Updated Abstinence Education Program Also Promotes Good Citizenship; Counters Critical Race Theory
The Authentic Abstinence Program™ is an updated curriculum for students in grades 6-12, developed by the Collier Community Abstinence Program (CCAP) based in Collier County, Florida. As it has for years, the program successfully counters the appalling sex education curricula rampant in the schools, and promotes abstinence, “The Healthiest Lifestyle,” which also includes good citizenship.
The new curriculum offers a series of 32 streaming educational videos that are both “watchable” and “exciting” while taking advantage of teen-friendly online technology. The video lessons are designed for homeschool, virtual school, or in-classroom use, and they fulfill school requirements.
“When COVID hit, we realized we had to do something different,” explains Theresa Barbale, executive director, Life Network of Southwest Florida, and chief architect of the online videos. “So many kids were stuck at home, we needed to find a way to tailor the material for today’s student.” She describes the new program as a fit for “all different types of education scenarios,” which has dramatically widened its reach, including into many more small schools.
The broad spectrum approach of Authentic Abstinence further helps refute Critical Race Theory (CRT) and gender identity propaganda. “Parents are very upset about CRT,” says Barbale. “There are no books, and it’s typically taught by counselors and mentors who indoctrinate students about gender and race,” often without parental knowledge.
She continues: “The best way to teach our program is parent to child, and it’s the best way for parents to protect their child.” She adds that even when taught in the classroom or in a virtual class setting, parents can review and discuss the lessons with their kids at home. The accompanying time-tested workbooks contain stories and life lessons about real characters experiencing real-life situations, and they prompt parent-child discussions.
“It was a huge financial investment,” Barbale says of the videos, “but they fill a void. We’ve developed a plan to open locations in other states; anyone can order the program.” She reports that following a soft launch in December and a hard launch in January, her team had some glitches to work out that continue to be addressed. “We have 25,000 users already,” she says, “and we are currently drowning in requests.” The program has expanded into several other southwest Florida counties, the State of Virginia, and as far away as Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Authentic Abstinence has plans to go nationwide. Several conferences and curriculum fairs are on tap, including a formal in-person presentation before 7,000 homeschool families. At another conference, Barbale will follow Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis onstage to promote the program, which is also gaining notoriety by word of mouth. The Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence group is interested, as are a number of charter schools.
CCAP and its newest iteration grew out of an impressive legacy of abstinence education dating back to the 1970s. When Rear Admiral Jeremiah A. Denton (later a U.S. Senator from Alabama) returned from Vietnam a war hero, he became appalled by the moral decline he saw at home. Determined to make a difference, Denton approached Phyllis Schlafly for help in turning things around, and she enlisted one of her most loyal and effective leaders, Kathleen Sullivan, “to teach young people how to make good choices.” It was then that Project Reality was born, the precursor to CCAP, which spawned a successful model of abstinence instruction that has withstood the test of time.
Today, it appears the sky’s the limit for the Authentic Abstinence Program, with more states passing laws that require schools to teach abstinence rather than pornographic sex education. It’s really a fight of good vs. evil,” says Barbale, “and we’re in it to win it.”
Parents Groups Push Back on CRT
As CRT indoctrination has become more embedded in schools, government agencies and companies across the U.S., concerned parents and citizens have risen up against it. Education Reporter has written about these individuals and organizations in past issues (See Education Reporter, January, February, and April 2021.)
Two more organizations have come to light in recent weeks: Parents Against Critical Race Theory, based in Loudoun County, VA, and Parents Defending Education, a national grassroots organization.
The Loudoun County group placed an ad on social media earlier this month denouncing its school district’s teaching of CRT, which it says vilifies Christians and makes children feel bad about “white privilege” and “white fragility.” The group aims to recall six of the district’s current board members as a result of these lessons.
Shawntel Cooper, a parent of color and leader of the group, made national news when she gave a fiery presentation against CRT at a recent school board meeting. “CRT is not an honest dialogue, it is a tactic that was used by Hitler, and also the Ku Klux Klan on slavery very many years ago to dumb down my ancestors so we could not think for ourselves,” she said.
After her speech went viral, Cooper was invited to appear on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight on May 17. She told Carlson that CRT “teaches kids to hate their country and to judge each other based on skin color” and that the goal of her group is to stop CRT. “It contradicts everything Dr. Martin Luther King stood for,” she said. “It teaches hatred; it’s Marxist ideology, and I can’t stand for that.” She added: “It’s our job as parents to raise our children, not the school board’s job.”
