Understanding The Sex Education Curriculum in California 

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In recent years, a controversial health education framework has been established by the California State Board of Education that allows educators to deliver a new standard of sex education to students. Considering the divided political stance and confusion on this new standard, it leaves many parents to this day hesitant to incorporate this curriculum into their lives. 

In this article, we will cover the general points and overview of the modern sex education curriculum in California and see how this affects your child’s education. Read more below to understand the evolving standard of education in America.  

The CHYA of 2015 

This new framework is called the California Health Youth Act of 2015, a significant update on the previous health education standards of 2008. The new framework considers the existence of the LGBTQ gender and various sex education-related topics.  

This means that this is not just about understanding how sex works, as educators can teach topics like how long is plan b in your system to lessons about health, sexual identity, and the like. However, according to the framework, the new curriculum covers new standards of nutrition, mental health, and the morals and ethics of prohibited drugs and social consent. 

There’s a lot of backlash received from different religious groups and general opinion on how this framework would affect students even in 2023. Hence, it is essential to understand this new law described by the California State Board of Education. 

The Approval Process 

The said curriculum is a result of a years-long research and process of approval, starting with its submission in 2016. The process was discussed by numerous health experts, professionals, and a dedicated committee, along with a period of public discourse, according to the California Department of Education.  

Is it Mandatory? 

No, while the new curriculum exists within the education system and is highly encouraged by most, schools still create their standard of education and, thus, their sex education curriculum.  

Parents can also opt out of this curriculum for their children. Fortunately, the Department of Education supplies enough information on its FAQ page for general guidance to understand what the framework offers thoroughly. Additionally, it cites statistical data from the CDC stating that students in the LGBTQ community are likely targeted for bullying. 

Should I Opt-out This Education for my Children?  

For parents, it is understandable that topics on sex can be both a taboo and a controversial part of your child’s life. But they may be asking such questions and questioning their identity. That said, what matters the most is how you address it.  

Regardless of your beliefs, the California State Board of Education displays several guidelines to ensure you get the most important parts of the curriculum and lead to a rational decision-making process. 

Be Notified 

Aside from their FAQ page, the California State Board of Education has provided a list of appropriate school districts to consult and send notifications about the general information of their new sex education curriculum.  

If you’re unsure which district to connect with, kindly check with the state’s website to find the nearest one. Just indicate your zip code, and the website will provide the updated list.  

Review The Curriculum And Course Materials 

Parents should be notified of what materials and topics their chosen school district covers. If you don’t have that information, the school requires you to send a complete list of materials and lesson plans should your child enroll in the new curriculum. 

That said, parents should review this properly to determine what kind of lessons are taught and see if they align with their personal or religious beliefs regarding human sexuality. For example, do the materials cover topics about abortion, different contraceptives, and understanding the social perspective of sex and third-gender identities?  

Remember that even though the state has issued different materials to employ and is highly encouraged, school districts are most likely to build their curriculums based on that framework. So you can’t expect that one school harbors the same level of education as the other. 

Exercise Your Right to Opt Out 

Parents have the right to excuse their children from some or the whole part of the new health curriculum as it is within the approved guidelines of the state for both school districts and families to reject it. That said, if you want to opt out just in case, please do so in formal writing to be sent to the chosen school district, and some of them may offer forms that you can download on their respective websites.  

Final Thoughts 

Suffice it to say that education can be controversial when presented to parents with diverse opinions and beliefs about sex. While the purpose of the new framework is to modernize sex education by presenting mature topics, it also allows communities to modify it to cater to their beliefs.  

It is the responsibility of parents to choose what the state teaches to their children. And how parents can address mature concepts and issues to their children, which shapes their future as they expose themselves to the real world. 

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