8 Misconceptions about the CSE mandate
Knowledge is power.
There are many misconceptions about the new Comprehensive Sexual Health Education Law.
We hope to shine a light on false assumptions, lay out the facts,
and point you to the sources so you can see for yourself.
The facts are...
This new law is an unfunded mandate on districts to use curricula approved by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) or choose to get their own. Here's the catch...
1. If they write their own curriculum, it is at their own expense. The cost associated with writing and implementing a new curriculum makes this an impossible option, especially for smaller school districts. There are materials, teacher education, and so on to pay for. Eatonville estimated their cost of implementing their own, non-damaging curriculum according to this law would be $231,972 (Eatonville School District Meeting on SB5395 explaining the costs of creating their own curriculum). Othello school district wrote a letter stating, “This unfunded mandate would add further strain to our adoption cycle and force us to delay much needed materials in other areas.” (Read the rest of their letter)
3. Let's imagine a district can manage to afford their own curriculum and implement it in a few months. They now have to submit their choice to OSPI, who can still reject their decision. OSPI has stated that a school's proposed curriculum must fit the new CSE ideology. (ESSB 5395).
4. This law will also force districts to send their curriculum choice to OSPI for approval every year. A letter from the Mead school district states, "This bill substantially takes away local control when it comes to sexual health education curriculum content and adds yet another unfunded mandate that further restricts how the district allocates resources...In no other content area do we submit our curriculum to OSPI or any legislative education committee for approval..."(Read more of the Mead Letter).
Many other districts have sent similar letters, including Eatonville, Peninsula, Chehalis, Othello, Clover, Central Valley, and many more. (Find additional letters under Resources.)
In the end, schools are coerced into using the already approved OSPI curriculum. OSPI has only approved CSE material. Currently, the ONLY approved CSE curriculum option for grades K-2 is called the 3Rs. (See OSPI List of Curriculum and The 3Rs).
Districts can easily choose their own curriculum.
The facts are...
The CSE curriculum is age-appropriate.
OSPI will now be the final say in what sex-ed curricula are age-appropriate. Not physical or mental health experts.
And OSPI is wrong.
Here are a few examples of what OSPI is deeming age-appropriate for our children:
Students are being taught it is their fault if their boundaries are violated when their "no" isn't firm enough. A CSE lesson asks 12-year olds to practice eliciting sex from each other. A student is told to say “no.” Their peers then fill out a worksheet analyzing if the “no'' was good enough. Was it too “passive” or “aggressive”? In the same lesson they teach that “compromise is a part of every relationship.” This does not teach safe boundaries. No child should worry about giving a 'good enough' “no” to sex. (3Rs, Grade 6 lesson 4) and (3Rs, Grade 7, Lesson 9). Students are being taught how to coerce someone into any sexual act. These lessons can create victims and abusers, not protect children. (Flash "Communication" lessons).
A 7th-grade lesson teaches it's "important" for 12-year-olds to bathe together and mutually masturbate. “These behaviors [including co-bathing and mutual masturbation] are important because they can help people learn about their bodies and build connection between people without any risk of STDs (or pregnancy)". (3R, 7th Grade, Lesson 5) .
Students are assigned to visit sexually explicit websites in class. One lesson encourages students to break off and familiarize themselves with a website called Scarleteen.com. It has articles titled, "Well, F*ck Me" with "A guide to getting it on with: "Your name here.” and articles like “I want more Kink, but I don’t know how to ask a partner for it." There are articles talking about the choking method, what to do if your parents are too religious, and so on. The curriculum states that this site is "accurate and reliable", despite the fact it is written by teens. (3Rs, Grade10, Lesson 7)
14-year old students are told a step-by-step description of an orgasm in a co-ed classroom. Why is this considered necessary information? Is this supposed to help child abuse, as OSPI claims? (Flash, Lesson 2, pg. 9)
Kindergarteners are given a lesson on how their parents have sex. It says, "a simple explanation is the father’s penis fits into the mother’s vagina. This can happen when the mother and father lay very close together during special times when they are alone...”(FLASH Grades K-4 p.138). Under the 3Rs curriculum, there are notes to the teacher saying they can teach kindergarteners that the “the vagina has great elasticity, and can adjust to the size of a penis” (3Rs, Kindergarten, Lesson 2, pg.8). Remember children in this age group act out in play what they learn.
