Strengthen Parents’ Rights to Supervise Children’s Sexual Health Education
This legislative session, Catholics have an opportunity to strengthen the parental rights and engagement of the sexual health education of children.
The Transparency and Accountability of Youth Instructional Materials Act, (Morell – R, Rancho Cucamonga) would enable greater parental rights, responsibilities, and supervision of the sexual health and HIV education in all grades by requiring districts to place such content and material online for easy review.
SB 673 also supports parent engagement by providing them with an active opt-in responsibility for elementary-age children (TK-6th) to participate in sexual health education. Such oversight is important for our youngest, most vulnerable children who require this increased parental “supervision” due to their age and the complexities of the content and materials.
“Currently, parents only have the right to go to district offices and examine all materials,” said California Catholic Conference Executive Director Andrew Rivas. “Making these same materials available online is especially important for busy working families to be able to review curriculum.”
In addition, SB 673 would also increase protections for children in grades TK-6 by closing a “loophole” in the current law, under the California Healthy Youth Act. This would ensure all curriculum is “medically accurate and age-appropriate.”
“As Catholics, we view parents as the first and foremost educators of their children, and
schools – Catholic and non-Catholic – as partners in the educational process. Thus, the
Church counsels us to work with public authorities to ensure and protect parental rights,” said Rivas.
Current California law on sexual health education states that it is the intent of the Legislature to respect the rights of parents and guardians to supervise their children’s education on the subject of human sexuality. The Legislature also recognizes parents and guardians have the ultimate responsibility for imparting values regarding human
sexuality to their children. (Ed. Code §51937).
An Action Alert on SB 673 will be hitting e-mail boxes on Monday for Network members whose State Senator serves on the Senate Education Committee where the bill will be heard on Wednesday. Please use the alert to let your Senator know you support this bill. If your Senator does not serve on the Committee, you can write the Chair of the Senate Education Committee, Senator Connie Leyva, at email@example.com. Feel free to copy and paste the following messages to send to Senator Leyva in support of the bill:
I support SB 673 (Morrell), The Transparency and Accountability of Youth Instructional Materials Act, because it is a simple and straightforward way to strengthen parents’ rights and responsibilities to be actively engaged in the sexual health education of their children.
Supreme Court Case Will Test Funding Restrictions on Religious Schools
On January 22, 2020, one of the most important school choice cases of the past half century will be argued before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue will decide if states may discriminate against religious options in generally available scholarship programs. (You can read more about the case here.) The USCCB signed onto an Amicus brief in the case expressing support Religious Options in School Choice programs. The case has huge implications for parental school choice programs across the country.
While a positive outcome by SCOTUS is unlikely to rule Blaine Amendments unconstitutional nationwide, it could declare that states cannot rely on “Blaines” to deny religious school participation in programs of indirect aide, which is currently the case. Such a ruling on Montana’s case will favorably help in addressing the California law that forces religiously oriented preschools to relinquish their religious identity as a condition of participation in the CSPP that provides benefits to privately operated preschools with secular orientations.
To demonstrate how important this case is to parents and their children nationwide, the Institute for Justice (IJ), which is arguing the case, is creating a 30' photo mosaic banner featuring thousands of the faces of educational choice across the country. To participate, schools, parents or organizations can simply send headshots to the Institute. Photos can be taken with a phone, a yearbook photo, etc. Names will not be listed nor made public.
Photos can be submitted in whatever form is easiest including uploading to IJ's Dropbox: HERE or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Schools should ensure they have the proper consent of participants and their parents.
Join the National Migration Week Celebration
For nearly 50 years, the Catholic Church has celebrated National Migration Week to reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants, including immigrants, refugees, children, and victims and survivors of human trafficking. This year’s celebration, “Promoting a Church and a World for All,” began on January 5 and will continue through January 11.
There are several ways to get involved during National Migration Week, from prayer, posting on social media, writing Letters to the Editor, presenting on Catholic Social Teaching on Migration to church and youth groups, to even becoming a foster parent. Justice for Immigrants has prepared materials to assist us all in encountering migrants as persons instead of a number or unknown entity. Click here for more information.
Important Bills to Follow
- SB 54, the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, (Allen – D, Santa Monica) is a comprehensive plan to “reduce and recycle” 75% of single-use plastics by 2030. The bills also call for manufacturers of single-use plastic packaging or products distributed and sold in California to show a recycling rate of at least 20% by Jan. 1, 2022, and at least 40% by 2026. By 2030, all products would have to be "recyclable or compostable." The California Catholic Conference supports SB 54.
- SB 29 (Durazo, D - Los Angeles) would, subject to an appropriation by the Legislature, and effective July 1, 2020, extend eligibility for full-scope Medi-Cal benefits to individuals who are 65 years of age or older, and who are otherwise eligible for those benefits but for their immigration status. The California Catholic Conference supports SB 29.
Upcoming Census Information
The U.S. Government will soon begin its 2020 Census, a Constitutional requirement, and it’s imperative that ALL are counted, whether you are a citizen or not.
Every 10 years, the results of the Census are used to reapportion the House of Representatives, determining how many Congressional seats each state gets for the next 10 years.
Based on the Census count, CA state officials use the results to redraw voter boundaries for local and state legislative districts. This also determines how $675 billion will be spent supporting state, county and community programs that directly impact our parishioners and their families.
Completing and participating in the Census is a civic duty, but is also enhances the dignity of the individual by making sure they count in this important process. Visit 2020Census.gov for more information.