Texas Freedom Network President Backs Education Commissioner’s Call For Teaching State Health Standards
Commissioner calls on schools to “teach the state curriculum,” but new textbooks currently do not include mandated information on sex and health
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2004
AUSTIN The president of the Texas Freedom Network today backed Texas Education Commissioner Shirley Neeley’s call for schools to teach to the state’s curriculum standards.
“Ms. Neeley is right on target in calling for schools to teach to the state’s curriculum standards,” said Samantha Smoot of the Texas Freedom Network.
“Now she needs to fulfill her responsibility as education commissioner by calling on the State Board of Education to insist that proposed new high school health textbooks conform to the health curriculum standards. Publishers must add mandated information about family planning and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases like HIV to those textbooks.”
The new health textbooks currently include no information about contraception and STD prevention except through abstinence. Yet the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) curriculum standards require that students be able to “analyze the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of barrier protection and other contraceptive methods” as well as abstinence.
East Texas television station KLTV reported Monday that Commissioner Shirley Neeley called for schools to teach to the health standards.
“I say we teach the state curriculum,” Commissioner Neeley reportedly said. “A lot of this too is up to the local community. The good thing in Texas is we have a curriculum, but that doesn’t stop the school district from teaching more.”
Smoot said that the state’s curriculum standards acknowledge the importance of giving teens medically accurate information about family planning and disease prevention.
“Making sure that our kids have the most accurate and reliable information is the best protection we have for raising safe, health, responsible adults,” Smoot said.
The Texas Freedom Network and more than 60 other organizations are part of the Protect Our Kids campaign (www.ProtectOurKids.com) for responsible health textbooks.
The campaign has called on the State Board to require that the textbooks conform to curriculum standards on sex education. The State Board will vote to adopt or reject the proposed textbooks on November 5.