Many states already have laws requiring sex education, and now there are nationwide efforts to require so-called diversity or tolerance lessons, as well. But who ultimately decides what kids learn in the classrooms about sexuality, relationships and marriage?
Whether it's left-leaning unions, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood or a homosexual-advocacy group, there's no shortage of activists attempting to insert their ideas into our nation's classrooms.
It seems like parents are increasingly getting pushed out of the picture.
For instance, the nation's largest teachers' union—the National Education Association (NEA)—voted during its 2013 annual convention to promote "resources in order to help all educators integrate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) history, people and issues into their instruction." The NEA specifically referenced material distributed by one of the nation's largest homosexual-advocacy groups, GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network).
The NEA also featured an article (published online on May 30, 2013) about a Wisconsin school district that turned to homosexual and transgender activist groups for help with training and resources for its elementary and middle schools. "One teacher in the district won and received a grant to buy Rainbow books … for every elementary school library in the district," reported the article. Books like And Tango Makes Three, which uses a story about penguins to promote same-sex relationships to children, and The Daddy Machine, which features lesbian moms, "are now available to better acclimate students to issues of gender identity and sexual orientation," according to the article.
With organizations like the NEA and entire school districts working hand-in-hand with sexual-advocacy groups, it's easy for parents to feel their voices are overshadowed.
But Focus on the Family believes parents should have more say in what happens in their children's classrooms than these outside, special-interest groups or bureaucratic governments. Not only do parents have the most in-depth knowledge of each student's particular needs, but they also have a constitutional right and a God-ordained responsibility to guide their child's education.
Focus is committed to helping parents exercise that right—and that's where our "Make Your Voice Heard" online resource center comes into play.
Featured on Focus' website for parents, TrueTolerance.org, the action center allows parents to send an email directly to their local school officials with links to professionally packaged information, providing a more balanced, fact-based and legally sound perspective when questionable content is presented in the classroom. Parents can choose whether to send their educators examples of concerning classroom materials from some of the nation's largest special-interest groups—or they can use the action center to let their school officials know about positive solutions, such as a model parental rights policy that strengthens parents' ability to safeguard their children's innocence.
When it comes to protecting your family's rights and your children's hearts, it's so important to be proactive. Don't wait for bad situations or age-inappropriate materials to surface in your school. Act now by visiting our Make Your Voice Heard center!
In general, federal courts have recognized the fundamental rights of parents to direct the "upbringing and education of children." But the courts have not been helpful in explaining the specifics of that right, beyond the ability to choose private or home-school education over public education.
So, to help equip parents, we've listed some examples of typical rights parents can expect to be added or reflected in school policies or state education laws. This is a great resource to use as a conversation-starter with school officials or elected representatives about how to strengthen parental rights in your education system.
Read our Parents’ Bill of Rights.
Focus on the Family's website, TrueTolerance.org, equips parents with fact-based and loving ways to respond to controversial topics being promoted in their child's school. This one-stop-shop offers a variety of helpful resources to equip parents as they respectfully, yet firmly, engage with public schools.
This brief, yet helpful video offers easy tips on how to research what is being taught in the school — and how to respond if you find something that concerns you.
The good news is that parents are not alone. Learn more from our Education Analyst, Candi Cushman.