The Texas Freedom Network will be focused Tuesday on two bills being heard by the Senate Education Committee: one that would create an expensive private school voucher program and another that could effectively end sex education in much of the state.
Senate Bill 115 by state Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, would create a voucher program that pays private school tuition for students with disabilities. That scheme could drain millions of dollars from public schools that educate the vast majority of students with disabilities. Moreover, private schools aren’t required to provide legal procedures mandated by federal and state laws that protect the rights and interests of students with disabilities. SB 115 does include some of those protections, but private schools typically oppose any state regulation. In fact, state Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, has filed a proposed constitutional amendment (HJR 45) barring any state or local regulation of private and religious schools — including schools that take tax-funded vouchers. The chances that private schools that accept vouchers (for students disabilities or anyone else) would really be accountable to taxpayers? Zero.
The abortion wars trump common sense on the right. We sent out the following press release this afternoon:
PROPOSED LEGISLATION ADDS NEW AND UNNECESSARY OBSTACLES FOR EFFECTIVE SEX EDUCATION IN TEXAS SCHOOLS
State Law Already Requires Informing Parents on Sex Ed, Right to Opt Out
The Texas Freedom Network is releasing the following statement regarding the filing of House Bill 1057 by state Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano. HB 1057 would require schools to obtain prior permission from parents before providing students with sex education instruction from entities or individuals other than the school district. It would also forbid entities affiliated with an abortion provider from providing sex education instruction in public schools.
This statement is from Dan Quinn, TFN’s communications director:
“In a state with the one of the highest teen birth rates in the nation, this bill would make it harder for schools to teach effective sex education. As it should, state law already requires public schools to tell parents what they are teaching about sex education and inform them of their right to review the curriculum and opt their children out of such classes. This bill simply imposes new and completely unnecessary bureaucratic burdens on school… Read More
Abstinence-only activists are increasingly concerned that more and more school districts in Texas are moving to sex education policies that include medically accurate information on condoms and other forms of contraception and STD prevention. Their latest worry: Round Rock Independent School District just north of Austin.
The lawyer/lobbyist for Free Market Foundation Liberty Institute Texas Values, the Texas affiliate of Focus on the Family, posted to his Twitter account this morning:
Round Rock ISD meet 2night 2 discuss using drug-based sex ed, teach middle school kids bout implants, morn after pill.
What’s this all about? Round Rock’s school board is scheduled today to discuss a recommendation from the district’s School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) to include instruction on contraception beginning in eighth grade. Under the recommendation, sex education would include discussion of contraceptive methods such as condoms, spermicides, IUDs, natural family planning (rhythm method) and the withdrawal method. The classes would also include information on birth control pills, implants and emergency contraception.
The latter group of methods, apparently, is what religious-righters now call “drug-based sex education.” Of course, they probably hope the phrase will have parents imagining teens learning about sex in opium dens and crack… Read More
When Texas lawmakers have considered legislation promoting comprehensive, evidence-based sex education, religious-right groups have shamefully screamed that such classes will promote “recreational gay sex” and “drug-based sex education.” Unfortunately, those deeply dishonest arguments have been enough — so far — to scare legislators away from making responsible changes to sex education policies in a state with one of the highest teen birthrates in the country.
But a report from the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund last year showed that more and more local school districts are moving away from failed abstinence-only programs. Instead, those districts are adopting evidence-based, abstinence-plus programs that teach students about contraception and disease prevention as well as the importance of abstaining from sex. A Houston Chronicle article this week looked at Houston-area school districts making the change to one such program developed by the University of Texas Prevention Research Center.
So what are we hearing from religious-right groups? More lies. Here’s a tweet from the lobbyist for Liberty Institute, the Texas affiliate of Focus on the Family:
He writes about one school district moving away from abstinence-only programs: “Cy-Fair under fire 4 sex ed class teaching… Read More
We often hear questions about how the textbook wars in Texas affect what students learn across the country. Well, here’s another example for the file.
Last month parents and physicians sued the Clovis Unified School District in California over that district’s abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education policy. According to a press release from the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, the lawsuit charges that the district is violating California law and putting teens’ health at risk by teaching students misinformation and denying them critical instruction about condoms and contraception. From the press release:
The textbook that Clovis Unified uses for high school sex education does not mention condoms at all, even in chapters about HIV/AIDS and on preventing STDs and unintended pregnancy. Instead, for example, the textbook lists that the ways to prevent STDs are to respect yourself, get plenty of rest, go out as a group and practice abstinence.
The curriculum teaches that all people, even adults, should avoid sexual activity until they are married. Additional materials compare a woman who is not a virgin to a dirty shoe and suggest that men are unable to stop themselves once they become sexually aroused.
We’re very familiar with the… Read More