New sex education standards for Texas public school students will not include controversial “comprehensive sex education” materials pushed by far-left activists.
On Friday, the State Board of Education (SBOE) unanimously adopted revised curriculum standards—known as Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)—for health education, science, and physical education.
The new health standards, which incorporate sexual and reproductive health instruction starting in grade 4, have been in the works for two years. The standards had not been updated since 1998.
At public hearings in June and September, leftist advocacy groups had pushed for radical additions to the statewide sex-ed curriculum taught in taxpayer-funded schools, calling it a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to change course.”
In September, the board voted 9-6 against inserting highly sexualized “LGBTQ+” and pro-abortion material into the health standards.
Parents had urged the board to keep the standards focused on abstinence and risk avoidance, and to preserve local control and parental rights.
“[Parents] are the experts. They know what’s best for the child,” educator Tonya Waite told SBOE members at the final public hearings held this week.
State law says human sexuality instruction is an optional component of health education in Texas school districts. If human sexuality is taught, course materials must emphasize abstinence. Otherwise, school districts exercise local control to determine the content of their sex-ed instruction (if any). Parents have the right to remove their children from any sexuality instruction.
An amendment added Wednesday affirmed those laws are an “integral part” of the health education standards.
“The new standards are based on health and science and promote optimal health for Texas’ students and their families,” said Lori Kuykendall, president and CEO of Medical Institute for Sexual Health and a member of three work groups that helped develop the revised health TEKS:
The new standards present an “optimal health” or “sexual risk avoidance” approach which includes upholding primary prevention for all students, regardless of their socioeconomic or family status, their sexual orientation, nor their past sexual experiences. The new standards present abstinence as the only 100% effective way to avoid the risks of pregnancy, STIs/STDs and emotional risks.
Citizens can contact their elected board representative with any questions or concerns.