THE FEDS {see also section on ERIC, supra}

Note: High school clubs must be treated equally regardless of their controversial or conventional status or lose federal funds, according to both case law and federal statute. Ironically, both the statute and case law that would protect a high school gay and lesbian club were the products of conservative and religious coalitions. The 1984 Equal Access Act was passed, with strong backing from Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, by Congress to enable Christian groups to form school clubs. The Mergens decision was the result of students' petition to form a Bible club. The Supreme Court's 1990 decision in this case further limited schools' ability to monitor content of school clubs. THIS INFO CAN BE USED TO ORGANIZE AND SUPPORT G/L/B/T/?ng CLUBS IN EVERY STATE'S HIGH SCHOOLS!!!

Contact info: Richard W. Riley, Secretary of Education, Room 6263, Building FB10, 600 Independence Avenue, Washington, DC, tel. 202-401-3000, URL= http://www.ed.gov/index.html or <ftp.ed.gov> or (additional information is available from the Department of Education's Information Resource Center, tel. 800-872-5327). The URL for the DOE itself is http://www.ed.gov/

Find out which federal Department of Education region you are in and contact your DOE regional representative. This person should be approached as a potential ally and educated on the issues...provide her/him with plenty of the latest and best resources and research. Apprise them of current federal requirements, including that the Federal Equal Access Law mandates that student-initiated groups be permitted and supported within all public secondary educational settings, thus establishing a federally protected entitlement for students to form gay/straight alliances having all of the rights and entitlements of other student clubs and organizations. Make sure they know that FEDERAL LAW MANDATES THAT EACH SCHOOL MUST HAVE A HARASSMENT POLICY, although the policy need not specify any particular types of harassment, such as racial, gender, or sexual orientation. This federal law clearly can be used to advocate for safe schools INCLUDING safety regarding sexual orientation. MEET with the person to establish a relationship, then keep up contact. Offer to help...be an ongoing source of information, resources, and support. DO THIS WITH ALL EDUCATION POLICY MAKERS AND OFFICIALS. Find out what issues are on her/his plate...probably something to do with the recent federal legislation called "Goals 2000: Educate America Act."(passed by Congress in April of 1994) (see below).

Under this law, every state is to establish bodies to work on raising academic standards, lowering the dropout rate, increasing parental participation and providing safe, drug-free schools. You can use the bit about safe schools, especially, to argue for inclusion of LGBT stuff as a way to prevent hate violence and harassment in the schools. WE REALLY HAVE TO PAY ATTENTION TO GOALS 2000 AT BOTH THE FEDERAL LEVEL AND IN EACH STATE!!!

It has potentially huge implications and effects, potential for great good or great harm for our concerns.

GOALS 2000: AMERICAN EDUCATION ACT, FEDERAL LEGISLATION first endorsed by George Bush, became law July 1, 1994 (signed by Clinton April '94), is 400 pages long. Its key elements were forged in a 1989 education summit between President Bush and the National Governors' Association. In the Clinton version that passed, private school "choice" language was dropped out, alienating the pro-voucher types. Goals 2000 may signal a potentially significant increase in Washington's role in education. According to Clinton, "For the first time in the entire history of the United States," our nation "is to set world-class education standards for what every child in every American school should know in order to win when he or she becomes an adult." The legislation establishes 8 goals (#7 is a biggie for us):

  1. All children will start school ready to learn.
  2. The high school graduation rate will be at least 90%.
  3. Students will leave grades 4, 8 and 12 with demonstrated competence in English, math, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography.
  4. Teachers will have access to programs for the continued improvement of their skills.
  5. U.S. students will be the first in the world in science and mathematics achievement.
  6. All adults will be literate.
  7. SCHOOLS WILL BE FREE FROM DRUGS, FIREARMS, ALCOHOL, AND **** VIOLENCE ****. [EMPHASIS ADDED]
  8. Every school will promote involvement of parents in their children's education.
#3 RE COMPETENCE AND #8 RE PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT ALSO HAVE POTENTIAL FOR US AS ACCESS ARGUMENTS.

Goals 2000 also created 3 boards or councils:

  1. A 19-member National Educational Standards and Improvement Council (NESIC). [we need to be involved at ground level here]
  2. An 18-member National Education Goals Panel to monitor progress toward the goals.
  3. A National Skills Standards Board to develop work-related standards, testing, certification system.
The NEA lauds the bill. Many conservatives (including the Christian Right) criticize it as a scheme to nationalize what properly is local prerogative.

