Partnering with Parents was the theme of last week’s public meetings to discuss the new Core Curriculum mandated by the state Board of Regents. George Orwell’s Big Brother pales in comparison to the City’s Department of Education when it comes to “newspeak.”
Meanwhile, the DOE is rolling out its controversial, one-size-fits-all sexuality education program without consulting parents and without formalizing its plans to inform parents about exactly what their children – as young as 11 – will be taught about sexuality. The program will be rolled out city-wide in fewer than 8 weeks and parents know virtually nothing about what will be taught in their local schools.
According to its recommended curriculum, the controversial sex ed program will, in addition to sending students to corner drug stores to catalogue condom brands and to abortion clinics to inquire about confidentiality policies, refer middle- and high-school health educators to a sexually-explicit website (www.goaskalice.com) where lessons in sadomasochism, group sex, and bizarre sexual fetishes are taught (The DoE denies it uses books with Go Ask Alice references, but the books are listed on the curriculum, and the city has ordered and received them, according to their publisher.)
When we met with the DoE this week, Deputy Chancellor Grimm discovered that we have a common agenda and in her words, “we are not that far apart.” Deputy Chancellor Grimm seemed shocked to learn that the NYC Parents’ Choice Coalition believes that all students should be educated about reproduction and sexually transmitted diseases but in a more traditional way.
We informed her and her staff that abstinence-centered curricula have been shown to be just as effective as what the City has planned and have been successfully employed in cities across the country, including neighboring Philadelphia and Yonkers, NY.
We asked that the DoE commit to giving parents with the ability to “opt-in” to an abstinence-centered sex ed curriculum. We intend to hold the DoE to that commitment. We will mobilize parents to assert their rights under the law. Parents must be free to choose to enroll their children in abstinence-centered sex ed classes.
We left the meeting with Deputy Chancellor Grimm’s commitment to review our submitted abstinence-based sex ed curricula for compliance with DoE’s content guidelines for such curricula. Additionally, if those curricula pass muster, DoE will allow school principals to choose to implement an abstinence-centered sex curriculum for their schools. Unfortunately, we did not get a commitment that the DOE would hold informational meetings.
In a landmark decision on pornography, the US Supreme Court ruled that community standards should prevail in the definition of obscenity and pornography. We believe that the same common sense standard should apply regarding sex education. Parents, not the DoE, should set local community standards.
The NYC Parents Choice coalition will continue to press the Department of Education to hold Town Halls or informational meetings for parents to learn what exactly will be taught in January. Parents have a right to know that under federal law, but the Department of Education doesn’t seem to care about that.
If you agree with the goals of NYC Parents’ Choice, go here to sign their petition. Have something to say, leave a comment below.