California Parents Scuttle Planned Parenthood’s ‘Teen Talk’
As a result of the explicit and controversial sex education framework California forced onto its public schools in April 2019, the liberal school board in the mostly conservative, working-class Los Angeles suburb of Downey overwhelmingly voted to include the Planned Parenthood-backed sex education program, “Teen Talk,” in its middle and high school curricula. While the basis for the new framework was the California Healthy Youth Act of 2015, the Downey School District had failed to adopt any program at all. After the ACLU threatened a lawsuit and the board consulted with state education bureaucrats, they chose the graphic Teen Talk program over the objections of parents who attended the board meeting.
The school board refused to release the full Teen Talk curriculum and provided only a brief, sanitized version of the explicit content to parents, prompting them to contact the pro-family organization, MassResistance, for help.
MassResistance Starts Chapter in Downey
Upon learning of the Downey parents’ predicament, MassResistance California organizer, Arthur Schaper, swung into action. He scheduled a meeting at the Downey School District’s main office, insisting that at least one parent or “member of the public be allowed to view the curriculum and photograph any part of it to show others.” Despite their initial resistance, district officials finally permitted the review.
What Schaper uncovered enraged parents even more. The curriculum included values clarification instruction designed to change students’ moral values and persuade them to accept a radical LGBT worldview. It presented unscientific and unproven revisionist propaganda as fact. It also provided contacts for radical LGBT, birth control, and abortion-providing organizations, and included graphic sexual depictions and discussions. As the objectionable details of the program spread, the newly formed MassResistance Downey chapter grew by leaps and bounds.
Parents Force Withdrawal of ‘Teen Talk’
With assistance from Southern California MassResistance organizers, some of whom had successfully defeated Teen Talk in the Anaheim School District, Downey parents began handing out leaflets, organizing public demonstrations, and enlisting the help of churches and concerned citizens. They began attending school board meetings in increasing numbers to demand that the horrible curriculum be removed from their children’s classrooms. They demonstrated inside and outside the board meeting chambers, and gave passionate testimony against the program.
School board members refused to meet with parents, and the battle went on for months. But the parents did not give in. They provided an alternative to Teen Talk called “The Heart Curriculum,” written by a committee of conservative health professionals in southern California, and led by a pro-family conservative from Orange County. An attorney from the conservative Pacific Justice Legal Group testified before the Downey School Board that The Heart Curriculum was compliant with the 2015 Healthy Youth Act. Although MassResistance parents had some concerns about the Heart Curriculum, the consensus was that it was a huge step in the right direction.
Finally, the Downey School Board had had enough. While MassResistance concedes they don’t know for sure, they believe it was likely the school board decided that “the fight was no longer worth it, even though many of them probably receive political support from Planned Parenthood and other liberal groups.”
The school district administration notified parents in March 2020 that they would not use the “Teen Talk” curriculum. Although the district will not adopt the Heart Curriculum, the committee charged with drafting a replacement curriculum will include the author of the Heart Curriculum as MassResistance requested. One hurdle remains, however, and that is to persuade the school board that parents must be allowed to review any new curriculum.
Importantly, the district superintendent “admitted that the parents’ appearances at the School Board meetings had an impact.” He wrote a letter stating that, “we ultimately are revising the curriculum as a result of your input.”
Through the example and leadership of MassResistance and its state and local chapters, parents across the country are not only waking up to the reality of what is being taught in U.S. public schools, they are winning important victories against the juggernaut of explicit sex education and its LGBT and Planned Parenthood-inspired content. Increasingly, watchful and aware parents are sounding the alarm about these harmful programs, and then organizing to remove them from public schools.
Education News Briefs
The University of California’s Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, along with local businesses and private citizens, has sued the city over what it calls “the severe health hazard” of homeless encampments near the prime real estate “Tenderloin District.”
Rather than seeking monetary damages, the lawsuit demands that the city clean up the area, which is littered with homeless tents that block the doors of businesses and residents. Litigants say the city has essentially “cordoned off” the district, and they charge that the proliferation of dirty needles, human waste and open drug dealing pose a serious threat to health. Now, this situation is adding to the sting of the COVID-19 crisis. Even former Mayor Willie Brown seems to have had enough. He told the San Francisco Chronicle that “the authorities who have locked us in have yet to figure out how to get us out. If they don’t figure it out soon, the public is going to find a way to get out on its own.”
