But chief sponsor Rep. Alice Wolf (at the hearing, and in her letter to other reps) and DOE spokewoman Melanie Winklosky (quoted in the Boston Herald) say this isn't true! Wolf says parents could still opt their children out of sex ed (can students opt out of other required courses?), and Winklosky says individual school systems could do as they please. They are simply not telling the truth. Here's what Bill H1641 actually says:
AN ACT TO PROVIDE HEALTH EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
Section 1D of chapter 69 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2000 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the words “foreign language,” in line 6, the words:— health education, as defined by the Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Education Framework.
And if you turn to Chapter 69: Section 1D, you see this:
Statewide educational goals; academic standards; vocational training; grant program
Section 1D. The board shall establish a set of statewide educational goals for all public elementary and secondary schools in the commonwealth.
The board shall direct the commissioner to institute a process to develop academic standards for the core subjects of mathematics, science and technology, history and social science, English, foreign languages ["health education, as defined by the Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Education Framework" to be inserted here by H1641] and the arts. The standards shall cover grades kindergarten through twelve and shall clearly set forth the skills, competencies and knowledge expected to be possessed by all students at the conclusion of individual grades or clusters of grades.... Satisfaction of the requirements of the competency determination shall be a condition for high school graduation.
(Brian Camenker, director of MassResistance/Article 8 Alliance, sent a letter to the Herald to correct Winklosky's "misinformation", but it has not yet appeared.)
They tried to sneak the bill past us all in their last hearing of the year. But they failed! (Originally, it was scheduled to be heard on the same day as our new parents' rights opt-in bill H1050 in late October ... but mysteriously dropped off the radar screen only to resurface on a day with "miscellaneous" bills when no one was paying attention ... or so they thought.)