"But if it is believed that these elementary schools will be better managed by...any other general authority of the government, than by the parents within each ward [district], it is a belief against all experience." --Thomas Jefferson


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

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Sunday, February 5, 2017

HB215--CSE: No One's Child is Safe While the Legislature is in Session

Disclaimer: the topic of this blog post is mature but it is necessary for parents to be properly informed about their children's education.  Comments will not be accepted for this post.

Mark Twain famously said, "No man's life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session."  He should have added children to the mix.

The most pressing issue, in my opinion, is HB215.  This modifies state law to allow for greater latitude in teaching children sexuality education (also known as Comprehensive Sexuality Education or CSE) which, as it has been implemented in other states, goes far beyond biology and medical facts. HB215:

 1) decriminalizes providing IUD's and abortion services to minor children without parental consent and
2) REMOVES some common-sense prohibitions from school curriculum guidelines in K-12.

For example, current law includes the following that will be removed should this law pass.

1. Stressing the importance of abstinence before marriage and fidelity after marriage as methods for preventing certain communicable diseases. *
2. Instruction is not allowed to facilitate or encourage the violation of any state or federal criminal law.*
3. Local school district material is not currently allowed to go into "how to", including erotic behavior, etc.**

Our current state law allows for abstinence-based instruction, not abstinence-only.  It is also Opt-in, meaning parents have to agree to let their children participate.  Parents also are able to review the contents and in many cases are invited to attend.  To see the current FAQs from the State Board website, click here.  These FAQs indicate what is CURRENTLY being taught.  Everything proponents of CSE and this bill state, are already being taught and discussed.

The media is trying to portray our current instruction as being too prudish and not providing students with accurate information.  A poll asked Utahns if they preferred an ***abstinence-ONLY approach versus a comprehensive approach.  No definition of what these two terms meant was provided. Most people approved of the 'comprehensive' approach.  But it most decidedly didn't ask if instruction in erotic behavior should be included in K-12 school curricula.

For information on how CSE is being marketed here and used in other states, please download this PowerPoint.  If you look at lines 136-144, lines 191-197, lines 220-240 and lines 260-26 in HB215, you will see what state law is being changed that will now allow CSE curricula as outlined in the PowerPoint.  The worst part is that CSE downplays the risk factors that lead to unwanted pregnancies and STIs.  In the interest of providing a 'more comprehensive' sexual instruction to our children, we are doing them a grave disservice by downplaying the risks (both physical and emotional) that accompany sexual activity.

The job of the schools is not to promote a view of society absent reality.  Our job should be to present the facts that our children will need about this important topic.  Everything else, parents can choose to present at home.

Additional resources:
Talking Points on HB215: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzUjUSlTes-4XzNOTzVHZnZiQjg

War on Children video (10 min or 35 min documentary):  http://www.comprehensivesexualityeducation.org/

1 hour presentation by Dr. Miriam Grossman, M.D. on a CSE curricula being implemented in Ontario, Canada.  About 19 minutes in she compares the instruction on smoking and alcohol to CSE and then provides medical information that most people didn't learn in school either.  Note: This is what CSE should actually mean.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21YvYPD56-U


* [(b) (i) That instruction shall stress:]
137          [(A) the importance of abstinence from all sexual activity before marriage and fidelity
138     after marriage as methods for preventing certain communicable diseases; and]
139          [(B) personal skills that encourage individual choice of abstinence and fidelity.]
140          [(ii) (A) At no time may instruction be provided, including responses to spontaneous
141     questions raised by students, regarding any means or methods that facilitate or encourage the
142     violation of any state or federal criminal law by a minor or an adult.]
143          [(B) Subsection (1)(b)(ii)(A) does not preclude an instructor from responding to a
144     spontaneous question as long as the response is consistent with the provisions of this section.]

** [emphasizing abstinence
192     before marriage and fidelity after marriage, and prohibiting instruction in:];
193          [(I) the intricacies of intercourse, sexual stimulation, or erotic behavior;]
194          [(II) the advocacy of homosexuality;]
195          [(III) the advocacy or encouragement of the use of contraceptive methods or devices;
196     or]
197          [(IV) the advocacy of sexual activity outside of marriage;]

***Utah law allows for an abstinence-based approach, not abstinence-only.  So, the poll was disingenuous to begin with.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Mission Statement and Murdock Canal: Jan 3, 10, 17 Meetings

The two top issues for Board meetings this month are the Mission Statement will be addressed at the Board Retreat on Tuesday, Jan. 17.  And a resolution supporting the Murdock Canal road construction from 4800 West (Highland/Cedar Hills by Harvey Blvd) to 100 East (Alpine Hwy in Highland) will be voted on.  Board Agenda for Jan. 10 is here.

Mission Statement
The mission statement is "Educating all students to ensure the future of our democracy."  Seven years ago (yes, time flies) there were concerns about the mission statement.  The first concern is that our country is a republic, not a democracy.  (For a good video on the difference, go here or see the embedded video above.)  Democracy is a concern because it implies that the common good, as determined by the majority, outweighs the rights of the individual.  Other concerns had to do with John Goodlad, whose Moral Dimensions of Teaching, formed the basis of the mission statement in Alpine School District.  In reading Dr. Goodlad's books (The Moral Dimensions of Teaching and Developing Democratic Character in the Young), I found quite a few ideas that didn't square with my understanding of individual, unalienable rights discussed in the Constitution.  I think it is safe to say that Dr. Goodlad is focused on creating a more socialistic society in America than currently exists, and he hopes to do so through education in the youth.  I'll admit this is a very controversial situation.  But that's the point.  Our previous board had discussed finding a mission statement that would be less controversial and would appeal the the vast majority of our taxpayers and patrons.  If you have suggestions for the mission statement, you are welcome to email the board members or make public comment at any of the Board meetings.  The next meeting is tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 10 @ 6pm.  (You will want want to come a few minutes early to sign up.)



Murdock Canal Road

For years, a proposed East-West road has been proposed near the Murdock Canal in Highland.  Highland City is planning on building this road.  However, due to certain legal requirements and the proximity to the Utah State Developmental Center, the State Legislature must give its approval for this new development.  The City Councils of Highland City and American Fork have passed formal resolutions in support of this construction.  Cedar Hills has voiced its support for this construction project as well.  On Tuesday, Jan. 10, @ 6pm, the Alpine School Board will consider a resolution in support of this project, as well.  I, personally, am in support of this project.  Those involved want to make sure that all parties are taken care of, while allowing an East-West corridor that facilitates quicker times to AF Hospital without using SR-92.

Non-Discrimination Policy and Property Purchases

Also, a discussion about possible changes to our non-discrimination policy will be addressed, and several property purchase resolutions. To read the policy proposal and the resolutions, download the "Meeting Documents" found here.)

Summit Energy Proposal
A proposal to obtain Natural Gas through Summit Energy instead of Questar for our secondary schools is also on the agenda.  The proposal shows a significant cost savings on an annual basis.  Summit Energy presented to the Board on Jan. 3, 2017.  You can listen to the audio here.  (Additional Media->Board Meeting start around 8min in: http://board.alpineschools.org/2016/12/21/january-3-2017-board-meeting/)