A lesson encourages 10-year-olds to use the internet to find answers to a list of questions such as "What if the penis or vagina is 'too big' or 'too small'?" Telling children to research these questions, opens them up to finding inappropriate and harmful material (FLASH Grades 4-6, p. 12-4).
15-year old students are shown a video promoting sexting. The video explains that sexting can "increase intimacy", that it is "another aspect of normal human development", and creates "higher levels of sexual satisfaction". The video then promotes the idea that although sexting is illegal under child pornography laws, that thankfully it will soon be changed. (3Rs Grade 10, Lesson 5).
Students are exposed to explicit pictures and instructions of sex acts. A book used throughout CSE curriculums (including 3Rs and FLASH) is called "It’s Perfectly Normal." This is one of the most explicit sex education books for young children. It describes in full detail maturation, masturbation, erections, and sexual intercourse. The book contains realistic illustrations of nude people of all ages and shows illustrations of children masturbating, having erections, and nude people having sex. Not just expressing facts but emphasizing these as pleasurable things to experience (FLASH Grades 4-6, p. 6 and 3R’s, 4th Grade, Lesson 1). StopCSE.org has made a document showing a few of the parts of the book that have people upset. Note that the actual book does NOT blur genitalia. (pages of concern)
PARENTS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO ATTEND CSE CLASSES
If the House felt confident that this material was age-appropriate, why aren’t parents allowed to attend class? (Amendment #76, Pg.4 Ln.12)
The FCC didn't think the curriculum was appropriate. When reading the elementary curriculum out loud in the House legislative session, the station TVW was required to sensor it (see TVW).
Another site that has more information is StopCSE.org. It has a list of the 15 harmful elements of CSE. They also perform a harmful analysis and rate each new CSE material based on its content. Check it out here.
the facts are...
Legislators are denying lessons on safe boundaries and signs of predators.
If this was about protecting kids and teaching safe boundaries, then why did legislators refuse an amendment that required teaching children about safe boundaries? (see Amendment #1820) Why did they deny an amendment requiring education on how to recognize the danger signs of online predators and sex traffickers? (see Amendment #2018)
Experts say CSE ideology is dangerous.
Many police officers, sex trafficking organizations, and psychotherapists have explained this CSE ideology is dangerous to kids. Here's part of Officer Chris Fitzgerald's statement as a child crimes detective “Based on my experience and training I can confidently say that in my opinion SB5395 (R-90) the mandated comprehensive sex education bill is nothing but a frame work for grooming children to be victims of sexual abuse and an obscene assault on innocence.” (Read her full statement).
We have already in place to educate and protect our children.
On February 3, 2018 Erin’s Law was established. It mandates that school districts teach students about personal body safety and how to speak up if they are being abused. So we already have a law requiring abuse prevention (http://www.erinslaw.org). Did you know House Bill 1539 is said to be "a model curriculum for the prevention of sexual abuse of students in kindergarten through twelfth grade in the state of Washington"? (House Bill 1539) This shows that we already have laws to protect our children from sexual abuse. R-90 is not necessary.
CSE has made school sexual harassment the norm
Read part of an 8th-grade student's testimony. She talks about when her school started using the approved CSE FLASH curriculum. “I’d like to tell you what the sex education curriculum has done to our school in the last couple years. Feeling violated is our new norm. Sexual harassment is the new norm. Lack of respect is the new norm. Graphic details, pornographic images and inappropriate assignments have become a part of everyday...We deserve safe boundaries and we need you to provide them after all, we have to live with the laws you pass. Please vote no on this bill and protect our dignity.” Listen to them here: (Student 1) and (Student 2).
The CSE will help protect kids against sexual abuse.
the Facts are...
CSE is "inclusive for all students."
CSE excludes the concerns of many students and families. There were over 9,850 letters sent to the Governor asking to reject this law, and only 59 in support.
Parents want their kids to have healthy sex education. Voter data shows that the majority of parents however, don’t want an extreme CSE philosophy. Sex Education should be inclusive of everyone.
