Friday, November 30, 2007

Could Jefferson school decision on "fairness" spark another mass exodus to neighboring counties?

We remember what Bullitt and Spencer counties were like in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Shepherdsville was a small town, not unlike a lot of other county seats across Kentucky. A drive through the two counties was a rural experience through rolling hills and open fields dotted with wooded areas.

Something happened, though, and those two counties experienced a boom of growth. Subdivisions sprouted up overnight. Pastures became housing developments. Taylorsville didn't change much, but Shepherdsville did. Businesses flocked to the Bullitt County seat.

We remember when the Zoneton Fire Department was in a very rural area on KY 61, Preston Highway, near the Jefferson County line. First a subdivision called Maryville popped up, then incorporated towns like Hillview and Pioneer Village made their appearance.

Bullitt County's board of education, which consolidated local schools in the late 1960s into one central high school, had to de-consolidate. New schools were built in the Hillview and Mt. Washington areas.

A new road had to be built to link Taylorsville to Louisville because of the residential growth of Spencer County. The road between Shepherdsville and Mt. Washington became overrun with homes and choked with traffic, and a new road was built between Mt. Washington and Louisville.

Why did all this happen? Why the huge population growth of Spencer and Bullitt counties? The normal growth of the Louisville/Jefferson County metro area played a role, as did the presence of Interstate 65 in Bullitt County, but the major reason was the implementation of forced busing as a means of integrating Jefferson County schools.

Suburban parents revolted at the idea of having their children riding school buses away from their neighborhood schools and past several other schools to a distant facility, all in the name of reaching some arbitrary racial quotas and supposedly improving the inner-city schools. Parents feel disconnected when their children don't attend neighborhood schools. They aren't as active in the management of the schools and in the events that take place there, since it's not as convenient for them to attend. They didn't object to integration of the schools, but they did object to forced busing as the means to that end.

So they fled Jefferson County. At least many of them did. Those who didn't put their children in private schools moved to Bullitt and Spencer counties, and to a lesser extent Shelby and Oldham, and enrolled their children in their local schools in their new locales. They traded a longer commute to their jobs in Jefferson County for the right to have their children attend schools in their communities.

Could we be seeing the next great exodus from Jefferson County as a result of educational policies? It's possible after the Jefferson County Board of Education passed a "fairness" policy granting special protections to homosexual and bisexual school employees.

We certainly don't believe that people should be discriminated against in employment matters based on their bedroom habits, but we don't believe that special protections are good public policy, either. And we certainly don't believe that the matter of a teacher's sexual preference has any place whatsoever in the classroom.

The most troublesome part of the whole controversy is the revelation in the Courier-Journal that a lesbian teacher admitted that she looks for "teachable moments" to help educate kids about her lifestyle. This is ridiculous and should be cause for revolt among responsible parents.

Schoolchildren of any age have no business hearing about a teacher's bedroom behavior or their sexual preferences or gender politics. A teacher's sexual preference or choice of play partners has no place in the classroom. There should never be any "teachable moments" about how an instructor chooses to use his or her genitals.

At least the Jefferson County school board had the decency to remove "gender identity" from the list of protections. Unless it's Halloween and everyone is wearing costumes, we don't think kids should be subjected to seeing a male teacher wearing a dress or skirt because he believes he was born a woman trapped in a man's body.

It will be interesting to watch the reaction to this decision. As more and more teachers who practice an alternative lifestyle continue to come forward and seek "teachable moments," we predict that the counties surrounding Jefferson will see another growth boom. It may not be as pronounced as the explosion that came after Jefferson County began forced busing, but it'll be noticeable.


At 4:45 PM, December 16, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a serious flaw in your logic. White flight in the '70s was tied to property values. Middle-class whites feared their homes would lose value as blacks gained economic power and social status. They saw Detroit, L.A. and Newark, and freaked. Conversely, a strong gay community does not pose a threat to property values. In fact, in his book, "The Rise of the Creative Class," sociologist Richard Florida argues that without gays, the current urban renaissance that is saving America's inner-cities probably wouldn't have occurred.


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