As an example of the racism being fostered at her children’s school, Cooper described how some kids were denied membership in the student “Equity Ambassador Club” solely on the basis of their race. “Our Constitution is what unites us,” Cooper said, “not the color of our skin.”
Parents Defending Education
This brand new national organization positions itself as “working to reclaim our schools from activists promoting harmful agendas.” Its leaders are working mothers who strongly believe that “our children’s education should be based on scholarship and facts; our classrooms should include rigorous instruction in history, civics, literature, math, the sciences, and the ideas and values that enrich our country.”
The group’s website acts as a clearinghouse for parents to report activist propaganda in schools across the country. It includes an “IndoctriNation Map,” which shows the states and school districts where such curricula is being taught, the names of parents groups fighting it, the number of incidents reported, and the number of Freedom of Information Act Requests (FOIA) that have been submitted.
“We are inundated every single day with reports and submissions, with documents, emails, and screen shots from parents,” says Erika Sanzi, the organization’s director of outreach. “So much so that we are bringing interns on board to help with the backlog.”
Sanzi says her group is non-partisan and helps parents of all races and socio-economic backgrounds from across the political spectrum who don’t like the curricula they see being forced on their children. “Our organization is not based on labels,” she says. “We want to be a resource for parents. We advise them that if their gut is telling them something is wrong, it’s probably correct. We help them understand ‘woke jargon,’ and how to pin down their school administrators on defining terms.”
Another main focus of the group is helping parents learn how to advocate for their children. They also advise parents on how to file Freedom of Information Act Requests from school districts “so they can connect the dots from what their children are bringing home to the dollars that are being spent on it,” Sanzi says.
As Shawntel Cooper did a few nights later, Sanzi appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight on May 13 to talk about Parents Defending Education. She explained that her group “is trying to address what we see as an alarming increase in activism in the classroom; in reducing children and staff to their immutable traits, and focusing on social identities such as race and gender.” She added that she has never seen a bipartisan phenomenon against an ideology that is so intense “it almost seems like a tidal wave.”
Poll Shows Strong Opposition
On May 10, Parents Defending Education published the results of a poll on CRT and gender policies in K-12 education. From April 9-19, the professional polling organization Competitive Edge Research & Communication asked more than 800 active voters detailed questions about efforts to impose CRT and ‘social justice’ curriculum on K-12 schools. The results show that 70 percent of those polled oppose or strongly oppose such instruction. Seventy-four percent said they were “somewhat” or “strongly” opposed to teaching students that white people are inherently privileged and that African Americans and other people of color are inherently oppressed. A similar question revealed that 88 percent oppose teaching that “white students are ‘privileged’ while students of color are ‘oppressed,’” with 78 percent strongly opposed.
The survey also showed that 75 percent of respondents oppose teaching kids that there is no such thing as biological sex, and 80 percent oppose using the classroom to promote political activism.
Denial After Discovery
Last month, Education Reporter wrote about a document leaked on Twitter from the Rockwood School District in St. Louis County, MO, revealing that a curriculum coordinator told 6-12th-grade teachers how to conceal objectionable curricula from parents. Referring to parent complaints about CRT propaganda, the coordinator advised teachers to “keep teaching” but to hide the lessons from parents.
When the document caused an understandable uproar, teachers union reps and district officials swung into action, denying that CRT was being taught and insisting that the leaked memo was “unauthorized.” Rockwood Assistant Superintendent of Learning and Support Services Dr. Shelley Willott told a Fox 2 St. Louis News reporter that “Rockwood is not teaching radical racial theory and the curriculum stresses bringing people together.” Teachers and school board members demanded harassment protection and claimed to be receiving threats for the district’s “move toward equity and inclusion education programs.”
Similarly, a Loudoun County, VA school district spokesman denied that CRT is part of its schools’ curriculum, telling the New York Post that it’s really just “an effort to provide a welcoming, inclusive, affirming environment for all students.”
Change Agent Tactics
Shawntel Cooper and the moms of Parents Defending Education would doubtless disagree. Erika Sanzi says schools are either refusing to respond to concerned parents altogether or are telling parents they have no right to question or look at their children’s online assignments. “They are changing words or definitions that parents find damaging or toxic to something else so as to confuse and mislead,” she explained.
These tactics are not new and parents should beware of school districts caught red-handed deceiving them about objectionable curricula and in-class activism. Denial is likely to follow, along with attempts to turn the tables on parents and other concerned citizens by claiming victimhood and calling for efforts to clear up “misinformation.” Meetings and conferences will be scheduled where school districts or teachers unions will bring in “facilitators,” also known as “change agents,” to execute a preset agenda. Their real purpose is not to address parental concerns by identifying and discarding offensive curricula, but to isolate and neutralize the parents who oppose them.
