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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

Candidate Tipsword on sex ed: "I have yet to find one person to speak in favor of these standards"

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Dennis Tipsword, Jr. (R), a candidate for the Illinois House of Representatives, District 105, voiced his opposition to Senate Bill 818 (SB 818).

He believes that the bill overrides the will of parents and local school districts.

SB 818 was signed into law on August 20, 2021, by Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D-IL). The bill requires that all sexual education classes in K-12 schools should align their curriculum with the National Sex Education Standards (NSES).

"Modernizing our sex education standards will help keep our children safe and ensure important lessons like consent and internet safety are taught in classrooms," Pritzker said in a press release published on the same day.

"We are not a one-size-fits-all country, state, or for that matter, school district," Tipsword said in an interview with McLean County Times. "This has to be decided at the district level; local control is a must. Unfortunately, our schools are getting away from their primary responsibility – teaching fundamentals to our children. Comparisons show our children continue to fall behind children in other countries. We must get back to math, science, reading, history, civics, etc. As I have traveled around my district, I have yet to find one person to speak in favor of these standards."

The NSES includes teaching children in kindergarten to second grade how to define gender, gender identity, and gender-role stereotypes, as well as the medically accurate terms for body parts, including genitals, according to a Daily Citizen newsletter from Focus on the Family. Children in third to fifth grade will learn about masturbation, hormonal development, hormone blockers, the difference in gender identities, and how gender identities differ from sexual orientation.

Children in sixth to eighth grade will learn how to define oral, anal, and vaginal sex and will be taught how to identify four or more methods of contraception that do not require a prescription, such as condoms and emergency contraception. High school students will learn about so-called reproductive justice and the difference between sex assigned at birth, gender identity, and gender expression.

People opposed to SB 818 believe that providing children with such a detailed sex-ed curriculum imposes on parents' wishes, especially when many Illinois students fail to achieve grades expected by basic educational standards.

Less than 20% of Chicago third-graders can read or perform math at grade-level proficiency, according to test scores from the most recent Illinois Assessment of Readiness, Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Statewide, only 38% of Illinois students can read at grade level, according to Wirepoints.

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