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Controversial ‘inclusive’ curriculum now required for WA school districts

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(The Center Square) – Public schools in Washington must now teach students about the contributions of the LGBTQ+ community and their perspectives.

SB-5462 states it is intended to promote inclusive learning standards and instructional materials in public schools.

Sen. Marko Liias, D-Everett, sponsored the bill and urged fellow lawmakers to support the measure during a January hearing of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee.

“It’s important to reflect the diversities and differences that our students hold. We know that when students hear their stories that are being taught in our curriculum in public schools, it leads to better attendance, to better student achievement and to better mental health and success for our students.”

Justin Raines, a social studies teacher at Montesano High School, voiced his support, telling lawmakers in his high school and college experience, he learned nothing about the LGBTQ community.

“We’ve made a lot of progress about equal rights since then, but our curriculum needs to catch up,” said Raines. “This curriculum will benefit all students because hearing about experiences other than your own, helps increase compassion and empathy.”

But several people spoke against the measure.

Jennifer Heine-Withee is a project consultant for the Family Policy Institute, and testified against the bill.

“When comprehensive sexual education curriculum was passed in Washington parents were assured that it wasn’t the intent of the law to integrate subjects such as gender identity and sexual orientation into other subject areas, and that parents could opt their children out,” said Heine-Withee, “but it’s pretty obvious that if this bill passes, it will no longer be an option.”

Woodland School Board member Trish Huddleston also testified against the bill.

“I am opposed because I believe each district should exercise local control and be trusted to use their broad discretionary powers to use curriculum that best fits their unique community,” she said. “We don’t want any more required mandates from the state, especially progressive ones that take away our broad discretionary powers.”

As passed, the legislation gives OSPI and the school directors association final say on standards districts are now required to adopt.

Per the bill text: The office of the superintendent of public instruction shall, as soon as is practicable, compile information received (under) this act and, based on the received materials, prepare best practices and other informative materials to support school districts, charter schools, and state-tribal education compact schools in meeting the requirements.

Washington Policy Center Education Center Director Liv Finne tells The Center Square, “The public schools have been captured by a radical ideology that hates people of faith, ironically using the guise of inclusion and tolerance to take over school curriculum. This is illegal and unconstitutional.”

Finne says she believes radical mandates like this have contributed to 46,000 families withdrawing their children from WA public schools in the last few years.

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