Home > Uncategorized > Update on the GOP Platform III: The Bible, Sex, and the Constitution

Update on the GOP Platform III: The Bible, Sex, and the Constitution

This is the third of three posts providing an update on the implementation of the GOP’s education platform using Politico’s synopsis of the elements of the 2016 Republican Platform that pertain to education with my assessment of progress made in bold red italics:

— On the Bible and abstinence: “A good understanding of the Bible being indispensable for the development of an educated citizenry, we encourage state legislatures to offer the Bible in a literature curriculum as an elective in America’s high schools,” the platform says. Republicans say that “family planning” programs for teens should be replaced with abstinence education. And they oppose “school-based clinics that provide referral or counseling for abortion and contraception.” As noted in some blog posts, several states and school boards are encouraging direct instruction on the Bible and several states have introduced ESAs that can be used for sectarian schools. Abstinence is also back on the front burner, with Betsy DeVos’ supporting “Just Say No To Sex” programs and the GOP’s efforts to pass legislation that makes it impossible for schools to offer counseling or Planned Parenthood to survive. We ARE witnessing the elimination of separation of church and state, sex education, and Planned Parenthood leaflets in the school nurses office.

— On White House directive on transgender students’ rights: The platform says the guidance, which requires schools to allow transgender students to use the restroom or locker room that matches their gender identity, is “at once illegal, dangerous, and ignores privacy issues.” Republicans said they “salute the several states which have filed suit against it.” Advances in transgender rights supported by the US government are under fire across all agencies, including the armed forces where an executive order attempted to ban them from serving. Fortunately the tide has turned on this issue in most parts of the country, including in the boardrooms of corporations. It will be interesting to see if this plank of the platform is emphasized as much in 2020.

— On changing the U.S. constitution: The platform calls for a constitutional amendment protecting the right of parents to direct their children’s education, care and upbringing “from interference by states, the federal government, or international bodies such as the United Nations.” As noted in previous posts, this shift is underway in several states where ESA legislation is in place or being passed providing a means for tax dollars to be used to fund sectarian schools. In the meantime, USDOE is staying on the sidelines in suits brought against states who are enacting these bills. As I cynically noted in my earlier post assessing where the USDOE was headed: hello Christian madrases, good bye to “government schools”

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