Orcutt Academy High School News and Event

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We Need Better Sex Education

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NOTE- This article is about board adoption, not about our teachers. Teachers teach the curriculum approved.

 

Last night, the school board approved a new sex education curriculum to be used in the junior highs and high school.

On January 1, 2016, California put into effect new sexual education standards. The curriculum is now required to include, “discussions of sexual orientation, gender identity and sex trafficking, as well as information about contraception and HIV treatment.” Currently, the sex education program at Orcutt Academy does not address any of these topics. While California is making excellent strides with this bill, Orcutt Academy is falling behind. We need to upgrade our sexual education programs at Orcutt Academy. For this to happen, the Orcutt Union School District would need to decide to make it a factor in their charter review.

While it is expected that schools may take some time to completely catch up with these new requirements, Orcutt Academy has taken more time than others. Orcutt Academy’s Sexuality and Gender Acceptance Club members were upset by the news that our school is delaying the initiation of conversations of sexual orientation and gender identity. President Kelsey Namba and Vice President Derek Sportsman expressed their concerns to the board. Due to their efforts, Queer Education was on the school board’s agenda for the meeting on Wednesday, February 15th and the board has now voted to approve new curriculum. This is a positive step towards implementing these new topics.

Every charter school has to write their charter, which contain what their goals and assessments will be. Similar to public schools, charter schools do have to participate in state testing and stay in alignment with Common Core State Standards. However, if charter schools fail to meet their goals, there is less of a chance that they will lose their funds, or be taken over, due to the fact that there is less federal accountability. According to The Annenberg Institute for School Reform, “rapid expansion of the charter sector has left authorizers in many states woefully understaffed and unable to appropriately monitor the schools they have chartered.” While the design of a charter is meant to help foster a specific learning environment, it means that they can bypass, delay, or ignore some state standards, such as the ones outlined in the new sexual education bill.

Learning about contraception, HIV treatment, sex trafficking, and LGBTQ+ should be a requirement for every student. As Staci Tilley, Treasurer of the Sexuality and Gender Acceptance Club says, “Queer education offers insight to all students who are questioning their own sexuality and gender expressions. Being queer should no longer be such a taboo in society and including queer education into our health curriculum will solve this.”

Equally important to this is learning how to protect against sexually transmitted diseases, and not just by practicing abstinence. If the Orcutt Union School District progresses with implementing these discussions, they will be creating a more well rounded and better prepared student. Everyone at Orcutt Academy should put pressure on the District to make sure they follow through with the new sexual education.   

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2 Responses to “We Need Better Sex Education”

  1. Josh Bennett on March 9th, 2017 10:27 AM

    Before writing an article based on what you believe and put it out as fact, you might want to check with the teachers who actually teach the subject. Per your 2nd paragraph,

    “On January 1, 2016, California put into effect new sexual education standards. The curriculum is now required to include, “discussions of sexual orientation, gender identity and sex trafficking, as well as information about contraception and HIV treatment.” Currently, the sex education program at Orcutt Academy does not address any of these topics.”

    Your statement that OA does not address any of these topics is blatantly false. The faculty and staff at OA and the district who are involved in curriculum review the topics on a regular basis. After the new standards were announced, a meeting was held to review our current coverage and the impact of the new regulations. The only topic that we did not cover at the time was human/sex trafficking. That particular item was noted and will be integrated into all future classes – including the current semester.

    Per your 3rd paragraph,

    “While it is expected that schools may take some time to completely catch up with these new requirements, Orcutt Academy has taken more time than others. Orcutt Academy’s Sexuality and Gender Acceptance Club members were upset by the news that our school is delaying the initiation of conversations of sexual orientation and gender identity. ”

    OA has not taken more time. In fact, we are professionals who take our jobs seriously and try to stay abreast of all current educational trends and changes. We don’t need to catch up, because we are already including these topics. The OA SAGA Club has a right to be upset, but it shouldn’t be because our school is delaying the initiation of sexual orientation and gender identity – it should be because someone fed them false information.

    Per your last paragraph,

    “Equally important to this is learning how to protect against sexually transmitted diseases, and not just by practicing abstinence. If the Orcutt Union School District progresses with implementing these discussions, they will be creating a more well rounded and better prepared student. Everyone at Orcutt Academy should put pressure on the District to make sure they follow through with the new sexual education.”

    Sorry, but there’s no reason to “put pressure on the District”. I’ve taught these concepts for all of the six semesters that I have worked at OAHS, and my guess would be that the previous teachers also taught these concepts – and since they are still on campus, maybe you should’ve asked them (or me) before writing the article. Human sexuality and the potential effects are an important topic for our students and there’s no way we skip over it. We want our students to have the best information possible so they can make informed decisions.

    I commend you on a very well written article, but it seems that maybe you have engaged in some of the prevalent dialogue of our time by creating alternative facts. If anyone has concerns regarding these Health topics, I would invite them to speak with one of the teachers who are responsible for the subject matter.

    Respectfully,

    Josh Bennett
    Orcutt Academy High School

    [Reply]

  2. Gelotti on March 17th, 2017 1:30 PM

    While some teachers may be confused about the health curriculum at OA, it’s good to know that we have hard-working journalists to set the record straight. Mr. Bennett asks this writer to “check with the teachers who actually teach the subject,” but that would be impossible because no one teaches it. To be clear, there are zero teachers who teach this curriculum because it was just adopted by the school district. Some teachers may choose to touch on these topics by choice, but that is quite different than a required curriculum that gives a directive on how these topics are covered and what information is provided to students.
    Anika is also correct in reporting that our district dragged its feet for a year before incorporating the new health curriculum which the state of California adopted for the 2016/17 school year. That is, after all, what this article is about– the adoption of a health curriculum by our school district, not the current state of health classes at OA.
    I want to echo Mr. Bennett in commending Anika for a well written and accurate article. Good Work!
    Mr. Gelotti

    [Reply]

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We Need Better Sex Education