A new report released Tuesday has suggested that a national standard for sex education should be implemented, which would include teaching young children about birth control and homosexuality. However, some have questioned the age appropriateness of the standards, and the impartiality of the proposals.
The Future of Sex Education (FOSE) has composed a report consisting of what is referred to as “national sexuality education standards.” The standards outline what students in grades K-12 should be expected to know and understand at different grade levels.
The FOSE project was developed by Advocates for Youth, Answer, and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), with the consideration that federal funding for abstinence would someday be a thing of the past. It also claims that teaching children about homosexuality would increase tolerance and reduce bullying in schools.
However, a report composed by the Citizens for Community Values charged that many organizations with homosexual agendas have merged issues with bullying and the safety of children as a way to slip into legislative favor.
Their website reported that the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) has used such methods in the past. The website states: “GLSEN’s Executive Director Kevin Jennings revealed in a speech in 1995 how he used “safety” to delude the Massachusetts legislature into adopting the pro-homosexual agenda for the schools in their state.”
One parent agreed with these accusations. “It is wrong and violates the rights of parents to teach our children a specific ideology regarding sexuality that promotes the specific agenda of a group of people who have come up with a definition of sexuality that is completely their own,” user Truth510 wrote on the Fox news blog.
“Children are not allowed to be taught anything remotely related to religion. Yet, this definition of sexuality will be imposed on our children, even if this is not what many parents believe or want their children to learn,” he said.
Others suggested that children are also bullied over their religious beliefs. “Religious bullying is as much a problem, they should also have standards for teaching about religion,” another user wrote on the blog.
According to SICEUS, the new standards “provide clear, consistent, and straightforward guidance on the essential minimum, core content for sexuality education that is developmentally and age-appropriate for students in grades Kindergarten through grade 12.”
But other users questioned just how age appropriate the material was. “These kids need a chance to just be kids. We can't teach them to spell correctly, or to add 2 + 2 and get the same answer twice, but we can sure teach them this!” user IMGrumpy2 posted on the Fox blog.
FOSE suggested that not enough time is allocated to sex education. “General health education is given very little time in the school curriculum. Even less time is dedicated to sexuality education,” SICEUS reported on its site. However, others have questioned whether sex education should even be expanded to include sexuality?
Jbeowulf suggested the extremes: “In this we are going to see superstitious practices arise, because nobody has all the answers, and reading a dictionary list isn't a social skill that justifies our lives. I expect some kind of ancient Fertility Shrine to arise, under any name, because the government wants to choose for us.”
Other users agreed that such moves would only draw religion in to the government. “Be careful what you ask for,” Vigiliant Satyr wrote on the blog. “It seems as though you are advocating that religion should be taught in our public schools. I would think that you would want to keep that one exclusively to the parents.”
The standards are broken up in charts by grade level and by topic area. The more controversial issues are highlighted below.
From kindergarten to 2nd grade students are expected to be able to:
• Describe differences and similarities in how boys and girls may be expected to act
• Provide examples of how friends, family, media, society and culture influence ways in which boys and girls think they should act
• Use proper names for body parts, including male and female anatomy
In grades 3-5 students are expected to be able to:
• Define sexual orientation as the romantic attraction of an individual to someone of the same gender or a different gender and then demonstrate ways to treat others with dignity and respect
• Differentiate between gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation
In grades 6-8 students are expected to be able to:
• Explain the health benefits, risks and effectiveness rates of various methods of contraception, including abstinence
• Define emergency contraception and its use
• Describe the signs and symptoms of a pregnancy
• Analyze the similarities and differences between friendships and romantic relationships
In grades 9-12 students are expected to be able to:
• Distinguish between sexual orientation, sexual behavior and sexual identity
• Compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of abstinence and other contraceptive methods, including condoms
• Compare and contrast the laws relating to pregnancy, adoption, abortion and parenting
The Conservative Political Action Conference said the report was unfair in that it did not provide any information on parent’s rights: “Even more disturbing than these ‘standards,’ is the lack of guidance in the report for how schools should respect the rights of parents who want to direct how, when and if their children are exposed to controversial topics like homosexuality, abortion and condom instruction.”
In Franz vs. United States judges of the Supreme Court, it was clarified: “The constitutional interest in the development of parental and filial bonds free from governmental interference has many avatars. It emerges in a parent’s right to control the manner in which his child is reared and educated and in the child’s corresponding right not to have the content of his instruction prescribed by the state.”
Although the proposed standards are not enforced by the law, the Political Action Conference cautioned parents that the proposed standards, even if not made into a law, could be “used as leverage to get controversial materials in schools” and encouraged parents to be proactive in their response to the proposition.
The report titled, “The Legal Liability Associated with Homosexuality Education in Public Schools,” outlines growing concerns about teachers’ qualifications and abilities to address the mental state of students.
It claimed that issues pertaining to homosexuality could interfere with the mental health of some children: “The advancement of homosexuality education in public schools has forced teachers into the role of mental health professionals. Teachers are usually untrained and thus unqualified to assess – and then accurately address – the mental health needs of their students.”
As a consequence, it suggests that teachers are left to rely on whatever organization information that has been provided to them: “Many of these groups’ activities fall outside the authority and control of the school, even though students are referred to them. In general, they also support a broader political agenda that may not be supported by parents or public school students.”
Although the FOSE report has attempted to present its proposals as objective and impartial by listing contacts for teachers, parents and students, the only numbers and websites that are provided alongside the report are from the organizations that are supporting the project. No numbers were provided for organizations that promote as its core values abstinence or Christian values.