Arizona Representative Debbie Lesko (R-AZ-08) recently sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona requesting information regarding gender ideology training for schools.
“The Biden Administration will stop at nothing to impose the gender ideology of the radical left in our nation’s schools,” Lesko said in a press statement. “As the founder of the Protect Kids Caucus, I am requesting answers from the Department of Education [DOE] to ensure that schools are not forced to provide this training or promote gender ideology to young students without parental notice and consent.”
In March, the Biden administration announced that the Office of Safe and Supportive Schools would offer new training with experts and school leaders to discuss challenges that transgender and non-binary students face and strategies to support these students. Lesko called this part of a “larger initiative” from the Biden administration to spread gender ideology.
In her letter, Lesko expressed concern that the DOE has not provided any new information on the training program since its announcement and that it will encourage schools to teach gender ideology to young students without their parents’ consent. To better understand the situation, Lesko asked several questions, including whether the training will be mandatory for schools receiving funds from the DOE, what the training materials will include, who will lead the training, whether the training includes telling students to avoid involving parents in a gender transition, and if parents would be notified when the training occurred, among others.
As reported by the Arizona Daily Independent, parents have evidence of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and gender ideology inside Arizona schools despite authoritative figures denying that it happens. For example, a recent Arizona K-12 Center training conference gave teachers materials discussing white privilege, which was defined as “the global system that confers unearned power and privilege” to those who are white over people of color.
Here are a few pages of the Street Data book by Shane Safir that was presented at the recent @azk12 conference. Basically quotes in the book from Ibrahim X. Kendi should give you all the answers to what K-12 Arizona Center is doing. https://t.co/SdiJevu4dE pic.twitter.com/qLhJpUwsgl
— Heather Rooks (@ThePeoriaMom) June 29, 2022
In February, 200 Arizonan teachers signed a pledge to teach children CRT and other social justice-oriented curricula. The Peoria Unified School District also teaches boys about “healthy masculinity” through Bloom365, which includes downplaying an emphasis on strength and supporting gender equality.
Moreover, the Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) released a newsletter promoting a sex education event for 14-year-olds about knowing when they are ready for sex. It emphasized that a parent permission form was not required.
The SUSD also hosted the “Unitown” club, which advertised itself as promoting “leadership, diversity, and understanding” between students through discussion and activities, but ultimately had a focus on gender identity and sexuality.
As reported by The Arizona Sun Times, the club’s worksheet encouraged students to question their heterosexuality. Worksheets asked students if they had not slept with someone of the same sex and if they needed a “good gay/lesbian lover,” or if their heterosexuality was “just a phase” they would move past.
@AZWokeSchools on Twitter shared that a culinary arts teacher at Peoria High insists on being referred to by they/them pronouns. Allegedly, students will “face consequences” for not using the correct pronouns and must share their own pronouns.
Peoria High has a culinary arts teacher that touts an emphasis on SEL. We've been told the teacher insists on being referred to by they/them pronouns or students will face consequences, has a cuss jar, & asks for students to state their pronouns. @PeoriaUnified11, please address. pic.twitter.com/sYTvCDO15A
— @AZWokeSchools (@azwokeschools) August 30, 2022
The Sun Times reported that Arizona officials have previously fought with the Biden administration over gender policies in schools. Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which was updating its Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, a move which could threaten school funding.
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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Debbie Lesko” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Background Photo “Classroom” by Ajenwvv. CC BY-SA 4.0.