New state standards on sex education are inappropriate for our children

Parents are asking how schools can justify teaching a radical sex education curriculum when so many of our students are not meeting basic standards of learning in core subjects.

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An empty classroom in September 2020. The National Sex Education Standards are inappropriate for young children, a state legislator writes.

An empty classroom in September 2020. The National Sex Education Standards are inappropriate for young children, a state legislator writes.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

With only the bare minimum number of votes to pass a bill in the Illinois House, the Legislature has approved the controversial National Sex Education Standards as the basis for all sex education classes in Illinois.

The legislation has now become law and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has filed new rules with the secretary of state on the adoption of the National Sex Education Standards. As part of the checklist of things to do before instruction begins, school officials are advised to “Review and become familiar with the National Sex Education Standards.”

This begs the question: What are the standards all about?

Here are examples: According to the National Sex Education Standards, one of the learning goals for kids beginning in kindergarten is to “Define Consent,” and “Define gender, gender identity, and gender-role stereotypes.”

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Beginning in the third grade, kids are expected to be able to “Explain common human sexual development and the role of hormones (e.g., romantic, and sexual feelings, masturbation, mood swings, timing of pubertal onset).”

Another goal for third through fifth graders is to be able to “Describe the role hormones play in the physical, social, cognitive, and emotional changes during adolescence and the potential role of hormone blockers on young people who identify as transgender.”

The standards also expect sixth through eighth graders to be able to “Define vaginal, oral, and anal sex.”

In other words, the standards go far beyond biology and seek to teach kids at young ages material that is clearly not age-appropriate.

The good news is that Illinois schools are not required to teach sex education, and thus can opt out of teaching these obscene standards. Local school boards have the authority to establish their own curriculum guidelines, and are not required to comply with the standards.

I have been sounding the alarm and urging parents to get involved and stop this curriculum from taking hold in their local schools. Numerous districts across the state are opting out.

Meanwhile, parents are asking how schools can justify teaching a radical sex education curriculum when so many of our students, across the state, are not meeting basic standards of learning in core subjects.

According to the most recent Illinois Assessment of Readiness text scores, fewer than one in five Chicago third-graders met or exceeded state standards in reading and math. And it is not just Chicago — school districts across the state have similar problems with low scores.

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The focus in our schools should be on giving children the building blocks they need to learn — how to read, write, add, subtract and have a basic understanding of science and history. It is not the job of schools to teach graphic sexual content, especially when our kids are not meeting our state’s basic academic standards of learning.

My colleagues and I worked to stop the National Sex Education Standards from becoming a part of our state’s school curriculum, but we fell just short of defeating the legislation. The battleground now moves to parents and local school boards to opt out of teaching these standards. It is a battle we can and will win, as long as parents stay engaged.

State Rep. Adam Niemerg is a Republican who represents the 109th District.

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