Parents groups should familiarize themselves with these types of subversive tactics. (See for example “Using the Delphi Technique to Achieve Consensus,” Education Reporter, November 1993, page 3.) If parents and parents groups do their research, they will not easily be manipulated, and are more likely to be successful in their fight against the harmful propaganda currently entrenched in the schools.
Legislating Against CRT in Idaho
As parents become more upset about the stealthy ways CRT is being taught and the damage it is doing to their children and education in general, they are increasing their demands on state legislators to do something about it.
A number of states have either passed laws prohibiting CRT in schools or are considering such bills. In late April, AmericanAnnouncement.com reported that Idaho Governor Brad Little signed House Bill 377into law, effectively preventing the state board of education, public K-12 schools or universities, educators, administrators, and staff from forcing students to “affirm, adopt, or adhere” to any tenets that suggest inferiority or discrimination on the basis of “sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin.”
Additionally, the new law prohibits the use of public funds by schools and universities to promote such discrimination. Idaho Republican Sen. Carl Crabtree, the bill’s sponsor, said its intent is “not to prohibit discussion in an open and free way. It is a preventive measure. It does not indicate that we have a rampant problem in Idaho. But we don’t want to get one.”
“The law is a good step in the right direction to fight against CRT,” Idaho Representative Tammy
Nichols (R-District 11) told Education Reporter. “Besides the denial of public funds to promote CRT, it upholds the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by protecting students’ freedom of conscience, particularly with regard to spiritual belief and freedom of speech, such that the state can neither compel nor restrict speech.”
But Nichols and others have concerns that the law does not go far enough. The Idaho Freedom Foundation states on its website that “faculty members, teachers and professors could still be forced to undergo anti-racism or culturally responsive training if they wish to serve on search committees or even obtain or keep a job.”
Nichols says many in the Idaho legislature as well as the governor, “are still trying to understand that CRT is even occurring in our schools.” She says many don’t have a clue that it is happening or do not believe it, and that the law does not ban CRT “in its essence.”
Nichols adds: “This bill also does not provide consequences for public universities and schools that violate section 33-138 of the law by compelling students to affirm Critical Race Theory. Faculty members, teachers, professors or guest lecturers at public schools and universities can also still give credence to divisive ideas or present them as truth.”
Nichols says that while the bill passed both the Idaho House and Senate, it was “half-heartedly signed by the governor.” She notes that the lieutenant governor “has set up a task force to continue looking into CRT in our state. Again, this is a good first step, but more will be needed.”
Education News Briefs
First graders in Bellingham, WA were subjected to a story about transgenderism read to them in class by their teacher. The book, titled I am Jazz, is about a biologically male two-year-old who is transitioning to female with the support of his parents. As reported by The Gateway Pundit, when a concerned parent emailed the teacher asking about the offensive book, “the teacher sent back a bunch of woke nonsense about inclusion.” Upon receiving an anonymous tip, the Young America’s Foundation (YAF) obtained a copy of the email and conducted an investigation. The investigation showed that after parents confirmed the reading of the book, they reached out to the school board in protest. The board “refused to take any action.” YAF’s investigation further revealed that Bellingham School Board President, Jennifer Mason, “owns and operates a self-described ‘all ages’ sex toy shop,” at which she admits she sells to 16-year-olds. When approached by parents who were outraged at transgenderism being pushed on their first-grade children, she refused to respond to their concerns. Bellingham Public Schools Superintendent, Greg Baker, similarly refused to engage with a concerned parent, and declined to have a phone call “once the parent asked if he could record the call.” YAF urges parents to question Mason’s qualifications given that she “promotes sex toys to children,” and to make their voices heard against far-left gender identity politics in the classroom. YAF 5-6-21; The Gateway Pundit, 5-6-21
The U.S. Census Bureau says homeschooling doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Harvard researchers are skeptical. In March, the bureau issued a report showing that the number of homeschooling households jumped from 5.4 percent to 11.1 percent. Respondents were questioned about homeschooling “as a choice separate from remote learning.” The report also showed that homeschooling increased among minority households, from 3.3 percent to 16.1 percent. Education Week noted that the state of Nebraska experienced such a significant increase in homeschooling that it contributed to the state’s first decline in public school enrollment in 15 years. But a Harvard panel questioned the Census Bureau’s data, citing survey methodology and the approaches that produce mathematically reliable results. While data and methodology are important, the Home School Legal Defense Association agrees, “the Census Bureau’s data since April 2020 should be taken seriously. They collect data over and over again, and when patterns appear over time, it makes the outcomes very believable.” Brian Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute said: “Parents are finding out we do not need a government teaching license to be effective teachers. We do not need $12,000 of our neighbor’s tax money for our children to learn.” The Hill.com-More Parents Pick Homeschooling After Pandemic-5-17-21; Harvard Panel Debates Homeschooling Growth 5-19-2021
Dr. Everett Piper’s new book builds on Not a Day Care, the sobering exposé he penned in early 2017 about life on college campuses following the election of Donald Trump. Grow Up! takes readers beyond the post-2016 hysterics and near total rejection of biblical moral values to demonstrate how, in 2021, students are subjected to speech codes that include abandoning the use of gender-specific pronouns in favor of “the tortured grammatical nonsense of ze, zer, zim, and zis.”
