Texas State Board of Education Approves Sex Education Changes for Single Textbook Publisher

Other editors have been criticized for the way they cover content such as abortion, masturbation, and LGBTQ + topics.

AUSTIN, Texas – On Friday, the Texas State Board of Education voted to adopt new health textbooks from a single publisher after critics opposed content taught in schools on topics related to the sex education.

Earlier this week, the SBOE tentatively rejected a list of publisher sex education materials for middle and high school students. According to The Texas Tribune, the publishers were Lessonbee Inc., Human Kinetics, and Goodheart-Willcox. A fourth, QuaverEd, had been approved on a preliminary basis on Tuesday but did not progress further after the company agreed to change its inclusion of subjects of suicide and self-harm.

It would appear that several board members objected to the way the documents discussed masturbation and abortion resources. And some members have said the publishers’ proposals aren’t promoting abstinence enough and their constituents are unlikely to support them.

Editors proposed numerous changes on Wednesday in hopes of winning a final vote. According to the Texas Freedom Network, Goodheart-Willcox, for example, has removed coverage for HIV preventive drugs PrEP and PEP and weakened content about condom effectiveness.

The Texas Freedom Network also reported that although most of the content on human sexuality and reproduction in textbooks offered for middle and high schools appears in optional units that school districts can choose to share or deny to students, the council rejected them anyway.

“This week offered even more evidence that politics continues to trump education and teaching the truth in Texas schools, even when it comes to the health and lives of our children,” he said. said Rocio Fierro Pérez, political coordinator of the Texas Freedom Network. “This week’s votes make it clear that the Texas State Board of Education remains heavily involved in textbook censorship. It is frustrating to see the health and education of millions of Texas students continue to be held hostage to. the politics of ignorance and exclusion. “

The group says the four textbooks under review emphasized abstinence while also addressing contraception and STI prevention in elective units.

Meanwhile, activists at Texas Values ​​are calling the decision a victory for Texan students.

“We are pleased that the elected council has rejected radical LGBT material and abortion to be on the council’s list of recommended textbooks for health education in public schools,” the group said in a statement. Instead, the board approved an abstinence-focused manual based on state education standards. Ultimately, parents have the responsibility and the right to know what program their school boards have. locals choose for students in their district, and as of this year, Texas is an “opt-in” state for sex education. “

The non-profit organization said many parents and advocates have participated in the public testimony since the meeting began on Tuesday. Texas Values ​​says parents objected to how textbooks discussed LGBTQ + topics, abortion and “at least one scenario that specifically described a sexual encounter between children.”

Texas Values ​​reported that the board ultimately voted to accept only Goodheart-Wilcox educational materials by a 10-3 vote. The council also rejected sex education materials for elementary schools.

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