Democrats to Mandate Comprehensive Sex Ed for Children Grades K-12, by Shifting Oversight from Elected School Boards to Unelected, Dark-Money Groups
With less than three weeks of the Spring Legislative Session remaining, radical Democrats are rushing hundreds of bills through the legislative process. Often at such short notice, the public does not have the opportunity to read, let alone provide input on these sometimes radical and hyper-partisan proposals. One of these bills, Senate Bill 818, is an unfunded mandate for sex education for children in grades K-12 for public and charter schools.
Under current law, elected school boards decide whether or not to offer sex education programs in grades 6-12. While the state provides guidelines stressing the importance of marriage and abstinence, local school boards are the ultimate authority for classroom content.
Senate Bill 818, would change that, shifting control over appropriate sex-ed content and standards from locally elected officials to a group that calls itself the “Future of Sex Education,” comprised of several politically motivated and very liberal groups.
One of these groups, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), bragged in its 2018 annual report that it weaponizes sex ed to combat pro-life messages and disseminate its sexual advocacy agenda. Not surprisingly, this bill does that. Schools that teach sex ed would no longer be required to teach that abstinence is the only 100 percent effective way to prevent pregnancy or the transmission of STIs. Instead, this legislation would require schools to implement curriculum to ensure that:
- 2nd graders would be able to define consent, gender identity, and reproduction;
- 5th graders would be able to describe the role of hormone blockers on young people, distinguish between sex assigned at birth and gender identity; and distinguish between cisgender, transgender, gender nonbinary, and gender-expansive;
- 8th graders would be able to define vaginal, oral, and anal sex. The curriculum even provides for the discussion of dental dams in grades 6th through 8th.
While the bill claims that these classes be age and developmentally appropriate, the curriculum requirements make that impossible. The Future of Sex Education’s standards also wades into the abortion debate, calling for all pregnant young people to have decision-making power on whether or not to seek an abortion instead of their parents. The politicians in Springfield or the bureaucrats and activists pushing this agenda do NOT know what is best for the individual children of this state…Their parents do.
The bill’s language was filed on April 28 and has already been amended twice, making it difficult for legislators, let alone working parents, to track, understand, or express their opinions on it. These ideas, however, are not popular. A recent poll from the Tarrance Group indicated strong voter dislike for proposals like Senate Bill 818. The poll asked whether respondents favored or opposed: “Teaching comprehensive sex education to children, beginning in kindergarten, which includes the teaching of gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.” The results: 48 percent strongly opposed, 15 percent somewhat opposed, 4 percent unsure, 19 percent somewhat favored, while only 15 percent strongly favored.
I’ve heard from school districts across the state that have concerns with this legislation.
Over and over again, I’ve heard that our schools suffer from an onslaught of state-driven unfunded mandates. Teachers and administrators, working hard to adjust their classrooms and teaching practices to the realities of COVID-19, are getting slammed by Springfield with one unfunded mandate after another. Others are concerned about how this bill would require schools to promote abortion, a controversial issue that garners strong opinions across the political and social spectrum.
As such, many educational groups, such as the State Board of Education, the Association of School Boards, the Large Unit District Association, and the Illinois Principals Association, are opposed. Despite this opposition from our schools, educational professionals, and the public, the Democrats are pushing ahead to shift oversight from locally elected and accountable school boards to remote, out-of-state interest groups.
While the Democrats refuse to hear, let alone vote on, common-sense legislation, they continue to advance outrageous bills that trample on the rights and voices of local communities across the state. We should be dealing with more serious issues in Springfield – issues that would positively impact Illinoisans’ quality of life.
Our state has significant problems that need to be addressed: high unemployment, a large budget gap, and unfunded obligations to our teachers, to name a few. But, instead of focusing on these vital issues, the Democrats are seeking to wrest control of our classrooms away from elected school boards and empowering dark-money advocacy groups to implement their radical sex-ed requirements in our local classrooms.
I stand firmly opposed to Senate Bill 818, and I urge you to call or write your legislators to ask that they also oppose this move to decrease local control over our classrooms.