Beginning in fall of 2017, all Washington state public schools will begin teaching kindergartners that gender is a “social construct” and there are “many ways to express gender” as part of its newly-approved “self-identity” curriculum.
One of the “core” areas in Washington state’s new health education learning standards is sexual health, components of which will be introduced to children starting in kindergarten, including the idea of gender “self-identity” and the difference between “safe” and “unwanted touch.”
The new standards require that kindergartners be taught to understand that “there are many ways to express gender.” Gender, as The Daily Caller’s Peter Hasson notes, is defined by the state’s health education glossary as “a social construct based on emotional, behavioral, and cultural characteristics attached to a person’s assigned biological sex.” Gender expression is defined by the state as “the way someone outwardly expresses their gender.”
In its “safe” versus “unwanted touch” lessons, the state will teach kindgartners to “[r]ecognize people have the right to refuse giving or receiving unwanted touch.” When TheDC asked Nathan Olson, a communications manager for the state’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), if that meant they were teaching kindergartners about the idea of consent, they got no response.
In third grade, children will learn that they should respect others’ self-determined “gender identity,” an idea that will be elaborated on in fourth grade, when they will be taught to identify “how friends and family can influence ideas regarding gender roles, identity, and expression,” along with lessons on HIV prevention. In fifth grade, children will be taught about the ways “media, society, and culture” influence the “social construct” of gender and how to “identify trusted adults to ask questions about gender identity and sexual orientation.” In seventh grade, students will be asked to distinguish “between biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.”
Despite the massive controversy over ideas surrounding “gender identity” versus biological sex, OSPI insisted that through its standards it was not attempting to “impose belief systems” on children.
“Standards help students become familiar with concepts that education experts feel are essential for all students to know,” Olson told TheDC. “Standards are not used to impose belief systems.”
Asked about what a school would do if a student failed an assignment due to opposing the premises of the material, Olson said “we don’t exactly know” and that it’s up to the school.
Below are screenshots of the “self-identity” and “healthy relationships” sections of Washington’s sexual health standards for K-5: