TOPEKA (AP) – A day after taking steps to revise its science standards, the State Board of Education agreed yesterday to tackle sex education requirements installed by the board’s previous conservative majority.
Board members agreed to put the sex education policy on the February agenda. There was no discussion of the issue, but moderates previously have said they want to reverse a decision the board made last summer when conservatives held a 6-4 majority.
In June, the board approved a policy stating that human sexuality classes should promote abstinence until marriage, while still giving students complete and medically accurate information about birth control and preventing sexually active transmitted diseases. It’s not a mandate, so districts don’t risk losing their accreditation by failing to adopt it.
But the policy does require schools to get written permission from parents for students to participate in sex education courses. In most districts, students previously were automatically enrolled unless their parents objected in writing.
On Tuesday, the board moved quickly to dump its current science standards, which treat evolution as a flawed theory.
The board will vote in February on a rival set of evolution-friendly standards drafted by a committee of educators. The present standards incorporate language favored by backers of intelligent design and were adopted in 2005.