Representatives with the Texas Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee say they are “proceeding cautiously” after a state education board rejected four of five proposed health curricula earlier this month in Austin.
Of the five proposed curricula, only Illinois-based publisher Goodheart-Willcox’s middle school health curriculum received approval from the Texas State Board of Education on Nov. 19. A detailed analysis of the approved curriculum and written rubrics for the material likely will not be available until after the Thanksgiving holiday, said TERLC advisor Cindy Asmussen.
“There is still a lot of work to be done of which parents need to be made aware,” Asmussen said. “There are still many concerns (about the Goodheart-Willcox materials).”
Among those concerns are the potential inclusion in the finalized materials of intrusive surveys, inappropriate mental health topics and objectionable wording.
TERLC, which represents the nearly 2,700 churches that comprise the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, had urged rejection of all the proposed materials on the basis that they “contain content unsuitable for the ages and grade levels proposed” in an open letter issued prior to the SBOE hearings. Included in the other four curricula that were rejected are graphic descriptions of a sexual encounter between students and specific information on how pregnant students can obtain information about getting an abortion.
As the public waits on the final edits of the Goodheart-Willcox materials, TERLC says parents, guardians and other concerned citizens can get involved on the local level in the following ways:
- Find out when their local school district will form textbook review committees and ask how they can participate;
- Find out when their local school district will adopt instructional materials so they can testify, if necessary;
- Ask when their district’s School Health Advisory Committee will meet to discuss materials to recommend to the school board; and
- Determine whether the school district has adopted a policy regarding the new state law requiring parental opt-in for human sexuality, dating, family violence, child abuse and human trafficking, and how the district will provide for parental opt-out for any objectionable materials.
More information on the TERLC can be found here.