Monday, 16 January 2012

NEA, Others Release Controversial Sex-ed Standards for Schools

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What should America’s children and adolescents know about sex, homosexuality, “gender identity,” and contraception? As much as possible, according to a coalition of liberal educators, health professionals, and sex-ed “experts,” who have released a set of explicit recommendations they hope the nation’s schools will adopt as the new standards for sex education.

Among other recommendations, the new standards would have second-graders learn about sexual anatomy, introduce fifth-graders to homosexuality and “gender identity,” and fill in eighth-grade students about emergency contraception and how to use a condom.

Promoted as the “first-ever national standards for sexuality education in schools,” the ... recommendations are a cooperative effort of a number of organizations, including the American Association of Health Education; the American School Health Association; the National Education Association (NEA); the Society of State Leaders of Health and Physical Education; and the notorious Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS).

“These National Sexuality Education Standards provide teachers, schools, school districts, and state education agencies with a new national standard — the minimum they need to teach to set students on a path to sexual health and responsible adulthood,” Jerry Newberry, executive director of the NEA’s Health Information Network, said in a press statement released by SIECUS. “They set forth essential sexuality education core content and skills responsive to the needs of students and in service to their overall academic achievement.”

Included in the new standards are the recommendations that second-graders master the “proper names for body parts, including male and female anatomy.” By the fifth grade, students should know that sexual orientation is the “romantic attraction of an individual to someone of the same gender or a different gender.” Similarly, eighth-graders should know the difference between “gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation,” in a hard-core effort to get them to accept homosexuality and “transgender” behavior as normal sexual expression. At the same time, they should also become familiar with the “morning after” emergency contraception pill (a known abortifacient), as well as learn how to use a condom.

Among other grade-specific standards, the sex-ed “experts” recommended that by the end of fifth grade, students should be able to:

Describe male and female reproductive systems, including body parts and their functions

Describe the process of human reproduction

Define sexual harassment and sexual abuse

By the end of the eighth grade, the standards recommended, students should be able to:

Describe male and female sexual and reproductive systems, including body parts and their functions

Define sexual intercourse and its relationship to human reproduction

Define emergency contraception and its use

Access accurate information about gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation

Describe the steps to using a condom correctly

By the time they graduate from high school, according to the recommendations, students should be able to:

Compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of abstinence and other contraceptive methods, including condoms

Differentiate between biological sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression

Distinguish between sexual orientation, sexual behavior, and sexual identity

Leslee Unruh of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse, which promotes an abstinence-until-marriage sex-ed model, told that the proposed standards were nothing less than an attempt to brainwash young people with a “twisted worldview.”

“These guidelines undermine parental rights and I am scared for the children and the parents,” said Unruh. “I’m asking for an alarm to go out to parents for them to take charge and to refute these guidelines in the school systems.”

Another abstinence-only educator, Valerie Huber of the National Abstinence Education Association, criticized the standards, telling the Washington Post that sex-ed should be “about health, rather than agendas that have nothing to do with optimal sexual health decision-making. Controversial topics are best reserved for conversations between parent and child, not in the classroom.”

Candi Cushman, an education analyst with Focus on the Family (FOTF), argued that “no national, special-interest group should control how local schools address” the issue of sex education. “This should remain the domain of local communities. Parents and school officials are the most qualified to develop good policies based on their communities’ needs.”

While the latest recommendations for what schools should teach are just that — with no enforcement power by any of the groups — Cushman said that the NEA’s involvement could provide the muscle to push the standards into schools quickly, and without the knowledge of parents and other concerned citizens. “This is not a government mandate,” Cushman emphasized. “Schools are under no obligation to carry out these so-called standards.” Nonetheless, she added, the “unfortunate reality is that these guidelines could still be used by some schools and liberal education officials as leverage to undermine parental rights and expose children to controversial sexual teaching against their parents’ will.”

Chad Hills, FOTF’s sexual health policy analyst, stressed that it is important for concerned parents to find out who is involved in crafting sex-ed policy in their school district, and speak out loudly against the new recommendations. “Explicit, anything-goes sex-education groups would have our children and youth believe there are no values, principles, or moral foundations associated with sexuality,” Hills said. “We disagree. Sexuality is an inherent part of our humanness in God’s design.”

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