Public Comments for: HB789 - Family life education programs; student participation, summaries.
To Whom It May Concern, Thank you for the opportunity to comment on HB 1034. As a public high school school teacher and parent of two young children (ages 5 and 2) in Virginia, I have serious concerns that this bill will wind up doing more harm than good for the children of our state. I have worked in two different public school systems in Virginia over 13 years, and I have seen first hand how beneficial counseling services can be to a wide variety of students. If parents are allowed to prohibit their students from accessing counseling services in the school, these students may be cut off from not only critical mental health support, but but also the academic, career, and community support that school counselors and mental health team members provide. All members of a school mental health team must undergo rigorous education before obtaining their licenses, and as such they should be trusted as the professionals they are to provide only services that they deem necessary for students well-being. I strongly urge you to let the trained mental health professionals do their jobs. Don't make students get tied in the mire of adult squibbles. Thank you, Sara Watkins Mother Teacher Concerned Virginia Citizen
To Whom It May Concern, Thank you for the opportunity to comment on HB HB1032. As a public high school school teacher and parent of two young children (ages 5 and 2) in Virginia, I have serious concerns that this bill will wind up doing more harm than good for the children of our state. As VA Senator Peterson said on January 27 of this year, regarding a similar bill, "I don't think we should be involved in micromanaging school libraries...The problem is that you’re going to sweep up books that you don’t intend to sweep up" (Matthew Barakat, abcnews.go.com). I strongly urge you to leave the books in the libraries for the kids. They deserve to have the opportunity to decide with their own parents and personal support systems what books to read. Thank you, Sara Watkins Mother Teacher Concerned Virginia Citizen
Please pass HB217. Moe can be done to encourage and educate students about opportunities in STEM-C fields and to make sure that educational opportunities in our schools are adequately supporting students pursuing these goals. Identifying the full range of employment opportunities in these areas and the education needed to succeed in them can only be a benefit. Please pass HB221. Please oppose HB344. The establishment of charter schools should remain with local school boards who are accountable to their constituents. Members of the State Board of Education are appointed and consequently are accountable only to those who appointed them. Also, this bill provides that there is no longer the opportunity to revisit the decisions of this State or local boards in granting or continuing such charter. The public should not lose a mechanism of redress already in place. Please oppose HB346. The establishment of charter schools should remain with local school boards who are accountable to their constituents. Extending the establishment of charter and lab schools to private institutions of higher ed and private businesses further removes the oversight of such schools to boards that have no accountability to the public that they serve. Please oppose HB356. The establishment of charter schools should remain with local school boards who are accountable to their constituents. Please oppose HB486. Governor's School admissions should not be constricted by an arbitrary quota of students from one district. Please oppose HB563. While assisting local districts in funding construction where school buildings are in disrepair is a desirable goal, the diversion of funds allocated for instruction should not be institutionalized as a regular mechanism to accomplish this. Please pass HB585. Standardized testing has become the tail that wags the dog in education. Increasing amounts of time are dedicated to teaching towards the test and administering tests to the detriment of education tailored to the needs of students and localities. Reducing such testing the minimum required for federal accountability would free time and resources to more fully meet the needs of students. Please oppose 789. Family life education should remain an opt out program instead of an opt in program. The latter puts an onerous burden on schools for the delivery of this important curriculum. Please oppose HB988. Transgender students deserve equal protection in schools across the Commonwealth. All school districts should maintain certain expectations in this regard. Please pass HB994 Please pass HB1005. This bill stipulates that teachers under continuing contract can resign within the school year but must do so providing 2 weeks of notice. Such a provision provides more time for local school districts to make arrangements for staffing adjustments. Please pass HB1023. Human trafficking is increasingly a problem in the Commonwealth and beyond. Our students should be alert to its threats and educated as to how to protect themselves from it. Please pass HB1026. With technology and the internet playing an increasing role in every aspect of our lives, expanding our understanding of this role and improving education surrounding it can only be a good thing. Please pass HB1299. Our students need as much information as possible about their opportunities after graduating from our public school system.
I am a public school teacher in Fairfax County and I am writing in opposition to HB 789. Parents and guardians already have the right to preview Family Life Education curriculum and materials and have the ability to opt their child out of any and all FLE lessons that they choose. This bill would make it harder for students to access important lessons about their bodies and sexual health. I am also genuinely puzzled by the deletion of the word "guardian". It seems like an unnecessary jab at non-traditional family structures.
Please move to report HB344, HB346, HB356, HB789, HB1188, HB221, HB340, HB1125, HB1215, HB988, HB1023, HB1093. Please gently PBI HB486 so that academic merits ONLY decide who gets in.
I SUPPORT HB 844, 1023, 1026, and 1184. More comprehensive and accurate FLE curriculum is a positive development for the commonwealth. I SUPPORT HB 1184 both as a private citizen and 2nd generation immigrant as well as on behalf of my employer, Edu-Futuro, an organization that empowers immigrant families through education. Many, if not most, of the community Edu-Futuro serves speaks a language other than English, and HB 1184 would dramatically improve educational and career outcomes for the children of these communities. I OPPOSE HB 789 and 988. Transgender individual lives matter and again, FLE curriculum needs to be accurate and inclusive.
Children have a right to an education about all things that will impact their lives, and science-based (and lgbtq inclusive) sex education is vital for all of our young people to help them to grow into respectful people who understand consent, boundaries, safe sex practices, and their own identities. Parents who deny their children this education are infringing on the children's rights to gain the knowledge that they need to make healthy choices about their lives. If parents wanted to opt their kids out of math or history they would be laughed out of the room and yet when it comes to vital information about bodies and lives suddenly everyone cares more about what parents want than what kids need. There is decades of research and data to support the idea that comprehensive sex education is beneficial to students individually and to society as a whole. Evidence-based sexual health education can improve academic success; prevent dating violence, and bullying; help youth develop healthier relationships; delay sexual initiation; reduce unplanned pregnancy, HIV, and other STIs; and reduce sexual health disparities among LGBTQ youth. To the parents who worry about their kids engaging in early sexual activity, the research shows that the better sex education they have the later they will have their first sexual experience. I've attached a scholarly literature review below to support these claims. - Three Decades of Research: The Case for Comprehensive Sex Education (Eva S. Goldfarb, Ph. D, and Lisa D. Lieberman, Ph. D) The Journal of Adolescent Health Published October 12, 2020 Sincerely, Mom of Two
Yes to HB-789. We deserve full, advance transparency pertaining to any materials offered by any (not just public, private, too) schools to our children, especially topics which may be considered sensitive.
YES on HB789 - I've suggested this for years, that Family Life should be Opt-IN, not Opt-OUT, and that all related materials should be transparently available to all parents (without having to take off work and schedule an in-person appointment with a family life 'specialist' to review materials prior to an Opt-IN selection. With technology as it is, and especially with the ease of technology in posting documents and videos these days, with an assigned password, a parent should be able to review all materials online at a time convenient for them well in advance of any Opt-IN deadline. With the smut some are trying to make available to youth in public school libraries, certainly family life subjects must be fully transparent. Thank you for this bill.
HB486 no more quotas. HB789 pro this. HB844, we already have procedures covering this. HB988 we have requirements on this already, so yes. Pro 1023, we need this especially in VB I know its happening so this might help kids to prevent it. Thank you.
Virginia Faith and Freedom Coalition supports this bill.