BY JACOB SANCHEZ, FORT WORTH REPORT
Originally appeared in Texas Tribune
The decision to drop the course followed a Jan. 24 school board meeting that saw dozens of residents and parents speak out against the curriculum, which has been in place since 2014.
Fort Worth ISD students will not take sex education this school year after the superintendent told parents she is scrapping plans to adopt a controversial curriculum that the district appears to have purchased last year for nearly $2.6 million.
Superintendent Angélica Ramsey made the announcement at the end of her weekly newsletter sent Jan. 27. She told parents the district is restarting its curriculum adoption process. For nearly a year, administrators planned to re-adopt instructional materials from California-based HealthSmart.
In April, the Fort Worth ISD school board approved a nearly $2.6 million purchase of new digital-only instructional materials from HealthSmart. Trustees did not discuss the purchase. The purchase was part of the consent agenda, a list of items considered routine that can be approved in one motion.
District spokesperson Claudia Garibay did not respond to a dozen questions from the Fort Worth Report by publication time.
“There is not an approved, adopted or recommended Human Sexuality Curriculum for the 2022-23 school year. The delay will suspend the instructional delivery of the sexual education unit for the 2022-23 school year,” Ramsey wrote to parents.
Students whose parents opt them into sex education were expected to take the course later in spring semester, according to the district. Consent forms had a due date of Feb. 28.
The School Health Advisory Council — the school board-appointed, 26-member committee reviewing sex education — is expected to examine different options for Fort Worth ISD’s next curriculum, Ramsey said.
Ramsey’s announcement comes after a Jan. 24 school board meeting that saw dozens of residents and parents speak out against the HealthSmart curriculum, which the district has used since 2014. The Report filed an open records request for the proposed curriculum.
Fort Worth ISD bought HealthSmart’s instructional materials for all grade levels. Sex education is included in lessons for middle school and high school, according to HealthSmart.
State law requires school board members to make decisions on sex education curriculum, the Texas Education Agency told the Report.
‘Superintendent inherited a situation’
State Board of Education member Pat Hardy wants to see Fort Worth ISD succeed. However, as she watched the district attempt to adopt HealthSmart, she did not see administrators being transparent nor working with parents enough to make an informed decision, she told the Report.
Hardy, a Republican who represents west Tarrant County, criticized Fort Worth ISD’s sex education curriculum adoption in a recent opinion article. All Fort Worth ISD needed to do was follow the process outlined in state law, Hardy said.
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Fort Worth ISD drops sex ed despite $2.6 million purchase of materials | The Texas Tribune