Funding: $105 million in first year.

WHAT IS SYSTEMIC REFORM as envisioned in Goals 2000? Systemic reform is a process aimed at improving the educational system as a whole, by figuring out how the various levels of state and local governments can work together to provide the highest quality educational experience for all children. The State has responsibility for ensuring educational quality and opportunity and it has the authority to influence the parts of the system that are not within the purview of local education agencies and schools. Local educators have the responsibility and opportunity to make professional judgments about the most effective ways to educate students. At the core of Goals 2000 are several key concepts or major components of systemic reform. For example: The legislation encourages consensus and teamwork in the work of schools. IT ADVOCATES MUCH GREATER INVOLVEMENT OF PARENTS AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS IN SETTING DIRECTIONS FOR SCHOOLS. It supports coordination with vocational education efforts and programs and processes to reach students with special needs. Finally, it encourages the development of agreed-upon standards for student learning and ways of measuring student progress. SYSTEMIC REFORM UNDER GOALS 2000 ALSO MEANS CREATING COHERENCE. National, state, county and district level, and school level teams will be simultaneously engaged in the business of planning for reform and informing each other. In local planning, emphasis is placed on the linkage of school and district plans and on the coordination of school level planning. The intent of Goals 2000 is not to create another school level plan or design another program. Instead the legislation asks schools and districts to build on existing designs and efforts in an attempt to support high quality education throughout the district. GOALS 2000 ALSO FOCUSES ON EQUALITY OF EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY. There is an expectation that schools and districts that participate in Goals 2000 will work together to identify and improve strategies that work and provide leadership to other schools and districts. In addition, there is a specific focus on providing a superior quality of education to all students, especially students with special needs. Among its long range goals are to MEET THE NEEDS OF SCHOOL-AGED CHILDREN WHO HAVE DROPPED OUT OF SCHOOL. [ above capitalized areas indicate SOME of the potentially fruitful areas in which LGBT organizing can occur via this legislation.

{Some of the above information on Goals 2000 from article by Bob Peterson, editor of "Rethinking Schools," summer 1994 and some from the CA Dept.of Ed. gopher}

In Washington DC, the Christian Coalition, which wants to destroy public education and divert its funding to private religious schools, has waged war against Goals 2000 and has convinced the Republican Congress to kill the effort. IN WAGING THIS WAR, THE CHRISTIAN COALITION'S BATTLE CRY HAS BEEN "LOCAL CONTROL," ARGUING THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT "DICTATE" LOCAL EDUCATIONAL DECISIONS. See below for more about how to deal with this argument, and for the hypocrisy with which the radical religious right employs it.

In August 1995, anti-gay extremist Lou Sheldon, who has called for men, women, and children with AIDS to be confined in concentration camps, succeeded in pressuring Congressman Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Education Committee, to hold taxpayer-funded hearings on public school programs which deal with issues of sexual orientation. The hearings were scheduled for September 1995, and Sheldon claims they are fulfillment of a promise Speaker Gingrich made to him when Gingrich was elected.

FREE INTERNET ACCESS TO GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE

The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) announced free use of its award-winning GPO Access online service beginning December 1, 1995. All Internet and dial-in users can now receive electronically, at no charge, the Congressional Record, Federal Register, congressional bills, and a growing list of important government documents on the same day of publication.

Government databases can be reached via the Internet or by dial-in through a modem.
Internet users can access the databases with a World Wide Web browser through the SUPERINTENDENT OF DOCUMENTS' HOME PAGE at:
http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/
or with WAIS client software.

Internet users can also telnet to swais.access.gpo.gov; then login as guest. Dial-in users should use a modem to call 202-512-1661; type swais and then login as guest.
In more than 20 States, users with modems can connect to GPO Access through depository library "gateways" with a local phone call. Listings of depository libraries and "gateways" can be found on the Superintendent of Documents' home page.

General information on accessing these databases is available by:

e-mail - help@eids05.eids.gpo.gov
phone - 202-512-1530
fax - 202-512-1262
Questions about the GPO Access service can also be directed to a nearby Federal Depository Library. At least one such library is located in each congressional district.