Perhaps as a result of such educational waste are the shocking statistics the book cites: 35 percent of all eighteen- to thirty-four-year-old Americans are living with their parents; 30 percent of millennial men are jobless, with only eight percent of that number actually unemployed. The remainder are not engaged in the workforce at all. This age group is also marrying less and at a later age than any other generation in history.
“The snowflake rebellion and the need for endless coddling are now playing out in every corner of American life,” Piper writes. “They advocate for an overbearing government with policies that bring more dependency, less personal responsibility…” He acknowledges that millennials and Gen Zers aren’t totally at fault; that “blame also lies with their parents.”
While lamenting this discouraging data, as well as the fact that “we find ourselves in a country that has lost its way, a country in which an infantilized culture of tweets and tantrums dominates the public sphere,” Piper’s new book is actually “about personal responsibility, not personal grievance,” about “virtue, not victims.” It’s also a book of ideas that endure, ideas that the author notes “have been proven by the test of time to work, ideas that help make us a mature nation of self-giving adults rather than a fragmented culture of self-centered children.”
Piper believes one of the greatest problems facing Americans today is our willingness to compromise, whether it be on our religious beliefs, our ideals and principles, or our politics. He emphasizes throughout that: “If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything. You will flip and flop your way from job to job, church to church, team to team and marriage to marriage…. When difficulty comes or pleasure beckons, you will compromise.”
Grow Up! is sprinkled with sage advice, which comes not only from the author’s wisdom and experience, but also from Sacred Scripture, particularly the prophets of the Old Testament and the writings of the Apostle Paul. He is also inspired by the works of G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis, quoting them strategically throughout the pages. An example is this gem from Chesterton: “Impartiality is a pompous name for indifference, which is an elegant name for ignorance.”
Piper writes that leadership is a vital quality our kids need to see, and that it’s required of all responsible adults. He urges readers to make a commitment to at least one thing on which they will never compromise and then remain steadfast, even in the face of adversity. “Our culture and the world are begging for it,” he contends. “Give people the confidence that you will never turn back, and you will be amazed how many will gladly follow.”
Piper’s book is interspersed with interesting stories and personal anecdotes that are the result of a life well-lived. His strong Christian faith is proudly on display. One particularly interesting example is his hypothetical first-person response to former mayor of South Bend, Indiana and 2020 presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg, on behalf of Vice President Mike Pence. Buttigieg attacked Pence on the national stage for his Christian beliefs, particularly those concerning Christian marriage.
Piper defended Pence as follows:
“Mr. Buttigieg, has it ever occurred to you that the ‘Mike Pences of the world’ don’t have a problem with ‘who you are,’ but disagree with what you do? …The thing about obedient and faithful Christians is this: we consider someone else’s private life to be just that—private…If you want us to stay out of your bedroom, please shut the door. Stop opening it up and forcing us to applaud and celebrate.”
He goes on to ask the mayor: “What gives you the right to redefine a sacrament of the church?” After noting the clarity of Scripture on that topic, he states: “You don’t get to make up your own Christianity.” His point is that Christian truth is immutable and that “Christian beliefs and practices aren’t spread out before us as one grand buffet for our picking and choosing.”
The above passage appears in what most authors would call “Chapter 10,” but which Piper calls “Lesson 10.” Each “lesson” has a clever title that dovetails with the lesson’s topic.
In the final lesson, Piper discusses how young people can change their lives by aspiring to be leaders rather than followers. “American education seems intent on producing propaganda rather than sound pedagogy,” he writes. “Leadership is out. Falling in line is in.” He then provides nine lessons in leadership that can make it an effective and even life-changing pursuit. “Leading is about conviction,” he says. “Leading is about commitment. Leading is about courage and character. It’s about acting like an adult rather than a child.”
Let’s hope enough people of all ages read and heed his advice before it’s too late.