The Wall Street Journal editorial board recently called out Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee for overstepping his executive authority on climate change. But it turns out he’s not the only one in the Evergreen State guilty of overreach.
Teachers in a dozen elementary schools across Seattle have been testing a new set of books and lessons on gender diversity, expression, and identity — topics many would agree are outrageously inappropriate for the classroom, especially for young children, and ones that parents, not public schools, should be addressing.
Think about it: Teachers in elementary schools across Seattle are exposing students as young as five years old to curricula about gender fluidity. Parents, if you’ve been asleep at the wheel, it is time to wake up.
Kindergartners are being introduced to “Introducing Teddy,” about a teddy bear named Thomas who’d rather be called Tilly, because it feels more like a girl teddy bear than a boy teddy bear.
A book review on Amazon.com reads: “‘Introducing Teddy’ introduces the youngest readers to understanding gender identity and transition in an accessible and heart-warming story about being true to yourself and how to be a good friend.”
But warm and cuddly sentiments could belie efforts to manipulate children with a left-leaning agenda.
Moving on to first grade, students are exposed to “My Princess Boy,” while second-graders read “Jacobs’ New Dress,” through which students explore examples of gender diversity.
Whatever happened to reading, writing, and arithmetic?
The Seattle Public Schools (SPS) website indicates that the new curricula were developed by a district-led task force of community members, parents, and educators in response to the state’s adoption of new health education standards.
“The discussions around gender identity align with the districts commitment to identify safety for all,” say the district’s web pages, titled “LGBTQ Programs, Curriculum, and Support.”
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SPS health manager Lisa Love says the district reached out for task force members via its website. From 42 responders, 22 participants were selected, including teachers across grade levels, parents and guardians, community agencies, and public and mental health professionals, among others.
Curiously, there are no pastors or pediatricians on the task force.
According to Love, some 1,200 Seattle public school students received the gender identity lesson during the rollout, and a handful of families had questions after they were sent an informational notice. Only a couple of parents opted for their children to skip the lesson, she noted.
“There has been little opposition to the new optional supplementary lessons,” said Love.
Still, she has no way of knowing how many parents or guardians actually read the notice, as active parent participation — a signature, that is — was not required of them from the district.
Not everyone, though, is brimming with enthusiasm over the new curricula on gender identity.
“All of these books and lessons are harmful to children because they are based on falsehoods,” said Michelle Cretella, M.D., president of the American College of Pediatricians, a national organization of pediatricians and other health care professionals dedicated to the health and well-being of children.
A pediatrician and mother of four children, Dr. Cretella lays out a cogent defense against gender identity curricula by invoking recognized stages of child development.
“It is common knowledge among genetics experts that complex behaviors, including how we think and feel, are not hardwired before birth,” she told LifeZette. “Transgender beliefs and feelings are no exception. Our cognitive ability to recognize our biological sex develops over time.”
She further notes that by age three, most children can correctly identify what sex they are. By the time they’ve reached five years old, most understand that boys grow into men and girls grow into women. “It is not until the age of seven that most children know that sex cannot change,” she adds.
Maureen Richardson, a former private school and home-school teacher who taught Spanish, French, and grammar to students from first to eighth grades, and the state director for Concerned Women for America (CWA) of Washington, is also troubled by the new gender identity curriculum.
“We should have an opt-in plan, not merely an opt-out. Too many parents are not paying attention.”
“We believe that family is supposed to have the ultimate authority, and parental authority is very important in education,” said Richardson. “We should have an opt-in plan, not merely an opt-out. Too many parents are not paying attention.”
A national women’s organization with an emphasis on Judeo-Christian values and bringing biblical principles into all levels of public policy, CWA is nonpartisan and includes education and defense of family among its seven core values.
“Gender identity curriculum goes totally against our values,” adds Richardson.
Dr. Cretella would tend to concur. “These lessons and picture books lie to children. They essentially teach very young kids that sex can change in accordance with their thoughts, feelings, behavior, and outward appearance. This disruption of normal cognitive and psychosexual development is child abuse.”
Elizabeth M. Economou is a freelance writer based in Seattle, Washington. Follow her on Twitter.