Updated: Nov 13
In 2020, for the first time in 20 years, Texas updated their Health TEKS. TEKS stands for Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. These are the elements Texas educators are required to teach. Some big changes occurred when this happened.
The number of Reproductive & Sexual Health SEs (Student Expectations) more than doubled (from 41 to 118)
The number of overall SEs increased by 147 (470 in 1998 to 617 in 2020).
The Texas SBOE was required to adopt health curriculum in 2021 in order to prepare for every school district in Texas to select new curriculum in 2022 that meet the new TEKS. This sounds simple enough. Unfortunately, there were only 4 health curriculum vendors that submitted health and human sexuality curriculum to the SBOE.
Why were there only 4 choices?
Were the other curriculum vendors aware of the new TEKS and deadlines for submission?
Was there adequate time given for a curriculum publishers to acquire the new TEKS and then produce a new quality text?
Does Texas have curriculum publisher requirements to ensure curriculums fit the values of Texans and thus written by Texans?
These are all questions that we do not have answers for. However, we are very familiar with the 4 vendors and options presented to the SBOE. The 4 vendors were:
One of the Texans Wake Up team members participated in the health curriculum review process and gave recommendations to the SBOE members. She was the team lead on the curriculum review for Human Kinetics. The analysis tool used to review all curriculums was the Comprehensive Sexuality Education Harm Analysis Tool available on the www.StopCSE.org website. This tool lists 15 harmful elements of CSE. If the curriculum has even 1 element of the 15, it is considered a failure and certainly not acceptable for Texas children. Here were the results:
The data produced from these in depth reviews was gathered by parents, grandparents, clergy and citizens from all over Texas. The summaries and rubrics were posted to Texas, Speak Up! website (not to be confused with us, Texans, Wake Up). The final results were shocking. The summaries highlighted numerous ways that publishing companies are harming children. Over 17 Texas Grassroot organizations begged Texas SBOE members to vote out all of the available choices.
Sadly, in the end, the SBOE voted in Goodheart-Wilcox, we believe under direction of the Governor of Texas. We cannot stress enough how this is an unprescedented event in Texas. Not only is the Texas adopted health curriculum harmful to children, but there are no other viable choices. Worse yet, so many schools go with what the SBOE adopts because they trust their decisions and because there are financial incentives.
So what now?
The good news is that a school district can select any curriculum they so choose and do not have to select what the Texas SBOE adopts. This local control is controlled by the SHAC (school health advisory counsel). The SHAC selects their own curriculums, review and present recommendations to a local school board. The school board has the final say and may accept or reject the SHAC's recommendations. They do have to consider the SHAC's recommendations (see TEC 28.004).
On Monday, May 9th, 2022, the Canyon ISD SHAC (School Health Advisory Council) conveyed two recommendations to the Canyon Board of Trustees. (aka school board). They recommended adoption of:
Crazy enough, the Canyon ISD faculty shared their recommendations at the same meeting (that is a whole other story/issue in itself). Their selections were:
More on the districts action and choices in a later blog. Texans Wake Up views all of these curriculums as very harmful for children. All are being considered for adoption in school districts all over Texas. The focus of this article is to highlight why parents should be concerned and layout solutions.
Need To Know
Within the health umbrella is sexuality education. Sexuality education falls into two categories: SRR and SRA. SRR is sexual risk reduction and SRA is sexual risk avoidance. Here is an excellent video highlighting the differences.
Texas Education Code 28.004 gives Texans options. It clearly states that human sexuality instruction is NOT mandatory. Although there are health TEKS that include human sexuality and reproductive components, a district can still decide to not teach any human sexuality components, period. Let's clear that up. Not teaching human sexuality instruction will always be the recommendation of Texans Wake Up especially in today's climate and participating in the 2021 health curriculum review process. Bottom line, we feel that it is the privilege, right, and duty of parents to discuss this topic in full in the home. Although we understand that it may not happen in every home, this is the way we feel it should be.
If human sexuality is taught by a district, we are hopeful that the school board will make the choice to let parents have control. Health is not state mandated for high school. A local school district can decide on their own whether they want to require a health credit in high school in order for a student to graduate or not. We think model school board policy should not require health for 9-12. We believe this is a sign of a top-notch school board and this question should be asked of all board candidates.
