When the Wisconsin Assembly passed a comprehensive sex education bill that was signed into law (the “Healthy Youth Act”) last February by Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle; it mandated kids be taught about contraceptives, how to use them, and how to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Parents were still given the option to allow their students to opt-out and schools could decide to eliminate sex education all together with parental notification (probably the only good aspect of that bill). The result of the bill was that abstinence-only sex education programs were ended.
Enter the Cedarburg (WI) School District, they decided rather than making parents go out of their way to opt-out they are making parents opt-in with subjects like contraception, intercourse, homosexuality, abortion and masturbation.
So the default is if the parents don’t sign the releases their children are not allowed to attend those sessions. Before the default was their children to have to attend if they didn’t
Makes a huge difference, it makes parents who really want their child to learn to put a condom on a banana to sign-on. It also helps parents be better informed about what is in the curriculum which is one of the intents of the policy.
Novel concept I know –to actually inform parents what they are teaching.
You would think that proponents of the law who offered parental choice would be happy about this common sense way of implementing the law. Sadly no.
A state legislator who co-authored the Healthy Youth Act that went into effect this year says the board’s policy amounted to a creative dodge around the goal of the law.
"The intent of the bill, which is a bill I have been working on since I’ve been elected, was to make sure that any school district that taught human growth and development included a curriculum that was comprehensive," said Rep. Tamara Grigsby (D-Milwaukee), one of the bill’s co-authors and a legislator since 2004….
…Reorganizing the curriculum so certain topics, such as contraception, are not part of the required human growth and development instruction could be challenged if a citizen complaint is filed with the Department of Public Instruction, department spokesman Patrick Gasper said.
"It doesn’t seem like (an opt-in policy) would meet the letter of the law," Gasper said.
The school district wanted to make sure parents didn’t have to have their students miss out on the entire course if they only objected to some of the content. Again providing more choice for parents.
But that wasn’t really the intent of the new law. Since this policy is being criticized it is basically giving lip service to parental choice saying – well, you can opt out, but you really shouldn’t. Because how can one really argue against this unless they don’t believe parents should have the final say.
In 2008 State Representative Mary Mascher (D-Iowa City) sponsored a bill, that was later passed by the Iowa General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Chet Culver, that required human growth and development be “research-based” and “age-appropriate” (this was after her attempt to get a blatant comprehensive sex ed bill like Wisconsin’s was shot down). The list of organizations that can determine what is “research-based” and “age-appropriate” are ones that aren’t friendly to abstinence-only sex education so she essentially got her way. With Planned Parenthood pitching their curriculum to school districts state wide wouldn’t it make sense for school districts in Iowa to implement policies like Cedarburg has?
I think so if they really want parents to have a choice.
HT: The Blaze