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Read: Memo to School Boards Regarding OSPI Gender Identity Education Efforts

FPIW Memo

To: Members of Washington School Boards
From: Family Policy Institute of Washington
Date: 6 SEP 2016

Re: OSPI Gender Identity and Gender Expression Education

Dear School Board Members and Superintendents,

Educators and parents across the state of Washington have expressed concern over the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s (OSPI) efforts to insert sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression into the elementary school Health and Physical Education standards in 2017-18.

The standards advise Washington State public schools to begin teaching students — starting in Kindergarten — about gender expression, gender identity, gender roles, and sexual orientation.

The 2017-2018 Health and Physical Education Standards document was written with the heavy implication that OSPI requires schools to teach these new topics. However, OSPI has made revisions to the Standards document, in which they affirm that the implementation of the outcomes relative to sexual orientation and gender identity is optional, not mandatory, and that “the new standards do not introduce any new teaching requirements.”

Furthermore, OSPI has written in an email to multiple parents: “The standards clearly do not instruct districts to teach students about gender expression/identity/roles. Districts adopt curricula; the state doesn’t dictate that. We include suggested grade-level outcomes on the topic of self-identity if a district adopts a curriculum that includes that topic.”

OSPI has been the subject of an outpouring of criticism from both Washington State educators and parents, worried that public schools will begin teaching young, impressionable students about highly controversial and politicized topics like sexual orientation and gender identity, as a result of these standards.

Parents’ apprehension echoes a statement released by the American College of Pediatricians, a national professional association for pediatricians, advising schools against teaching gender ideology to children in the classroom. According to the pediatricians, teaching children about gender identity, if done improperly, can be harmful to their development.

Because these suggested topics are not required to be taught, there is no risk or liability for a school district that does not adopt a gender identity curriculum.

You are encouraged to contact OSPI to confirm that the new guidelines do not create a requirement to teach gender identity or expression to kids at (360) 725-6000.  If we may be of assistance, please call our office at (425) 608-0242, or email info@fpiw.org.


Family Policy Institute of Washington | 16108 Ash Way, Suite 113 |

Lynnwood, Washington | 98087

www.fpiw.org | info@fpiw.org

Opinion: Why Schools Aren’t the Place to Learn About Transgenderism

 

The state’s new health and physical education standards have provoked a strong backlash from parents and citizens who are outraged that children will be taught about gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation in elementary school. For example, children in third grade will now be taught that they can choose their own gender. Their fourth grade peers will learn about the range of sexual orientation.

Astonished by what their children will be taught under the new standards, parents are left wondering whether public schools are the appropriate forum for dialogue about gender identity and sexual orientation – especially in the elementary and middle school.

Parents should be concerned. The latest science supports what we used to regard as commonsense – that teaching young students about gender identity and alternative sexual lifestyles will be a confusing and harmful experience for them.

The American College of Pediatricians warns against parents, doctors, and teachers encouraging children to undergo gender transition.  “Endorsing gender discordance as normal via public education and legal policies, will confuse children and parents, leading more children to present to ‘gender clinics’ where they will be given puberty-blocking drugs.” The American College of Pediatricians likens the normalizing of transgenderism among children to “child abuse.”

Despite this, Washington’s public education system stands firmly behind its decision to push gender identity and gender expression on students as young as five years old, despite strong warnings from the medical community.

The vast majority of children who struggle with gender identity will eventually outgrow their confusion and accept their biological sex. According to statistics provided on page 455 of the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5, as many as 98% of boys and 88% of girls who struggle with gender dysphoria as children will no longer identify as the other gender after finishing puberty.

Cross-sex hormones present unsafe health risks for the individual undergoing transition. These hormone treatments increase the risk of high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke, and cancer. When children undergo cross-sex hormone therapy, their growth is often inhibited and their fertility is often irreversibly impaired.  The suicide rate among those who have undergone sex reassignment is twenty times higher than that of the general population.

Teaching gender identity and sexual orientation in schools normalizes the behavior. Once the behavior is normalized and students are told they can choose their own gender, we will undoubtedly see an increase in children pursuing harmful hormone therapies and irreversible gender reassignment surgeries.

If public schools rationalize gender dysphoria to young students, why are we to assume that more children won’t be subjected to the associated risks, as the statement by the pediatricians association suggests?  Children who would have otherwise never “struggled” with gender dysphoria may now be taught to question their own identity.

Moreover, teachers are rarely equipped to teach about topics relating to gender identity and sexual orientation.  Requiring them to teach this information may cause them to violate their own beliefs.  Additionally, how can parents be sure that their convictions and values will not be undermined by what their children are being taught in school?

Schools should heed the warnings from doctors and researchers. Children are harmed when they are taught that alternative gender identities and sexual orientations are normal. Conversations with children about gender identity and sexual orientation should be left to parents and doctors, not schools.

Blaine Conzatti is a columnist and 2016 Research Fellow at the Family Policy Institute of Washington. He can be reached at Blaine@FPIW.org.

OSPI Responds to Concerns About New Education Standards

 

It seems that the Office of State Public Instruction’s idea of damage control is using semantics to confuse the parents of students.

Last week, the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) released its health and physical education standards for the 2017-2018 school year.

The document clearly instructs public schools districts to begin teaching students — beginning in Kindergarten — about gender expression, gender identity, gender roles, and sexual orientation.  The state expects this area of education to be completed by the seventh grade, so that students are able to “distinguish between biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.”

OSPI Page 29

Predictably, parents were outraged.

Following the public discovery of these standards last week, OSPI Communications Manager Nathan Olson said that the specific learning outcomes outlined on page 29 of the standards are merely recommendations to local school districts, not requirements, and that all curriculum is determined by the local school districts.

“State learning standards are the required elements of instruction,” said Olson. “Outcomes provide the specificity to support school districts in meeting each standard in each grade level.”

Here is where OSPI is trying to hide: by stating that curricula are determined by the local school districts, which is true, they are deflecting attention from the fact that all public school districts must use OSPI’s standards and outcomes to determine what to teach students.

You can equate OSPI’s use of semantics to Henry Ford stating that you can buy any color car you want, so long as it’s black.

OSPI’s assertion that state education standards are simply recommendations does not comport with Washington state law or the Superintendent’s introduction to the health and physical education standards document. According to Washington law, district curriculum is expected to be aligned with the state’s education standards and outcomes.

According to RCW 28A.655.070,

“The superintendent of public instruction shall develop essential academic learning requirements that identify the knowledge and skills all public school students need to know and be able to do based on the student learning goals in RCW 28A.150.210.”

According to the health and physical education standards (emphasis added),

“The Washington state learning standards are the required elements of instruction and are worded broadly enough to allow for local decision-making.  Outcomes provide the specificity to support school districts in meeting each standard in each grade level. The 2016 health and physical education standards and outcomes provide the guidance to teach, reinforce, and apply all of the state’s learning goals” (Page 2).

“By implementing grade-level outcomes, educators will help students meet the learning standards. All districts, schools, and educators in Washington state are expected to implement the state learning standards and outcomes for all students” (Page 10).

While it is true that state education outcomes leave flexibility for schools to determine the best way to teach the required concepts, OSPI’s main concern is that students understand the concepts enumerated in the standards document.  School districts and local schools must use the state education outcomes to determine whether they are implementing the state learning standards, as they are required by the state to do.

OSPI is using the definitions of standards and outcomes to confuse you.  But make no mistake – come 2017, public schools across the state will be teaching students, beginning in kindergarten, about gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation.  It is foolish and deceptive for OSPI to claim that schools will not be expected to teach these concepts because these requirements are “outcomes” and not “standards,” hiding behind semantics as a means of avoiding public backlash.

OSPI conceded that it does not plan to issue a press release or otherwise inform parents of these radical changes.  By now, they must be aware of their overreach and are preparing for blowback from the parents of students across the state.

Sign the petition, and call OSPI State Superintendent Randy Dorn (360-725-6000) to let him know that you’re not on board with not being notified of these new standards.

Washington Schools to Teach Gender Identity Curriculum in Kindergarten

 

Kindergarten used to be a place for children to learn how to add, subtract, and read.  Next year, Washington school children as young as five years old will instead be learning about gender fluidity and the differences between gender and sexual identity.

The newly-minted health and physical education standards, released by the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), will be implemented in schools across the state for the 2017-2018 school year.

As reported by The Daily Caller, the new standards require students to learn about gender identity and expression beginning in kindergarten.

  • Beginning in Kindergarten, students will be taught about the many ways to express gender.  Gender expression education will include information about the manifestations of traits that are typically associated with one gender. Crossdressing is one form of gender expression.
  • Third graders will be introduced to the concept of gender identity.  These children will be taught that they can choose their own gender.
  • Fourth graders will be expected to “define sexual orientation,” which refers to whether a person identifies as heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual; they’ll also be taught about HIV prevention.  Children in fourth grade will be told that they can choose their sexual orientation.
  • Fourth and fifth graders will learn about the relativity of gender roles and why such roles are social constructs that are not inherent to who we are as male or female human beings.
  • Seventh graders will be expected to “distinguish between biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.”
  • High school students will critically “evaluate how culture, media, society, and other people influence our perceptions of gender roles, sexuality, relationships, and sexual orientation.”

These changes to education standards will transform public schools into a conduit for promoting the latest gender theories plaguing universities across the country.

Perhaps the most concerning element about the new standards, however, is that OSPI has no plans to notify parents of these controversial changes.  In a phone call this morning with FPIW, OSPI communications manager Nathan Olsen confirmed the changes and said that the state does not plan to issue a press release or otherwise inform parents of the changes.

When asked by The Daily Caller “whether a student who rejects the idea that ‘gender identity’ is distinct from ‘biological sex’ could end up failing a course on account of their beliefs, Olson replied that it “would be handled at the district/school level.’”

Parents should be concerned about whether these standards are age-appropriate, as well as whether the manner in which these topics will be taught may undermine the values held by their family.  It is frightening to think that students who hold traditional beliefs about gender and sexual identity may have to choose between accepting politically correct talking points or failing assignments and being ostracized by school administrators.

We encourage all concerned parents to attend the next school board meeting in your school district (find information on your school district here).  Ask if your local school board plans to implement the state’s radical new curriculum for elementary school classes in your child’s school and, if you aren’t satisfied with the response you get from the school board, we’d encourage you to run for the school board and to let us know of your intention.

You can sign the petition to show your opposition at this link, and support FPIW as we work to return sanity to the classroom and culture.