If sexuality instruction is provided, it must adhere to Texas Education Code 28.004e(1-5) which essentially promotes abstinence, abstinence, abstinence which is the equivalent of SRA (sexual risk avoidance) curriculum.
So if SRA curriculum is required, where can I find it? There is one organization in the US that certifies curriculum as SRA. Publishing houses must submit the curriculum to Ascend in order for it to be heavily analyzed and ensure it meets the high standards to carry the 'Ascend SRA Certified' stamp of approval. Visit Ascend at https://weascend.org. Although, there are SRA curriculums that are not Ascend SRA Certified on the market.*
Parents also need to be informed about two sexuality education standards in the United States. The two leaders are:
NSES (National Sexuality Education Standards) were developed by the Future of Sex Education initiative.
The NSES were developed by the Future of Sex Education
Initiative in partnership with SIECUS, Answer, Planned Parenthood (PP),
Advocates for Youth (AFY) (the unofficial youth arm of Planned Parenthood, and the Gay,
Lesbian and Straight Educators Network (GLSEN). The NSES standards are extremely harmful and support Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE). Please see www.stopCSE.org for more information on why CSE is harmful for youth. See our document below entitled "SIECUS Sex Education Guidelines and the National Sexuality Education Standards are the X-Rated Common Core Comprehensive Sex Education Standards" for more information on NSES.
The K-12 Standards were founded on positive character and healthy relationships. K-12 Standards promote that “avoiding sexual activity” is “the only 100% effective way” to prevent teen pregnancy and STDs/STIs. Texans Wake Up recommends any sexuality education curriculum adhere to these standards, at a minimum. These standards also align with Texas Education Code 28.004e(1-5).
Texans Wake Up believes that sexuality education does not belong in schools. Parents have the constitutional right to lead the education and moral upbringing of their children. We believe Texas should remove health science all together and simply teach a few elements of good hygiene and healthy eating choices. Until this happens, here are our sexuality education solutions.
SRA Human Sexuality / Health Curriculum Solutions (in no particular order)*
ESTEEM (used by Nazareth ISD, just adopted by Fredericksburg ISD, serving 48 Texas districts))
A&M Partnership (not the university)
Aim For Success by Just Say YES
Living Well Aware (formerly named Worth The Wait; used by Amarillo ISD & SHAC approved for 2022, too)
Best Decisions (Hope Choice's new Human Sexuality Curriculum)
For any health TEKS that are not met in the above curriculums, we recommend either writing the curriculum yourself or having a trusted source do it for you. For Canyon ISD specifically, we recommend asking Hope Choice since they already teach curriculum for CISD and because we believe they have a fantastic reputation and are a local, trusted resource. Writing your own curriculum is very achievable. This is not trigonometry. It is health. Below are the number of health TEKS broken down by thread and grade.
WRAP IT UP
In summary, all curriculum choices should avoid the harmful NSES standards. There are plenty of options available to protect our children and adhere to the SRA state requirements, and align with K-12 Standards for Optimal Sexual Development. A school district absolutely does not have to select one curriculum that fits 100% of the TEKS. If anything, this is the year to step outside the box, put forth the effort, and take action to protect our most precious asset, our children.
Tip: Do not opt your child into sexuality education.
Side Note: For a deep dive into 3 of the harmful curriculums, please see our blog entitled ...
* Note that most of the curriculums were Ascend certified, but state and federal funding has now mandated that you have evidence-based programs. Originally, these programs did not require extremely costly evaluations or require that children be surveyed. Ascend certification has lost some credibility in our eyes for these reasons, but standards are still met. You just can't judge the vendors that were not able to access grants to pay the absorbent fees or that don't want to survey children. This is our opinion.
*We recommend you evaluate each program yourself and review each curriculum thoroughly. Texans Wake Up is not endorsing or recommending any particular curriculum except that we have faith and trust in Hope Choice. Each ISD or SHAC needs to do their own in depth research. We feel we've given you solid ground to stand on.
* All information in the article is for parents to understand the curriculum being proposed for their children and falls under Fair Use laws.
- Actual Texas Health TEKS from 2020.
- Title V funding - The Texas Appropriations bill requires Title V to be SRA. Visit Texas Health and Human Services and request an application.
- K-12 Standards for Optimal Sexual Development from the Medical Institute for Sexual Health
- Gold mine of supporting materials for SRA, visit Ascend resources.
- Sample resolution to prohibit NSES for Texas Republican Party Platform: