In Nebraska, school kids may soon be in for a few extra lessons.
As reported by Omaha’s KETV, the state’s Department of Education released the first draft of its Health Education Standards on March 10th.
Per Chief Academic Officer Dr. Cory Epler, the guidelines address the question of, “How do we help students make choices and have the knowledge skills to have a healthy life?”
That skillset comes courtesy of a group of educators, health professionals, and — as put by ABC7, “subject matter experts.”
The standards demand third graders be able to “demonstrate ways to promote dignity and respect for people of all genders, gender expressions, and gender identities, including other students, their family members and members of the school community.”
By fourth grade, kids should distinguish between gender identity and sexual orientation. Furthermore, they should know the difference between — in the words of the standards — “sex assigned at birth and gender identity and explain how they may or may not differ.”
According to Dr. Cory, it’s all part of the mission to be “inclusive.”
It’s also a punch or three in the fight against marginalization:
“We recognize that many of our students fit into categories that are historically marginalized and we want to make sure to elevate those voices.”
An emphasis of the standards, as stated by KETV: “mental and social health in schools.”
And as a result of the health upgrades, five-year-olds will surely be more advanced than you were at their age.
As stated by the standards:
[Kindergarteners] will learn characteristics relating to identity, sexuality and healthy relationships. … Discuss different kinds of family structures. (e.g. single parent, blended, intergenerational, cohabitating, adoptive, foster, same-gender, interracial).
As for the older folks, fifth graders will be able to “Explain that gender expression and gender identity exist along a spectrum.”
And sixth graders will progress to defining “sexual identity and explain a range of identities related to sexual orientation (e.g. heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian, gay, queer, two- spirit, asexual, pansexual).”
For those of you who aren’t smarter than a sixth grader, Cosmopolitan offers the 411:
Two-spirit is an umbrella term that encompasses all gender and sexual diversities outside the classic binary genders. The most appropriate gender identity to compare it to would be queer (which is also a generic umbrella term).
But because of the number two in “two-spirit,” the term is now often used (outside of the Indigenous community) interchangeably with demigender, bigender, and gender-fluid — aka how people identify when they experience themselves across multiple spectrums of gender.
So there ya go.
The board will be discussing the standards — and feedback from the public — at its April meeting.
Residents are asked to submit their thoughts via an online survey.
Dr. Cory’s psyched:
“There are strands and pieces that I think people will have strong feelings about, but we hope that folks take a look at it as the whole and say that it’s a really positive step for ensuring Nebraska students are healthy, safe and have the knowledge and skills to be successful.”
Beginning in kindergarten, kids will also be taught the importance of wearing masks.
Critics of public education claim standards have been lowered…but it appears they’re more sophisticated than ever.
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