Pastors Condemn Houston ISD’s LGBTQ Studies Proposal

Houston ISD
Houston ISD
Houston, TX

A prominent group of Houston pastors blasted the superintendent of the Houston Independent School District for his idea to add LGBTQ studies to existing U.S. history curriculum.

Last week, Richard Carranza, Houston ISD’s superintendent, raised the concept at an event hosted by the Houston Defender, a black news source, where also he addressed some of the challenges he has faced since taking the reins of the state’s largest school district nine months ago.

“The LGBTQ movement in the U.S. has a history, and in many cases, many people would call it a civil rights history in terms of acceptance and in terms of who have been leaders of the movement,” said Carranza, formerly superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District from 2012 until he joined Houston ISD in August of 2016.

“I think it’s part of the American history,” stated Carranza. He emphasized conversations about folding LGBTQ issues into the U.S. history curriculum as only in the beginning stages and any decisions could take months or even years to implement, according to the Houston Chronicle.

“To include that as part of what kids study is just a bigger picture of who we are as America,” added Carranza.

However, the Houston Area Pastor Council (HAPC), instrumental in defeating former Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s controversial 2015 city-wide transgender bathroom ordinance, strongly criticized Carranza’s “proposal.”

In a statement, HAPC Executive Director Dave Welch sounded off, calling LGBTQ studies “not about education” but “indoctrination” reminding the California transplant he is in Houston, not San Francisco.

In part, the statement read:

The proposal by HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza to introduce California-style LGBTQ “studies” into our children’s U.S. History curriculum is not about education; it is about indoctrination. Carranza is an import from San Francisco where this kind of propaganda that attempts to equate sexual lifestyles, gender confusion and hostility toward the traditional family has become the norm. The HISD Board of Trustees needs to remind Dr. Carranza that this is Texas, where the people of all ethnicities still believe that our children are to be protected, nurtured and educated, not used as a social experiment of a radical political agenda.

Carranza helmed SFUSD in 2012 when California Senate Bill 48, the FAIR (Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful) Education Act, dubbed the LGBT history law went into effect. It compelled schools to teach the contributions of LGBT people into the state’s social studies curriculum.

Also during Carranza’s tenure as San Francisco’s school superintendent, the school board adopted ethnic studies and became a sanctuary district. Similarly, since he joined Houston ISD, the board of trustees passed a “sanctuary” resolution. While it held no weight legally, it voiced support for the district’s Hispanic families “regardless of their immigration status” and rejected Texas’ anti-sanctuary cities law, Senate Bill 4.

In 2015, under Carranza, SFUSD offered an LGBT curriculum at one high school, a year before the California State Board of Education voted on a new History-Social Science Framework that included among its topics “a study of the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans.”

In Texas, though, the Health and Safety Code requires that public education materials emphasize “homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public,” according to the Houston newspaper.

TEA spokeswoman DeEtta Culbertson explained to Breitbart Texas that the health code refers to materials published and/or prepared by the Texas Department of Health and a school district may choose to use these materials or not. She stated that local school boards play a significant role in what is actually taught, as long as the state standards, the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), serve as the foundation for a school district’s curriculum.

“The local school health advisory committees determine what is taught regarding human sexuality in the individual districts,” she stated by email, citing Texas Education Code 28.004 which lists a variety of health-related subjects including human sexuality, physical fitness, smoking, and, in the lower grades, recess.

“They can go above and beyond what is required in instruction on the subjects as long as they use the TEKS as the foundation. And, schools are free to teach other subjects as approved by their local board.” Culbertson added, “This is really a matter of local control.”

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