by Tamara Scott
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The kids are back in the books and learning all kinds of new information. One may just be surprised at what they're learning.
After taking the Iowa Youth Survey, students in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Iowa school districts may be contemplating how they might commit suicide. Every three years, Iowa school districts decide whether or not to participate in the survey. Below is an excerpt from the Frequently Asked Questions website explaining how the data is used. It's probably the most honest answer as to why students are subjected to such rubbish. (It's been cut and pasted because users often experience trouble when trying to access various websites for the IYS. Interestingly enough, to adequately obtain information about IYS, a parent would have to spend a good deal of time maneuvering their way through several different websites. Likely no accident.)
Many community agencies are reliant on the data from the Iowa Youth Survey for acquiring critical funding. When these data are not available to them for students in their areas, current funding may be jeopardized and opportunities for future funding impaired.
So, apparently we're allowing our 6th, 8th, and 11th grade students to be perverted for no better reason than potential monies for various grants and funding organizations. It's sketchy but supposedly school districts are also somehow able to receive monies if a large enough percentage of students take the survey to qualify the district. Either way, we're selling our kids or at least their innocence for a buck, not what most parents expect of education.
According to the website, http://www.state.ia.us/educate/ecese/cfcs/iys/ "The IYS State of Iowa report was designed to help state-level planners identify youth development-related needs, develop relevant programs, and assess the outcomes of those programs".
Again, helping programs rather than people. Unless a whole district undergoes suggested treatment further exposing students to poor lifestyle choices, one wonders how this survey might help students since confidentiality is promised on page one of the survey and students are assured "there is no way anyone will be able to connect your answers with your name." If it doesn't help identify students, it only verifies 'at-risk' students exist. Do we really need a survey for that? I would guess most teachers and students can tell who's 'at-risk' without a survey and without violating the whole student population by de-sensitizing those who are not 'at-risk' in the process.
What's so toxic about this survey? The survey has been cleaned up a bit since the last public outcry in 2002. Some questions about sexual experiences and invasive home privacy issues have been removed. Others have been cleaned up a bit and a few new ones asking about healthy eating styles are proudly positioned at the front of the survey to dis-arm those few parents who actually make it through the un-friendly internet maze in an attempt to preview the survey. For many, it isn't even the content, but the suggestive wording and nature of the questions. Remember, this is given to eleven year olds.
Q. 15 p. 4 "During the past 30 days, on the days you smoked, how many cigarettes did you smoke per day?
Q. 25 p.4 "During the last 30 days, on how many days did you have 5 or more drinks of alcohol (glasses, bottles or cans of beer; glasses of wine, liquor, mixed drinks) in a row, that is within a couple of hours?"
And the all-time-most-idiotic thing to ask anyone to contemplate, let alone an eleven year old
Q. 45 p. 6 "In the last 12 months, did you make a plan about how you would attempt suicide?"
You have to know every student who reads that question can't help but ponder, "Gee, if I were to do it, how would I commit suicide?" And we wonder why students are angry, depressed, and acting out? Why they aren't achieving excellence on standardized test scores like generations past? I would guess it has something to do the reckless mis-use of classroom time such as this.
Understandably there are students in our schools in need of help. Tragically, this survey does little to help those individuals, but does create more opportunities for new 'at-risk' students who may now be inclined to try behaviors listed like, bringing a weapon to school, sniffing glue, trying crack, using other's prescription medicines, or inhaling gases to get high. Let's hope they don't experiment with question 45.
Asking such questions seems downright dangerous. As adults, we understand the more we dwell on something, the more likely we are to exhibit such behavior. Children, unfortunately, just become unsuspecting prey of an organized agenda to de-sensitize and destroy all precepts of moral value. It is the same agenda that prompted the removal of the Ten Commandments from the classroom years ago. What was premise for their removal? Oh yeah, kids might read them and be tempted to follow them.
Suspicion among parents is only heightened by the state's refusal to allow school districts to use 'active consent' forms rather than 'passive consent' forms. Meaning, rather than signing a form to allow a student's participation, permission is automatic. The website further explains a phone call from a parent or (verbal indication) of withdrawal is insufficient and has to be in the form of a written document. Whose kids are these?
With the information overload of a new school year, most parents miss the subtle mention of IYS. Others who see the notice never suspect the impending interrogation of innocence. http://www.state.ia.us/educate/ecese/cfcs/iys/doc/iys05.pdf Actual survey
Who will bare the responsibility for these children on earth and in eternity? And who will bare the pain should these children decide to explore question 45?
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