Bait & Switch

HiDoEThe grand deception that the Board of Education (BoE) became part of during their Tuesday general meeting can be considered ‘deplorable’ at best.  Their actions demonstrate a lack of interest in building any sort of trust with the faith-based community.  What is increasingly clear is that local media outlets (like Honolulu Civil Beat, “HCB”) were part of this grand ruse in their failure to accurately report the agenda for the Tuesday meeting.

The consideration of sex education by the BoE caught critics of Pono Choices off-guard when both local media outlets and the Board itself failed to properly disclose that the “opt-out” policy was once again being considered.  The inaccuracies began when HCB reported:

The Department of Education (DoE) is now recommending a few modifications to the policy that may placate parental concerns, including changing the grades in which sex education is to be offered to grades 7 through 12, and requiring that parents have to sign their children up for the course.

Had HCB done their due diligence and actually looked at the documents they linked in their article, they would have noticed the glaring discrepancy in proposals put forth by the Board.  To date, HCB’s Jessica Terrell ( has offered no apology, retraction or correction for the glaring inaccuracies in her earlier reporting.

The discrepancy (reported in a previous post) was between a memo provided to Board chair Don Horner and exhibits provided by the Board.  While the memo addressed formalizing a policy of “opt-in”:

“A student shall be provided with sexual health instruction only if the student’s parent or legal guardian provides prior consent.  A student’s parent or legal guardian may consent to sexual health instruction at any time. …”

Exhibit A, outlining the proposed changes to the Department of Education’s sex education policy, presented to supplement the meeting agenda provided a contradictory message:

“A student shall be excused from sexual health instruction only upon the prior written request of the student’s parent or legal guardian.  A student may not be subject to disciplinary action, academic penalty or other sanction if the student’s parent or legal guardian makes such written request.”

Board members in a 5-1 vote [1], failed to address the fundamental question that is at the core of the entire debate around sex education – trust.  Parents do not trust the Department of Education or the Board of Education to vet and select a medically-accurate sexual health curriculum.  These very same entities were asleep at the wheel when they allowed Pono Choices to be taught in the schools.  Confoundingly, their solution to the sexual education curriculum is once again “trust us”.  Parents who were betrayed by Pono Choices must once again trust a Board of Education and Department of Education that got themselves into this mess to begin with.  They won’t.

Interestingly, Exhibit A was stripped almost verbatim from a proposal that the Legislature previously considered [2].  In a rare moment of wisdom, the Legislature tabled HB459 in favor of a wait-and-see approach to the “opt-in” policy announced just months prior by the Board of Education.  Perhaps the Legislature knew something the Board didn’t after holding four different hearings on the matter.  Or perhaps social engineering advocates sought to get from the Board of Education what they could not get from the Legislature.

Until the Board of Education recognizes this fundamental issue, they will only perpetuate the very problem that they are trying to look past – angry parents who do not TRUST the BoE/DoE.  On Tuesday, they doubled-down on deceit and provided yet another reason for these parents not to trust educational experts.

The victory that the BoE needed on Tuesday was for these parents to “opt-in” to any sex education program, but the deceit and duplicity that the Board demonstrated ensures that more than ever these parents will “opt-out”.

Blogger’s Note: In no way should this post be interpreted as criticism of sex education in public schools, but is only a critique of the ignorance demonstrated by the Board of Education.  It is this blog’s position that an age-appropriate, medically-accurate, abstinence-based sexual education curriculum must be offered to any child that does not already receive age-appropriate, medically-accurate, abstinence-based sexual education superior education from another source (parent, guardian, etc.).

[1] Board chairman Don Horner was the lone ‘no’ vote.

[2] HB459 HD2