Tomorrow I am taking off at 5am for the State Board of Education hearing on the framework for K-12 health education in our state. The second draft of the standards was released in July and is a complete departure from what medical experts, education professionals and decades of research clearly demonstrates is effective health education. The second draft significantly weakens the inclusion of medically-accurate and age-appropriate essential elements—STD and pregnancy prevention, sexual orientation, gender identity, consent, and diverse family structures—resulting in a complete departure from what medical experts and decades of research clearly demonstrate is effective health education. By removing these topics, the second draft fails to align with not only best practices in the health education field, but also the State Board of Education’s own Nondiscrimination and Equitable Educational Opportunities in Schools Position Statement, which states that all students should be “known, heard and supported.”
We’ve tried doing it the religious right’s way. Opponents of comprehensive health education have already seen the consequences and ramifications of a world where kids are raised with abstinence-only education, with prejudice and bigotry against LGBTQ+ individuals, without access to contraceptives, and with expectations of body shame bordering on absurdity. This is the world we live in now, this is the world our parents and grandparents grew up in, and we can do better for our kids.
The opposition wants us to teach values, but just their values. However, that is not the role of a public school system, and we have 304,000 children to keep safe, alive, and thriving. Research shows that medically and scientifically accurate sex education decreases the number of teen pregnancies, decreases the incidence of abortion, and delays the average age when students begin engaging in sexual activity. Literally everybody knows that.
Tomorrow I will testify in my capacity as a parent, but also as a legislator and fellow elected official, and encourage the Board of Education to summon the political courage to support medically-accurate, research-based standards which is what students need and what Nebraskans want.
Let me show you some Hawaii pics. Last November at peak get-us-out-of-this-pandemic, Danny planned a 10-day trip to Hawaii for the end of the legislative session. We hiked the Kalalau Trail, stayed in a house on a volcano, saw beautiful beaches and lava fields, rented this super cute vintage convertible, took in every sunset, saw beautiful tropical fish snorkeling, stayed on a mango farm, hitchhiked, swam constantly, and I actually got quite a bit of work done. It was a bit off the beaten path and he found all the gems. It was the best reset - I’m so grateful and lucky to have gotten to go now and see this part of the world. And SO grateful for vaccines and testing - we weren’t even sure this trip would be possible.
Locals: Do you know any good woodworkers??
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