A spokeswoman for the Planned Parenthood affiliate in Alaska is criticizing the state’s new sex education restrictions that require the curriculum to be approved by local school districts and open to review by parents.
Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii spokeswoman Jessica Cier said the legislation — which is becoming law without Gov. Bill Walker’s signature — is a “crushing blow for comprehensive and medically accurate sexual health education” because it will invite considerable scrutiny of the curriculum by parents and local boards of education.
Cier’s full statement is as follows:
Governor Walker failed to show leadership and failed Alaskan youth by choosing to support the dangerous restrictions on sexual health education that will now become law in Alaska. HB 156 is a crushing blow for comprehensive and medically accurate sexual health education in Alaska and his lack of action today has put the education of thousands of teens in Alaska at risk, elevating sex ed to the most scrutinized subject in the state. Every single guest speaker, every curriculum, and even every piece of paper being used must be individually approved by each school board. This is designed to do one thing: block students from accessing the sex education they need on safe sex and healthy relationships. Our students, and everyone else in Alaska, deserves [sic] better from their leaders.”
Walker had until last Thursday to sign or veto the legislation, but decided to do neither, leaving it to automatically take effect, reports the Associated Press.
The sex education measure is actually an amendment to a bill — passed by the state legislature in May — that aims to give local school boards in Alaska a respite from standardized testing. The bill, written by Wasilla state Rep. Wes Keller (R), calls for local school boards to create policies that permit parents to object to curricula and opt their children out of individual activities, an entire class, or state standardized testing.
The sex education amendment, written by state Sen. Mike Dunleavy, requires the curriculum to be taught by a certified teacher of a given school or an individual under a certified teacher’s supervision who has been approved by the local school district and whose credentials have been reviewed by parents.
Keller said the bill does not ban sex education but simply allows greater control over the curriculum by parents and local school boards. “The law does not tell the school board what curriculum to adopt,” he said.
Planned Parenthood – a proponent of comprehensive sex education – has formed an alliance with groups such as the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to promote LGBTQ-inclusive sex education in classrooms.