public institutions to private ones, may translate to even less accountability and safety for LGBT students;
* Faith-based initiatives, or charitable choice, would potentially utilize government funding for programs and practices that use religion to discriminate against many student groups, including LGBT youth;
* Safe schools initiatives fail to specifically address the unique and categorical discrimination and harassment faced by LGBT youth and other groups targeted by hate-based violence; and
* Internet filtering software may prevent LGBT young people from accessing critical resources and information because it may use flawed technologies or reflect the biases of programmers.
GLSEN has assumed an increasingly prominent role on federal education policy since opening its Office for Public Policy in Washington, DC, run by Public Policy Director Mary Kate (MK) Cullen. "In this new era in Washington, we will aggressively monitor education-related policy coming from the White House and Congress," she said. "Education leaders are just beginning to incorporate LGBT issues into America’s national discussion on education--GLSEN is poised to make sure that our voice continues to be heard, and our presence felt."
Click below for full policy papers on:
Parental Choice, School Choice and School Vouchers
Federal Safe School Initiatives
Internet Filtering Software
GLSEN is the leading national organization working to end anti-gay bias in K-12 schools. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN has become one of the premiere voices for safety and equal treatment in America’s systems of education. For more information and to read the complete education policy papers, visit www.glsen.org.