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Illinois state Rep. Deanne Mazzochi, R-Elmhurst, criticized the passing of Senate Bill 818, which she accused of being motivated by Democratic political activism.
"I voted against it because it targets information I think parents should be controlling when it comes to their schools," Mazzochi said in an interview with the DuPage Policy Journal. "I think after Pritzker lockdowns we have seen there are a high number of kids falling further behind in those courses. If we're going to focus more time and energy on anything it should be in those core subjects."
"It hasn’t been popular in [my] district and several school boards have already indicated a desire to opt-out. I do and I believe in more local control, especially when it comes to sensitive issues," she said.
Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed SB 818 into law on August 20, 2021, requiring all sexual education classes in K-12 schools to align their curriculum with the National Sex Education Standards. "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 an August 2021 press release.
The NSES includes teaching children from grades K-2 how to define gender, gender identity, and gender-role stereotypes, as well as the medically accurate terms for body parts, including genitals, according to Breakthrough Ideas. The same report says that children in grades 3-5 will learn about masturbation, hormonal development, hormone blockers, the differences in gender identities, and how they differ from sexual orientation. Students in grades 6-8 will learn how to define, oral, anal, and vaginal sex, and will be taught how to identify four or more methods of contraception that don't require a prescription, such as condoms and emergency contraception. High school students will learn about "reproductive justice," as well as about the differences between sex assigned at birth, gender identity, and gender expression.
Those opposed to SB 818 feel that giving children such a detailed sex ed curriculum is inappropriate, especially when many Illinois students fail to achieve grades expected by basic educational standards. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that less than 20% of Chicago third-graders can read or do math at grade-level proficiency. Furthermore, Wirepoints reports that only 38% of Illinois students can read at grade level.