===========

MAILBOT. This is a unique service that will forward your message to ALL members of the House or Senate that have E-Mail mailboxes. Just send your message to HOUSE@MAILBOT.COM and/or SENATE@MAILBOT.COM, and your message will be expanded and resent to all members of those specified houses as if you had E-Mailed each and everyone of them yourself.

A few provisos:
The federal government's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has an LGBT resource at URL: http://www.health.org/features/lgbt/index.htm

ADOPT A SCHOOL/BOOK DONATION PROJECTS

This is a very pragmatic, immediate tangible-results-oriented strategy. Groups in San Jose CA have launched an innovative campaign which aims to get donations for the purchase of books and other media (such as videos) directly influencing the welfare of LGBT students in their areas high schools. The resources are to be carefully selected for the high schools' libraries to attain the objective of "promoting the physical and emotional well-being of LGBT youth, both self-identified and questioning." Similar projects have been undertaken in Contra Costa County CA and in Kansas City MO. Procedures are carefully delineated as to material selection criteria and school selection. Plans are to begin with those schools where acceptance already exists or is likely to be obtained, such as larger districts with supportive staff. To get in touch with the San Jose folks, call Marty Grimes at 408-293-2747, ext. 105; or write him c/o ARIS, Adopt a Book, 1550 The Alameda #100, San Jose CA 95126; email Etnaboy@aol.com.

BUT NOTE WELL!!!! :

Here's an important FYI to incorporate in any attempts to donate books to school and public libraries. (the info comes from national PFLAG!!!!):
"Jessea, a few years ago, when we were looking into donating books to both school and public libraries, we learned that many libraries would not accept books that had not been reviewed in one of the library journals or one of the journals centered on youth literature (I think one was called "The Hornbook"). Our successful PFLAG library projects have rarely been simply sending out a book to the library. They usually involve working with library associations (there is one underway in Michigan involving the state librarians association, and one in Nebraska went through a grant to the state library association). Libraries were contacted in advance with information about the books, including reviews, and offered the opportunity to request them. Many school libraries have a review committee, and any librarian accepting a book must be prepared with material supporting this as an appropriate acquisition. Most of the projects require considerable advance work and the cooperation of a professionally recognized library or librarians association. (signed) Mitzi"
For assistance re library issues, getting books reviewed prior to donating them, etc., you may contact:
SRRT Newsletter, the newsletter of the American Library Association's Social Responsibilities Round Table
Editor= Carol Reid
New York State Library
6th floor - CAP, Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY 12230
phone: (518) 474-8610, fax: (518) 474-5786; email: creid@unix2.nysed.gov
- - - - - - -
Mary K. Chelton, Assistant Editor
VOYA (VOICE OF YOUTH ADVOCATES) (will review books intended for hi school), PO Box 758, Milltown, NJ 08850; phone: (908) 249-9024
fax: (908) 220-1021; e-mail: CHELTON@SCILS.RUTGERS.EDU
If you run into legal problems or wish to challenge censorship of donated books, contact:
[submitted by Jeaneileen (JEANEILEEN@aol.com)

==================

FYI re: Library Projects (also from Jeaneileen JEANEILEEN@aol.com, Dr. Jean Eileen Durgin-Clinchard):

"In 1989 PFLAG Cornhusker (Lincoln, NE) sought and received a grant from Woods Charitable Fund ( a local foundation), the Imperial Court of Nebraska, and in-kind support from the Nebraska Library Commission and the American Red Cross Chapter, to donate a set of 8 books on AIDS and Homophobia to 68 public libraries across the state of Nebraska. The needs assessment had been done by the NE Library Commission when they asked in a newsletter if libraries were interested in more resources about HIV/AIDS.

"Bouncing off of that expressed need we first brainstormed with people at the commission to secure their support, as well as in-kind clerical help in mailing the books out and professional support to advise us. The local Chapter of the American Red Cross agreed to use volunteers to copy certain of their AIDS education tapes for those libraries who requested them. The libraries were charged only for the cost of the blank tapes.

"The libraries needed to submit a request to be the recipient of these free books. We did end up having to call some librarians to seek their interest, but generall they stated that they just hadn't gotten around to making their requests and thought they had missed the deadline. We also gave them the opportunity to identify the type of card cataloging system they used and then ordered the cataloging materials so that all they had to do was shelve the books when they arrived. (We didn't want books sitting around waiting until someone could get to them.)

