A new report from the Oregon Department of Education (ODOE) lends support to critics who contend that the rise in kids identifying as transgender has a lot to do with peer pressure, or “social contagion.”
One university researcher told The Lion that the report substantiates much of his previous research on the way bureaucracies seek to capture their victims.
The ODOE report notes a 57% spike in just one year in children attending Oregon Public Schools who now identify as “nonbinary,” according to Fox News.
More than 2,770 K-12 students, or 0.5% of the student population, have self-selected the nonbinary demographic option in school surveys this year.
Critics contend the rise is due to the public education system pushing transgender ideology on kids and the ease with which children are manipulated.
“Children – as young as 5 – are being encouraged to disregard their anatomy and choose their gender based on their feelings,” wrote Betsy McCaughey, a former lieutenant governor of New York.
Oregon began including nonbinary as a demographic option starting in 2018, but since the COVID-19 pandemic the state has poured more resources into teaching students transgender ideology.
In January 2023, the ODOE published a guide called “Supporting Gender Expansive Students: Guidance for Schools.”
“My hip-pocket psychological assessment is that this appears as a fringe ideology tapping into a part of juvenile chic and, as well, taking advantage of the usual juvenile confusion during the adolescent passage,” Stanley K. Ridgley, a Clinical Professor of Management at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business, told The Lion.
Ridgley is also the author of “Brutal Minds: The Dark World of Leftist Brainwashing in our Universities.”
The professor sees it as part of a larger pattern of trying to separate children from the guidance of their parents in order to indoctrinate them with “fringe pseud-academic identity ideology.”
“Ideological capture could not be clearer than what we see in the public schools, and given what we know about teacher and administrator preparation in our abominable schools of education, it’s unsurprising,” Ridgely added.
Fox noted that most of the kids who identify as nonbinary in the survey were high school-aged, but the survey also included a number of kids in grades as early as kindergarten.
The survey also showed that dropout rates are much higher for those who identify as nonbinary, versus those students who identify simply as either male or female.
“In Oregon we now have a culture of educating our children what to think, not how to think,” Matt Bunch, a businessman running in the Republican primary in Oregon House District 51, told Fox News. “Our state needs to focus more on setting the nearly 60% of students who can’t read at grade level up for success than discussing topics that should be left up to parents.”
Recent test scores show that only 43% of Oregon public school students tested proficient in English, with just 30% testing proficient in math and only 29% testing proficient in science this year, according to local NPR.
Last week, the Portland Public School system, the largest in the state, settled a brutal month-long teacher strike, which was precipitated in part because of declining enrollment in state public schools.
The ODOE report also showed that 30,000 fewer students now attend Oregon public schools since the COVID-19 pandemic than before.
Because school funding is tied directly to enrollment, fewer students means fewer dollars are reaching schools.
Local publication Willamette Week called declining enrollment “an existential threat” to Portland Public Schools, even as the ODOE concentrates more resources on transgender issues affecting fewer than one percent of students.