Photo credit: Jon Ridinger (CC-By-3.0)
Photo credit: Jon Ridinger (CC-By-3.0)

In May the Alaska Legislature passed a bill that affirmed parents ability to opt out of assessments, out of sex ed classes, miss tests due to religious holidays. The bill affirms the parental right to review the content of class, activity, program or test. It also requires parental notification before any human reproduction or sex education content is provided to students.

Here is the relevant text of the bill:

(a) A local school board shall, in consultation with parents, teachers, and school administrators, adopt policies to promote the involvement of parents in the school district’s education program. The policies must include procedures

(1) recognizing the authority of a parent and allowing a parent to object to and withdraw the child from a standards-based assessment or test required by the state;

(2) recognizing the authority of a parent and allowing a parent to object to and withdraw the child from an activity, class, or program;

(3) providing for parent notification not less than two weeks before any activity, class, or program that includes content involving human reproduction or sexual matters is provided to a child;

(4) recognizing the authority of a parent and allowing a parent to withdraw the child from an activity, class, program, or standards-based assessment or test required by the state for a religious holiday, as defined by the parent;

(5) providing a parent with an opportunity to review the content of an activity, class, performance standard, or program;

(6) ensuring that, when a child is absent from an activity, class, program, or standards-based assessment or test required by the state under this section, the absence is not considered an unlawful absence under AS 14.30.020 if the child’s parent withdrew the child from the activity, class, program, or standards-based assessment or test or gave permission for the child’s absence.

I wrote in May that:

This doesn’t change Alaska’s standards which are essentially Common Core, but this is a win for parents who were having issues opting their students out of assessments and certain classes, like sex ed. This is something all states should do if they haven’t already. While parents have a natural right to opt their children out of assessments it is so much easier when the government cooperates with parents rather than oppose them.

Alaska Governor Bill Walker per state law had until last Thursday to either sign or veto the bill before it went into effect. He did neither so the bill is going into effect, and this, of course, made liberal heads explode.

Jessica Cler the spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii called this action dangerous.

Governor Walker failed to show leadership and failed Alaskan youth by choosing to support the dangerous restrictions on sexual health education that will now become law in Alaska. HB 156 is a crushing blow for comprehensive and medically accurate sexual health education in Alaska and his lack of action today has put the education of thousands of teens in Alaska at risk, elevating sex ed to the most scrutinized subject in the state. Every single guest speaker, every curriculum, and even every piece of paper being used must be individually approved by each school board. This is designed to do one thing: block students from accessing the sex education they need on safe sex and healthy relationships. Our students, and everyone else in Alaska, deserves better from their leaders.

First, you read the law. Ms. Cler is being disingenuous. It doesn’t make sex education the most scrutinized class in the state (even though it should as schools really have no business teaching it beyond what is necessary in biology). It allows parents to review the content of any curriculum, class, program, or assessment. It is not limited to sex education. This law recognizes that parents are the authority when it comes to the education of their child.

Second, it states the school board must adopt procedures on how to implement what you see in the bill text above. It says nothing of approving each speaker, curriculum and piece of paper though parents can review all of those things.

Third, even if the school board does they are elected and accountable to the taxpayers. They should have the final say. How arrogant is it to think sex education instructors should operate without any accountability and oversight. More than arrogant, it is downright foolish to call such a change “dangerous.”

This gets at the heart of what Planned Parenthood wants to do in Alaska, as well as, the lower 48. They want unfettered access to our kids without our knowledge. As a parent I see that, not Alaska’s new law, as dangerous.

HT: Dr. Susan Berry

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