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A New Movie About the Past Captures Today’s School Battles


Not since the battles of integration decades ago have American schools identified the front lines of so many of our nation’s political divisions. The debate is over important racial theory—and Florida law has been dubbed by critics as “Don’t Say Gay” —dominated the discussion and mobilized parents to participate in the polls.

But a powerful new film serves as a startling reminder that the real battleground issue in education from the start is still the right to go to school. women talking should serve as a chilling warning of what can happen when parents distrust traditional institutions, and then remove their children from those institutions.

women talking is a narrative feature chronicling a group of women in an isolated, devout community seeking justice after being drugged and raped repeatedly. While inspired by real events in the Mennonite community in Bolivia, the story is eerily reminiscent of some of the more famous cases in America.

Warren Jeffs, the longtime leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, raped and impregnated many teenage girls and “married” others to men. another elder in various lands he ruled as an unbridled king. He is currently imprisoned, although reportedly still holds power among his followers.

A few weeks ago, Samuel Bateman, Jeffs’ favorite former student, was arrested for having 20 wives, most of them under the age of 15. Meanwhile, in 2021, striker investigative report published about the widespread pressure on women in Orthodox Jewish communities in New York not to report widespread domestic violence and marital rape.

On the surface, what these different communities have in common is a culture of silence in the face of sexual violence. But women talking highlights another disturbing line. Communities where sexual violence thrives tend to be those where women lack self-determination and knowledge. In Jeffs’ case, he and his loyalists controlled and limited internet access and educational opportunities for community members, especially girls.

Michelle McLeod as Mejal, Sheila McCarthy as Greta, Liv McNeil as Neitje, Jessie Buckley as Mariche, Claire Foy as Salome, Kate Hallett as Autje, Rooney Mara as Ona and Judith Ivey as Agata in Sarah Polley’s Women Talking.

Image of Michael Gibson/Orion

This means that a 14-year-old girl may not know at all that it is illegal to force sex on a 60-year-old man and that she has the right to refuse or report him to law enforcement. the law. What’s more, it means that years later, when that girl finds herself raising a teenager, she won’t know that she’s continuing the cycle of abuse by marrying her daughter to a man. mature.

…homeschooling, while a successful tool for providing more personalized educational opportunities for some families, is emerging as a powerful tool for abuse in others.

So what does this have to do with the current political climate?

Well, thanks to the COVID pandemic, more parents find themselves at odds with school leaders more than ever—on everything from wearing masks to closing schools. As these issues were being debated, others emerged—namely those based on discussions about race and gender identity in the classroom. This created a perfect storm, in which more and more American parents were expelled from their classrooms due to circumstances (such as schools in some places being closed for a whole year and a half), while those in Others choose to study at home due to politics.

In the state of New York alone, there is a 12 percent increase on the number of parents sending their children home from 2021 to 2022. While analysis is equal to Related press found that homeschooling has dropped from the peak of the pandemic (when everyone was essentially forced to study from home), the number of countries post-pandemic is still much higher than it was before the pandemic , yes almost doubled.

Like many African Americans, I have long appreciated the importance of parents having as many options as possible to achieve equity in the education of their children, including charter schools. and homeschooling. (Polls have found Minority support for charter schools has emerged as a growing challenge for Democrats.)

But a massive exodus of children from traditional schools to homeschooling would be troubling for anyone concerned about gender equality and child safety. No matter how imperfect, traditional schools (and the adults who run them) serve as a line of defense that protects children from sexual and physical abuse and neglect. According to a 2011 study by the Department of Health & Human Services, the majority of abuse reports are made by professionals, such as teachers, counselors, and healthcare workers. The pandemic has highlighted a horrifying reality: isolation at home—because women and children—an effective measure way out for abusers for uninterrupted operation.

This means that homeschooling, while a successful tool for providing more personalized educational opportunities for some families, is emerging as a powerful tool for abuse in other families. others.

Elizabeth Bartolet of Harvard Law School has sounded the alarm about the lack of supervision in homeschooling, warning in a 2020 interview, “The homeschooling corridor may be even stronger than the gun corridor today, because with the gun corridor at least, we see a lot of feedback.” She went on to note that children’s voices and needs are largely excluded from policy debates. Bartolet makes a strong point that in order for children to be safe, homeschooling needs more attention and supervision by law enforcement.

For those who dismiss concerns about widespread homeschooling as paranoid, consider this: a teacher fired for hitting a child or accused of sexually abusing a child would having trouble getting hired at another school. But a parent suspected of abuse (or defending the abuser) can simply remove their children from the school system and send them home. That is not an exaggeration.

One tough study 2014 found that 50 percent of child torture cases studied by a researcher involved homeschooling, with parents use it as a tool to further isolate their child victims.

This is not to say that there is no legal place for homeschooling in American society. That means anyone who claims to care about children should advocate for more oversight of homeschooling and push politicians to do the same.

It also means that activists, especially progressives, should think very carefully about what issues they see as a real education policy priority. Because increasingly conservative and religious parents are deciding that if they have to choose between having their families mocked on Twitter for the different religious beliefs their children speak out about, school and leave their children at home, they would prefer the latter option. That means not only will their children not be exposed to diverse perspectives and perspectives, but some will be less secure.

If women talking underpin anything, it’s isolation, indoctrination, and inequality that go hand in hand.

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