Thursday, 02 June 2016

Schools in Washington Adopt Controversial Learning Standards Regarding Gender for K-12 Students

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Washington State public schools have approved health education learning standards that include teaching gender expression to kindergarteners. The new K-12 health and physical education learning standards were quietly adopted by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) on March 25 without issuance of public notice or press release, according to the Daily Caller.

The Daily Caller reports that the controvesial standards will include teaching "Self-Identity" — which includes educating students on numerous ways to express gender — to students in kindergarten. According to the state’s health education glossary, gender is defined as “a social construct based on emotional, behavioral, and cultural characteristics attached to a person’s assigned biological sex.”

The kindergarten curriculum will also include lessons on “safe and unwanted touch,” but it is not clear whether the lesson plans will include teaching consent.

The Daily Caller also indicates that by third grade, students will be taught that gender roles vary and about gender identity, which the state has defined as “Someone’s inner sense of their gender.”

By the end of elementary school, students will be expected to understand the following:

The range of gender roles and identity

How ideas about gender roles are impacted by friends and family

The impact that media, society and culture can have on one’s understanding of gender roles and identity

How to identify trusted adults to whom students may pose questions regarding gender identity and sexual orientation

At the completion of high school, students will have also learned how to “distinguish between biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.”

Despite the controversial nature of the health standards, OSPI claims it does not seek to indoctrinate students with its own set of beliefs. “Standards help students become familiar with concepts that education experts feel are essential for all students to know,” said Nathan Olson, communications manager at OSPI. “Standards are not used to impose belief systems.”

And yet when the Daily Caller asked whether a student could fail a course if they refuse to accept the notion that gender identity is different from biological sex, Olson vaguely responded that it would be at the discretion of the district/school level.

Olson added, “We don’t exactly know what a school would do if a student failed to complete an assignment because he/she opposed the materials being taught.”

It's unclear whether parents in Washington were aware that the changes had been adopted. Though the standards were finalized in March, a quick perusal of OSPI’s website reveals that the department has not issued a press release regarding the changes.

It's likely that the new standards will provoke backlash from parents in Washington, as parents throughout the country have found themselves embroiled in struggles over how schools handle sexual identity and transgenderism, both educationally and socially.

Last month, for example, Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia provoked ire from parents after it released a report recommending changes to the district’s family life curriculum for grades 7 through 12 that involved lessons on the notion of sexual fluidity and spectrum. The recommendations asked schools to teach students that there are no 100 percent boys or girls.

Likewise, 11 states are currently suing the Obama administration over guidelines regarding which school bathrooms transgender students may use. The federal guidelines tell schools to allow students to use bathrooms based on the gender identities with which they identify, not based on the sex with which they were born.

And despite claims by the Obama administration and various school districts that all these new LGBTQ guidelines are intended to foster understanding and prevent discrimination in schools, experts indicate that these efforts are doing a disservice to students' mental health.

According to a position statement released by the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) released a position statement on March 21 entitled “Gender Ideology Harms Children,” any policies that foster the belief that gender dysphoria is anything beyond a psychological problem are in fact harmful. As such, schools and lawmakers should “reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex. Facts — not ideology — determine reality,” the statement asserts.

The authors of the position statement make several scientific observations, including that human sexuality “is an objective biological binary trait." Children who use hormones to attempt to mimic a sexuality that is not their own have a number of dangerous physical and mental risks, the position statement advises, adding that “conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful” should be classified as child abuse.

The authors' position is logically well-grounded. When a boy identifies as a girl, or vice versa, he is clearly delusional and needs mental help, not support for his delusion, in the same manner that a normal-sized child who believed he was too fat and refused most food (anorexia) would be given counseling to change his behavior. The same would hold true if the child habitually over-ate, had a poor attention span (ADHD), were depressed, or believed he were a dog, cat, or tree. The only difference between these mental maladies and "transgenderism" is politics.

But that position has not stopped schools from forging ahead with their agendas. Washington State public schools' new health curriculum standards are scheduled to be implemented by the fall of 2017.

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