"The next work was deciding which books and the cheapest way to get them. The final list chosen was reviewed by several community people involved in AIDS education and on the County AIDS Task Force. Many phone calls were made to publishers seeking the best possible prices since we were buying in quantity for a special project, not for competitive resale. Most were very cooperative. When the books were shipped we did a press release to all the media, weekly newspapers and local radio stations around the state, and even to the local Mayors councils to announce the gift.

"The key to our success, I believe, was that this project involved planning collaboratively with the library Commission, the Red Cross, PFLAG, and the funders. If we were to undertake this now I believe I would consider going to state Associations of Social Workers, Psychologists, educators, Early Childhood Educators, etc. These, and other organizations, all have positive resolutions about serving gay and lesbian youth. The Foundation that made the major grant ($5,000) and the gay organization ($1000) were given the credit due them.. Most of the librarians also put their own announcements in their local newspapers about new books in the libraries. As a result of this project I was asked to make a presentation to the state and national library associations.

"The books selected were: The Quilt Book; AIDS: the Women (Reider & Ruppert); The Walking Wounded (Beverly Barbo, which the author had printed especially with a frontispiece crediting us); When Someone You Love Has Aids (Martelli); Borrowed Time (Paul Monette); The Band Played On (Shilts); Beyond Acceptance (Griffin); and Parents Matter (Muller). A criteria for selection was the need to inform about AIDS and the impact of homophobia in ways that would be likely to appeal to people in our predominantly rural state.

"A personal note: the packing and shipping of the books was a nitty gritty piece that the library commission took on as part of their in-kind support. I would not have taken it on if we had had to do all that as well. Another important note is that I had established personal credibility and relationships with some of the people involved in helping us to implement this project prior to developing it as a proposal. I had never written a grant before, but I learned, with help!"
= = = = = = = == = = =
AND, additional REALLY HELPFUL info from a former librarian... "Another FYI from someone who used to work in the periodicals section of a library: most of the importart library journals (including Library Journal, American Libraries, and School Library Journal--I hope I have the names right) are indexed in the electronic database InfoTrac. To find out if a book which you are interested in donating has been reviewed in one or more of those journals, you can search for the title of the book on InfoTrac. You might want to pass this along to your correspondents to let them know that finding out whether a book has been reviewed in the appropriate journals may be easier than they think (although of course I make no promises about how the next steps will turn out). Tina W."
[The P.E.R.S.O.N. Project notes: Our only additional thought is to check at least once a year to make sure the books stay on the shelves despite changes in library staff and administration!!!]
= = = = = = = == = = =

OTHER ORGANIZING IDEAS FROM THE BAY AREA NETWORK OF GAY AND LESBIAN EDUCATORS (BANGLE, in California)

TYPICAL BANGLE ORGANIZING ACTIVITIES/IDEAS: With help from the United Way, BANGLE has provided more than twenty books and videotapes to each high school, junior college, and public library in Contra Costa County. This project may be expanded to the rest of the Bay Area. In the East Bay, BANGLE sponsored an Essay Contest for the last three years, and this too must be expanded. With support from PG&E, Pam Walton, and other businesses and individuals, BANGLE awards a number of SCHOLARSHIPS in most (but not yet all) of the Bay Area. Several of us, including Terry Minton (who started San Leandro High School's Gay Straight Alliance), are MEETING MONTHLY WITH P-FLAG AND THE PACIFIC CENTER'S BUILDING BRIDGES PROGRAM TO PACKAGE A TEACHER IN-SERVICE PROGRAM AND MARKET IT TO SCHOOLS--we're starting with Contra Costa and Alameda Counties, and we hope to extend the project to the nine-county Bay Area within a year or two. And we've just STARTED A LIST OF SCHOOL CONTACTS--WE'D LIKE TO FIND ONE PERSON AT EACH SCHOOL IN THE BAY AREA WHO WILL GET INFORMATION FROM BANGLE TO THE PRINCIPAL AND INTO TEACHERS' MAILBOXES WHEN NECESSARY (call us if you are at a school and are willing to be this person).

For more info, contact BANGLE as follows:
Next Part of the Introduction

Last updated 10/16/2000 by Jean Richter, richter@eecs.Berkeley.EDU