On Monday, June 29th and Tuesday, June 30th, the 15-member Texas State Board of Education heard testimony on and debated the revision of the sex education-related Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards. The meeting was held virtually over Zoom and live-streamed, and is archived for view here.
YAC member Sophie Hedley, one of the final testifiers, giving her testimony at 1:08 am after 15 hours of testimony from Texans across the state.
Advocacy groups around the state mobilized a huge number of testimonies, and an estimated ~73% of testifiers spoke in favor of expanded abstinence-plus education standards to include information on contraception, LGBTQ+ inclusivity, healthy pregnancy, and consent. The event also attracted wide media coverage, both in Texas and nationally
"The revision of Texas’ health education standards affects 5.4 million Texas students, so it’s not surprising that the hearing got national and statewide media attention," said Molly Clayton, Executive Director of the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, which partners with Healthy Futures of Texas and Ntarupt for advocacy efforts.
Check out the coverage here:
The State Board of Education has determined they will convene another Workgroup to revise the proposed TEKS once again in preparation for the September meeting. Workgroups A, B, C, D, and E, composed of people who apply to the Texas Education Agency and approved by TEA staff, have all completed their recommendations.
The new Workgroup F, tentatively to be composed of previous Workgroup members, will take the most recent draft of the TEKS and revise them according to specific recommendations from the Board. Recommendations do not yet include direction to mention LGBTQ+ youth, though adolescent health experts (including the CDC) have demonstrated such standards could be life-saving for LGBTQ+ youth.
Recommendations do include direction to revise language on contraception to include information on all options, as well as to include information on healthy pregnancies and other topics.
What You Can Do!
Interested in making Texas a leader in sex ed? Head to texasisready.org to find out how to get involved. You can email your SBOE rep, share information on your social media, and more!