Sunday, January 16, 2000
Parent alert on sex education
Ohio is about to decide to accept or reject federal sex education that is offensive to most Ohioans, and school health plans engineered in Washington. Let's just say no.
Public hearings are set for Thursday and Friday, with a possible vote by the General Assembly next week. The controversy erupted last year when lawmakers and citizens got a look at the content of sex education promoted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC's so-called Programs that Work teach hands-on condom exercises and lessons in oral and anal sex to kids as early as middle school. Teacher training for the programs was part of a five-year, $3.7 million federal grant package to the Ohio Department of Education and Department of Health, for Coordinated School Health and AIDS Education.
When Ohio legislators found out state agencies were using tax dollars to do this, they froze further spending until hearings and a vote.
But there's more at stake with these grants than offensive sex-ed programs. They're only the tail on the elephant of a massive federal and state effort to make schools into one-stop health and social service clinics. The decade-old push for Comprehensive Health education and services in every school is a collaboration of many agencies to remake American schools for the 21st century.
Ohio is at the cutting edge of this national controversy, as one of 15 states getting CDC money to build a statewide system for comprehensive/coordinated school health K-12.
Starting in mid-1990s, the CDC aligned with education and health organizations to develop curricula, train teachers, squelch objections and build the infrastructure to implement hundreds of health and social programs in every state and school. All at public expense.
There is public resistance in other states, too. Pennsylvania legislators investigated the unauthorized use of federal tax and private dollars to open school clinics doing gynecological exams without parents' permission. Parents in California, Illinois and West Virginia are protesting everything from sexuality indoctrination to psychological testing without parents' knowledge.
The school health backlash is also triggering scrutiny of the increasing use of federal grants to shape school curricula and services by bureaucratic fiat.
For seveal years, ODE, ODH and other groups, using federal and soem state money, have worked to expand health and social services in schools. They're pushing a state health model, helping districts rewrite curricula, lobbying lawmakers, and more.
Most people see only the good that can come when government, schools and communities work together for healthy children. What they don't see at first glance is how federal and state bureaucrats are using schools and community groups to push radical agendas, at public expense.
The CDC grant under scrutiny in Ohio this week expands the use of money for coordinated school health and makes it a permanent line item in the state budget to be used as flow through for federal money. The hearings open a door for the public to learn more about what's coming (besides sex ed) and for elected leaders to curb the creeping federal reach into our schools.
Nobody denies the value of good health education. But turning schools into health and social-service centers has a dubious link to better schools, which are struggling to teach reading and math. Such dramatic changes should be debated fully in the open.
The comprehensive health locomotive pulls a train of new federal intrusion into local schools and family lives. Parents are learning, to their dismay, that local control could be limited to choosing a way to implement predetermined federal and state dictates.
Saying no to the CDC prescription for our schools will get Ohio back on the right track.
Parents and all taxpayers need to send a message to their elected leaders local, state and national that our schools are no place to experiment with value-free sex and health indoctrination. Ohio should reject the intrusive CDC grants.
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