American Thinker, 5-11-20
Parents in Madison, Wisconsin, filed a lawsuit in February against the Madison Metropolitan School District for enabling children to “socially transition” to the opposite sex without their knowledge or consent.The school district issued a booklet in April 2018 titled Guidance & Policies to Support Transgender, Non-binary & Gender Expansive Students. The directive contains a “gender support plan” for students who “come out as transgender, non-binary, genderfluid, etc.” This means that children of any age can “change” their sex at will, and be referred to by opposite-sex names and pronouns in school unbeknownst to parents. District employees are forbidden to notify parents without the child’s consent that he/she has or wants to change gender identity, or that the child may be experiencing gender dysphoria. The lawsuit charges the school district with adopting policies that “circumvent parental involvement in a pivotal decision affecting their children’s health and future.” President and General Counsel of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), said in a statement: “A public-school district should not, and cannot, make decisions reserved for parents.”
The Case Against Socialism
Rand Paul, Broadside Books (An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers), 2019
Rand Paul’s comprehensive and chilling “case” should be required reading on every college campus for professors and students alike. Along with today’s progressive politicians, notably Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, some professors at both the high school and college levels
tout socialism as an ideology whose time has come in America. Senator Paul vividly and sometimes graphically reminds us why this is a terrible idea. He skillfully weaves the story “of an evil well documented yet still somehow enticing…in all its drab and dreary machinelike destruction of individual thought, creativity, and ambition.”
A current case in point is Venezuela. Once one of the richest countries in South America due to its vast oil reserves and a pricing system that helped the country prosper, Venezuela was completely ravaged in less than two decades by government controls, hyperinflation, overspending, and debt. Its socialist leaders, Hugo Chávez followed by Nicolás Maduro, were praised by Hollywood’s Sean Penn and other celebrities, even while their citizens were rummaging in garbage cans and eating their pets. An article in the New York Times described how “gloves and soap” had vanished from some hospitals there, and that life-saving drugs were only available on the black market. In contrast, Paul describes how Chile, after abandoning its “flirtation with socialism back in 1973,” increased its citizens’ incomes “by 228 percent.”
Socialists and their cheerleaders often rail against the rich. Once in power, however, they enrich themselves, their families, and friends. Chávez, for example, diverted billions of dollars in public funds into secret Swiss bank accounts. Fidel Castro “expressed nothing but love and concern for the proletariat while living like a king.” Castro shielded his mansions and private island from oppressed and starving Cuban citizens.
Paul writes that “today’s socialists don’t know what socialism means,” using as his examples the widely disseminated but mistaken assertion that Nazi Germany WAS NOT socialist (it was) and that the Scandinavian countries today ARE socialist (they are not). While Hitler adopted most socialist tenets, the Nordic countries don’t control their means of production nor do they generally have a government-mandated minimum wage. While they are highly taxed welfare states, their citizens enjoy private property rights and prosperity based on capitalism.
Throughout this well-documented work, Paul quotes numerous knowledgeable sources, including editor and author Marian Tupy who stated: “Say what you will about socialism, it always follows a predictable pattern. In an attempt to make something available to everyone, the socialists ensure that it is not available to anyone (except for the politically well-connected.)”
Most sobering are the chapters describing the purges under Josef Stalin, Adolph Hitler, Mao Tse Tung, Pol Pot, and others. These despots often replaced less-than-perfect rulers, promising the “manna of socialism and justice” but ultimately providing even worse authoritarianism and barbarism. Paul points out that “the absence of death camps hardly proves that socialism in any form is benign. The degree of violence necessary depends on the degree of state ownership and control.”
The Case Against Socialism shows the futility of seeking an egalitarian utopia, as socialist regimes throughout history have tried to do with disastrous results. The author notes that today’s socialists long for “positive liberty,” i.e., the “freedom” to acquire something concrete, such as a car, a house, food, health care, etc. But this begs the question: “Can man really discover self-worth in the command economy of Venezuela or the autocracy of Cuba?” The answer is “of course not.” The question then is whether enough Americans remain to put their faith in individual liberty and responsibility, to resist the temptation of the “free stuff” that socialism offers. Time will tell.
MALLARD FILLMORE / by Bruce Tinsley