MA Schools Do Not Have to Adopt New Health Framework: Read Our Q&A Document 

Last week, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) voted to adopt the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)’s new Comprehensive Health and Physical Education Framework. We’ve been alerting MA families to the dangers in this Framework since June, and we talked about last week’s vote here

Since the Framework was adopted, one question has risen to top of mind for many concerned MA citizens: Is my school district required to adopt the new Framework? 

We’ve heard from parents, taxpayers, and even school committee members who want to know more about what last week’s vote means for their district. Here are a few of the questions we’ve received: 

“Would someone please point me to the language that indicates that local School Committees do not have to adopt DESE frameworks? We are consistently told that they have to.”  

“Just want to make sure that I am clear on this. Each district has a choice on whether or not to implement (the Framework)?” 

“Are schools allowed to opt out of the framework or adopt what portions they will push thru?” 

MA citizens are confused about what the Framework means for their local district. Are they a mandate? Are they not? We suspect much of the confusion stems from the folks at DESE themselves. 

June 28th DESE press release stated that MA state law “requires all public schools to teach health education and physical education, but school districts have discretion to determine how standards are implemented at the local level, including what curriculum and materials they will use.” This mantra has been repeated by DESE leadership in press releases, to news reporters, and even during the meeting last week. They are careful to never say that districts have discretion whether or not to adopt the Framework. They only say that districts can determine the ‘how’ of implementation. Based on DESE’s statements, a person could reasonably conclude that the new Framework is required, but that schools can pick their own curriculum. 

But the law doesn’t say that, and we want people to know the truth. So we created this new resource: MA Comprehensive Health and Physical Education Framework Q&A pdf. 

This document clearly explains what a curriculum framework is, what your local district is required to do with DESE’s frameworks, and what they are NOT required to do. 

(Spoiler alert: they’re not required to adopt the new Framework.) 

Please share this Q&A document widely. Let’s get the truth out to all MA school districts. According to MA state law, your school is NOT required to implement the age-inappropriate, sexualizing, ideologically-grooming content in the new Framework. 

It is important to understand the new Framework is only optional because HB544/SB268 The Sex Ed Mandate (“The Healthy Youth Act”) is not yet law. If this legislation passes, school districts that choose to teach sex education will lose the right to opt out of this Framework. 

It was just announced this week that the Sex Ed Mandate will have a hearing on October 10th from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Gardner Auditorium at the State House in Boston. We encourage you to sign up to provide testimony in opposition to this bill. Those who plan to testify virtually must sign up by 3:00 p.m., October 9th. Click the button below to register to testify!

Finally, use our Action Center to contact your legislators and ask them to oppose the Sex Ed Mandate!

Pass it on,

Jess Richardson, Communications and Research Assistant

Without your generous support it would not be possible to continue our vital work protecting MA children from sexualization in school. Please donate today!

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