The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer.
There has been a new skirmish in the Culture War, this time in the Education Theater. Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, a Democrat (and no relation), forwarded a proposal to the Arizona Board of Education from State Senator Martin Quezada, D-Glendale, that involved the removal of a clause from the Board of Education guidelines regarding sex education, and adding some language.
The clause that Quezada sought to remove bans the teaching of “abnormal, deviate, or unusual sexual acts and practices.” I guess the lecture on the safe use of bed sheets and Velcro is back in the curriculum. The proposal would add that sex education must be “medically and scientifically accurate,” including the information on the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, and that boys and girls no longer need to be taught separately.
The Arizona Board of Education does not set sex ed curricula. The curricula are set by the districts and charter schools. The board sets guidelines under which curricula are developed.
Parents may also decline to have their children attend the sex ed classes.
These proposals came on the heels of the repeal of ARS 15-716C, which states, “No district shall include in its course of study instruction which: 1) Promotes a homosexual life-style; 2) Portrays homosexuality as a positive alternative life-style; 3) Suggests that some methods of sex are safe methods of homosexual sex.” It has been commonly referred to as Arizona’s “no promo homo” law.
According to advocates of the repeal, the inability to promote the gay lifestyle puts gay students in danger. Hoffman herself said the law “contributes to an unsafe school environment.” That’s right, if you do not endorse the gay lifestyle, then you are putting gay students in danger. That is a classic false dichotomy.
Call me crazy, but maybe if we avoid advocacy and taught kids to accept people who are different from themselves we might achieve a good that goes beyond sex ed.
At the last board meeting, over 40 parents showed up, the vast majority of whom came to protest the introduction of Sen. Quezada’s proposals.
These parents were angry. They have endured being called haters and bigots. They have zero trust in the people whom they see as being disingenuous and using people and institutions for their own political ends. Now these parents believe their children are being used.
This latest student sex education skirmish was of no consequence, ending in a draw. It does, however, remind me that in so many other avenues of our lives, people are constantly fighting each other instead of working together. This is, in my opinion, due to the fact that we have shifted so much of our lives from the civil sector (private individuals) to the political sector (government).
In the civil sector, people work alone or with others to achieve shared goals. Sometimes if an agreement cannot be reached, they part ways and pursue different approaches. It works well because it is all voluntary. People can make their own choices. Remember “Choice?”
That used to be a thing.
I think we can all agree that government has a role in enforcing laws that help people defend themselves against force and fraud, but do we really want government to teach our children about sex for us? If we do it ourselves, then we will not have to fight about it.