Additionally, the material associated with this law specifically degrades the roles or beliefs of parents and certain religious groups.
Here are some examples:
A lot of the curriculum, stereotypes parents as thinking their kids are "stupid, lazy and all have sex..." (FLASH Lesson 5, Page 7)
There is a story in the curriculum of two students not talking to their parents because they “grew up in a conservative household” and because another student’s parents are “devout Catholics, and they don’t talk about sex or sexuality except to talk about abstinence and waiting for marriage” (3Rs, Grade 8, Lesson 2).
ESL families don't seem to be included. As stated before, they denied an amendment to allow non-English speakers materials to opt out or read the curriculum in any other language besides English (Amendment #2020).
Finally, legislators rejected the requirement for school district boards to consult with parents and guardians of students and local communities. (Amendment #1818). In such a sensitive and controversial topic, it would have seemed appropriate to make sure school districts spoke to the community they serve.
the facts are...
Parents can easily opt out their children.
This is a deceptive statement. Here's a few reasons...
1. Legislators who passed the CSE mandate refused to let students fully opt out of exposure to this material. (Amendment #2030) In Washington State we have 10,068 foster kids. Often those children have been severely sexually abused. Foster children are required to stay in public school. They can't opt out. This kind of material can be traumatic for them.
2. Opting out does not protect a child from incorrect CSE facts and ideologies. Even if a parent does manage to opt their child out of the CSE class, the material will still be taught in other classes. OSPI (Laurie Dils, Sexual Health Education Program Supervisor for the State of Washington)
testified on camera that they want to integrate this material into other subjects wherever they can. They say they want to provide it every year and not in a “stand-alone class” (see video).
CSE will be taught in other classes and subjects. At the end of many of the lessons, there is a section called "Integrated Learning Activities." This section shows teachers how to incorporate these topics into different subjects including math and language arts. The House refused an amendment that would have made sure this curriculum wasn't used in other subjects. (Amendment #1799).
In many lessons, students are given homework to contact their friends or others who weren’t there to share this information. One example is when students were asked to find four different kids their age and share with them what they learned about sexting (3Rs, Grade 10, Ls.5, Pg 62).
Let's say a parent opted their child out, and the child avoids their other classes. This curriculum still penetrates the culture of the school.
3. Opting out can cause bullying. Here's a quote from a student whose school adopted a CSE curriculum called Flash. "...opting out is not really an option. Anyone who does that gets teased and bullied even more. This really should be an elective class that you choose to take. Why can't it be that way?" Hear more from other students. (See Video 1, Video 2, and TVW Link).
4. ELA families are paying a price. What about non-English speaking parents or families? The bill says it will be "inclusive of ALL students." Contrary to that statement, they refused to make the curriculum or any notices available in any other language besides English. This makes it very difficult for non-English speaking parents to opt their children out. (Amendment #2020).
THE facts are...
actually teach it.
While many teachers recognize the unhealthy nature of CSE, there are some who feel comfortable teaching it and do so to the detriment of our children.
“The fact that parents were given the choice to opt their children out of CSHE is, in my mind, a tacit admission that the material is problematic for many people...Especially as a male instructor, I couldn’t imagine teaching some of these things to impressionable young people. An amendment was submitted to the legislature that requested that teachers also be allowed to opt out if they had objections to the curriculum. It was rejected. (Amendment #1803). Why are the convictions of the parents respected while those of educators are not?” - Brian, 4th Grade Teacher
Some teachers may not want to teach this curriculum, but there are teachers who will have no problem teaching it. In fact, some school districts like Sequim Middle School have already used the curriculum. However, due to some teacher, parent, and student complaints, it was removed. This law will not give the school of Sequim and others much chance to control their sex education content next time around. A video showing parents and staff of Sequim Middle School who had the approved OSPI’s curriculum removed can be seen here: Sequim Video.
The curriculum is "medically and scientifically accurate."
The CSE material is not founded on scientifically accurate information.
This is why they refused an amendment to require the curriculum to use clinical terminology and be reviewed by a gynecologist and urologist (see Amendment #75).
