State Sen. Sylvia Allen wants to change the way sexual education is taught in public schools.
Specifically, she wants to prohibit sex ed from being taught in any grade lower than seventh grade, and she wants remove any reference to homosexuality in the curriculum.
That’s not all — there’s also a changing in the way students are taught about sexually transmitted diseases and she wants abstinence to be the “primary” method of birth control taught — but those are the two big talking points, at least among those opposed to Allen’s bill.
A bill, we should mention, that will get at least a committee vote, since Allen chairs the Senate Education Committee. Whether it makes it to the floor of the Senate, to the House or to Gov Ducey’s desk for approval or veto remains to be seen.
We’re not the biggest fans of Allen’s policy making. She once sought to dismember the open meeting law, something no journalist — or the public — can ever support.
We’re also not fans of this bill either, because it appears to be driven by religious belief rather than science. And remember, during a speech, Allen once said she believes the Earth is 6,000 years old, a particularly religious viewpoint.
We don’t believe religion belongs in public schools and the reason we don’t is because it’s virtually impossible for a community decide what religion should form the basis of educational policy. Jews would certainly oppose using Christian dogma in a public school, as would Christians if the decision was to use Islam as the basis for a curriculum.
The reality is, even Christians can’t decide on what constitutes a Christian. Catholics and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints certainly consider themselves Christian; however, born-again Evangelicals view both sects as non-Christian, with the most ardent Evangelicals referring to both faiths as “cults.”
Religious-based education belongs in parochial schools, not public schools.
For the record, we are supportive of parochial schools. Heck, we’re the product of a Lutheran grammar school and a Catholic college — we’d be hypocrites if we said we don’t believe parochial schools provide excellent educations.
If a parochial school wants to use Allen’s bill as a basis for curriculum, we’re fine with that, because parochial school are private. The state should never tell a religion-based educational organization what beliefs should and should not be adopted — as long as that religious school is not receiving tax dollars (don’t get us started on school vouchers — we’re sure that will make another come-back this Legislative session and we’ll rail against vouchers at that time).
Public schools should base the teaching of science on actual science, not on religion. Which means Allen’s bill should be voted down.
One last thing about Allen and education — she is the co-founder of the George Washington Academy charter school in her hometown of Snowflake. She denies ownership; however, she remains listed on the Arizona Corporation Commission website (as of Sunday) as the statutory agent and one of the three principals of ownership of the school.
The charter school received a letter grade of “F” in 2016-17 from the Arizona Department of Education, improving to a “B” in 2017-18.