The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

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By Steve Erdman
Nebraska 47th District 

Straight Talk From Steve

 

It is time for the State Board of Education to reject the newly proposed comprehensive sex education standards. These proposed standards are politically driven, have no legitimate basis in science, and undermine the traditional family values held by the vast majority of Nebraskans.

The State Board of Education has received more than 2,000 emails and at least 4,000 survey responses in opposition to these newly proposed sex education standards. In addition, public testimony by citizens has been overwhelmingly against these new standards.

For instance, when a public hearing was held recently in Kearney approximately 450 opponents came out to testify against the new standards while only a handful testified in favor of them. After viewing the size of the crowd, the board limited testimony to the first 75 citizens, yet opponents still outnumbered proponents by 95 percent.

The reason that so many people oppose these new standards should come as no surprise. These new sex education standards are age-inappropriate and propose to teach Kindergarteners about cohabitation and same-sex relationships without any mention whatsoever of traditional nuclear family units. In addition, the new proposed standards seek to educate first graders about “gender identity and gender role stereotypes.” These kinds of topics are inappropriate for all children in public schools and remain the responsibility of parents, not educators.

Parents are the primary educators of children, not the State. Consequently, the most important people that the State Board of Education ought to be listening to are the parents, not the so called “experts.” Despite their denials to the contrary, these newly propose sex education standards mirror those of the National Sex Education Standards, which have already been rejected by several states, including Georgia, Idaho, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

Contrary to what Education Commissioner, Matthew Blomstedt, told the public on May 7, some of those who have contributed to the writing of these newly proposed sex education standards are activists, who do not reflect the traditional values held by most Nebraskans. For instance, some who provided feedback on Draft #1 include Liam Heeten-Rodriguez who has made donations to Planned Parenthood and an activist organization known as Sex Education for Social Change, Lisa Shultze who works for the Women’s Fund of Omaha, and Abbi Swatsworth who works for Out Nebraska, an LGBTQ+ activist organization, whose motto is “Advocating, celebrating and educating to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ people.”

Strangely missing from the writing team are parents, private school educators, clergy, or anyone else with a conservative Judeo-Christian worldview.

The fact of the matter is that sex education is a religious matter which shapes a child’s worldview. Those who come from a Judeo-Christian background tend to believe that sex is biologically binary, meaning that individuals are born as either male or female. But, those who come from a secular humanist background or a secular ethicist background, which have both been recognized as religions by the U.S. Supreme Court ever since the 1961 case of Torcasso v. Watkins, tend to hold to the more progressive belief that gender is fluid and is a matter of social constructs. So, whenever sex education gets taught in the public schools, it boils down to a matter of whose religion will get taught.

The State Board of Education has not been honest with Nebraskans about these newly proposed sex education standards. For instance, on May 7 Education Commissioner, Matthew Blomstedt, denied that the State Board of Education was updating the sex education standards by stating: “The State Board of Education is not approving a sexual education curriculum, textbooks, or instructional materials,” even though that is exactly what they are doing. The State Board of Education has denied that the newly proposed sex education standards were derived from standards set by the organization known as Sex Education for Social Change and the National Sex Education Standards, and they have changed the date from June to sometime this fall concerning when Draft #2 would be made available to the public.

As a result, their credibility has dwindled down to nothing and the public trust is gone. I believe their intention is to impose these new sex education standards upon Nebraskans against their will, and when they do, the only recourse will be to recall them.

 

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