Some of the research quoted in the article is irresponsibly false. For example, the lessons teach the morning after pill (EC) is just as effective five days after sex. The facts are, we know there is a significant reduction in EC's effectiveness after three days. They say condoms protect against all STDs. But according to the CDC, that is not true. This curriculum also teaches that the "pulling out" method is "free and always available. More effective than most people think..." This is completely misleading, especially since there is no mention of the 22% failure rate, even with "a lot of self-control"(FLASH, HS Lesson 10)
Many doctor's have spoken out against CSE curriculum.
"I have reviewed the authors of the curriculum and I am appalled to realize that there were no professionals in the medical field who co-authored it, though I did see a Medical Assistant who is described as a “Family Planning Health Educator.” Instead, the curriculum enforces the authors’ values on our children in the guise of an educational program. I am asking you to cease the implementation of such a program. It is incomprehensive, of little educational value and loosely based on facts…” - Dr. Jude V. MD, FACP, SFHM
“...FLASH (a curriculum approved by OSPI) claims to be a “comprehensive sex education program” that contains “medically and scientifically accurate” information, yet upon closer examination, it contains inaccurate information and only tells the partial truth about birth control and STDs.” - Dr. Michele, MD (Here's her full review).
The curriculum does not discuss the health risks associated with different forms of birth control or the failure rates. Instead there's a note to teachers: "Research indicates that it's important to create a positive perception of birth control methods. Information about contraindications or specific health risks will be covered by medical providers, in the event that a student seeks out a particular method of birth control... The focus of this lesson is on the advantages of each method” (FLASH Lesson 7, Page 8) and (FLASH Lesson 10, Page 4)
CSE turns sexuality into friendship currency.
The curriculum defines sexuality as "how to trust, how to communicate. A person's sexuality has to do with whether they can make friends...or keep friends." Those definitions are not accurate and it is harmful to tell children that their sexuality will determine if they make friends are not (FLASH Grades 4-6, p. 1-3).
the facts are...
This curriculum will not increase sexual activity.
CSE curriculum will increase sexual behavior in our children from Kindergarten up.
According to the Institute for Research and Evaluation, “It is simply not accurate to say there is no evidence that Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) has increased sexual activity at younger ages. Five recent studies endorsed by the federal Teen Pregnancy Prevention program have found that school-based CSE increased sexual risk behavior, either for the full population of participants or major subgroups, many of whom were 12 or 13 years-old. These negative effects included increases in sexual initiation, oral sex, recent sex, number of partners, or pregnancy, and lasted anywhere from 6 to 24 months after the program ended” (See Abt Associates, 2018; Kelsey, et al., 2016; Markham, et al., 2014; Philliber, et al., 2016; Potter, et al., 2016).
Additional research and studies on CSE can be found at https://www.comprehensivesexualityeducation.org/research/
If there was confidence that this material doesn't increase sexual activity then why did they refuse the request to do a study of the curriculum to see if it increases or decreased sexual activity? (Amendment #1865)
This curriculum exposes youth to addictive pornographic material while refusing to provide any education on the addictive and harmful effects associated with it. Legislators shut down a request for the material to include education on the harmful and potential side effects of pornography, including addiction, disassociation, objectification of women and normalizing violent abusive behavior toward women (Amendment #1755).
OSPI calls for the CSE curriculum to emphasize sexual “pleasure” for children as young as kindergarten. It explains how fun and good it feels, while only briefly mentioning that abstinence is an option and neglecting to mention any of its benefits (see video).
One example from the curriculum is the recommended book for 9-year-olds called “It’s Perfectly Normal." The book is full of gratuitous pictures of nudity and describes the sensations of having sex while viewing illustrations of masturbation and couples engaging in sex (3Rs, 4th Grade, Lesson 1). StopCSE.org has made a document showing a few of the parts of the book that have people upset. Note that the actual book does NOT blur genitalia. (pages of concern)
Telling children sex is "highly pleasurable” and refraining from teaching any negative side effects of sexual promiscuity, will clearly result in increased sexual activity among children.
We have more than two options!
People have made this topic sound like there are only two options: "Abstinence-Only Education" or "Comprehensive Sexual Education." We submit that there can be a balance. Sexual Education should be age-appropriate and scientifically accurate. Sex Ed should teach kids about their bodies, how to protect themselves if they do engage in sexual activity, and how to identify and report sexual abuse.