This critique is for the Planned Parenthood Get Real Curriculum only. Current (as of 4.11.18) proposed Spokane Schools curriculum includes only selected chapters of Get Real material along with HealthSmart, Flash and District 81 developed curricula. Get Real curricula comprises currently only 15% of the District's proposed curricula.
What Planned Parenthood’s Get Real Sex-Ed Curriculum Teaches:
- It teaches students a completely relativistic sexual morality, claiming that cleaning your room is the moral equivalent of choosing to have sex.
- The only sexual activity consistently discouraged for grades 6-9 is non-consensual and “unprotected sex.”
- It consistently and repeatedly encourages condom use at every grade level as THE primary and “best” means of avoiding pregnancies and STIs.
- It requires students to learn and practice together the 15 steps of correct condom use on a “demonstration tool.”
- Teaches students to practice the 15 steps blindfolded to simulate difficulty of use when intoxicated.
- It constantly cites “perfect condom use” effectiveness rates (“98%) while ignoring “actual condom use” failure rates for both pregnancy and STIs (1 in 5 for pregnancies; from 15%-100% failure rates for STIs depending on the type of STI).
- It requires students to brainstorm positive outcomes of becoming sexually active when “the time is right.”
- It requires students to create contraceptive and health clinic marketing materials.
- It minimizes the difficult realities and negative consequences of
- Fails to teach about the STI epidemic among teens and young adults today (10 million new cases a year between the ages of 15-24).
- Teaches that all STIs are preventable by “using protection, getting tested” [for STIs] and “practicing sequential/monogamous sex.”
- It downplays the risks associated with teen sexual activity:
- Treats anal, oral and vaginal sex as “normal and safe” sexual behaviors for teens.
- Teaches that “protected sex” has little or no negative consequences for teens.
- Ignores the negative psychological and emotional impact of sexual activity on many teens. (Depression rates triple for both sexes and suicide attempts increase 3 to 8 times for girls and boys respectively.)
- Considers “mutual masturbation, being naked together and oral sex with a dental dam or condom” “low risk” sexual activities.
- Consistently pushes students to Planned Parenthood Health Clinics by…
- resource lists that refer students to and place Planned Parenthood first while ignoring other health and pregnancy clinic options.
- requiring on-line and phone research which directs students to Planned Parenthood Clinics.
- Failing to tell students that Planned Parenthood makes the majority of its earned income from abortions, contraceptive sales and STI testing.
- Makes unproven claims about gender fluidity and homosexuality.
- Fails to present the sometimes serious legal consequences of teen sexual activity.
- Fails to discuss any harmful effects of pornography on both men and women while teaching that “the idea of ‘too much’ masturbation is a myth.”
- It is extremely weak on promoting abstinence, encouraging students to “define abstinence for oneself” and that abstinence may include mutual masturbation and oral sex.
It is unclear what, if any, accommodation the district will make for teachers required to teach this material who’s moral or religious convictions may be violated by its content.
Extended Summary of Planned Parenthood Curriculum Get Real Proposed to Spokane Public Schools in 2017
What Planned Parenthood Get Real curriculum WILL and WILL NOT teach:
NOTE: The following points are excerpted directly from the 989 pages of Get Real curriculum that was voted forward by the Human Growth & Development Citizens Advisory Committee (HGD CAC) for School Board approval in May and September 2017 and subsequently referred back to District Curriculum developers for partial inclusion in the now-proposed curriculum (4.11.2018). The following points note what the FULL Planned Parenthood material expressly teaches by grade and, where appropriate, important related information that is left out of this curriculum. This is a condensed, not exhaustive, list of issues in this material. Specific chapters of Get Real may or may not appear in the newly proposed District curriculum.
All italics besides curriculum name are added for emphasis. Section and page numbers appear with their grade level first followed by either a dash (-) and the page number (for example 6-33 is 6th Grade, page 33) or a dot and the numbered activity/section (such as 6.8-3 indicating 6th Grade, lesson 8, section 3).
- Students will be taught that “protected sex” has little or no negative consequences for 6th graders (p. 6-33).
- That “postponement and condom use are healthy behaviors for 6th graders” (a “Lesson Goal” for Grade 6, Lesson 8 on Abstinence).
- That family values and morality related to sexual activity are relativistic, merely “personal values,” morally equivalent to deciding how often to clean your room (p. 87; Activity 6.8-3). Other “personal values” listed are “It’s OK for people in high school to have sex.” “Universal values can be defined as those that are important to the majority of humans,” which is merely an ethical system of morality of the majority. An example of a “universal value” consistently given is, “All children have a right to be safe.” Interesting coming from the #1 provider of abortion in America! (See also question 7, p. 6-88.) 6th Grade students are encouraged to develop their own values. “Part of growing up…is getting the opportunity to make your own decisions. Learning how to make decisions can help young people deal with difficult situations and problems and follow through on their personal goals in ways that match their values,” (Activity 6.8-4, p. 92).
- That “knowing yourself—by becoming more self-aware,” is to be one of the foremost considerations when it comes to teens making decisions about sexual behavior (rather than things such as family values, religious convictions, mental health or medical safety considerations), (p. 6-72).
- 6th Grade students are to be tested in groups on their ability to “create a model of the male or female anatomy using art supplies…approximately to scale… and explain the function that each part plays in reproduction” (p. 6-87)
- Though it has been shown that student attitudes are closely related to what they perceive their peers to be doing, 6th grade students will be tested on statistics about high school sexual activity (46%) rather than 6th grader statistics (6-8%), (p. 6-88, question 4).
- While students are encourage to recognize the “potential consequences of sexual activity, including pregnancy, STIs and emotional consequences,” these consequences are never fleshed out in the lessons. (p. 6-88, question 3)
- Lesson 6.6—Masturbation: One of “the most important messages to emphasize” is that “the idea of ‘too much’ masturbation is a myth.” What they WON’T TELL YOU is that there can be various physical and psychological problems associated with excessive masturbation.
- There is a TOTAL LACK of any discussion about pornography and the possible harms of pornography in this material, an issue that is overwhelmingly documented in available literature.
- Students will be taught that “Scientists have found that homosexuality is as much a part of nature as heterosexuality,” (7.3-4)
- Students are constantly told in this material “that when condoms are used correctly every single time, they greatly reduce the risk of pregnancy and STIs.” They are told condoms “are 98% effective at protecting against unplanned pregnancy, and are extremely effective at protecting against STIs,” (p. 7-77). What they WON’T BE TOLD is that the actual pregnancy rates (from the CDC) for teens using condoms is 18%. Neither will they be told that what the CDC says about condom use and STDs:
“Condoms can be expected to provide different levels of protection for various STDs, depending on differences in how the diseases or infections are transmitted. Male condoms may not cover all infected areas or areas that could become infected. Thus, they are likely to provide greater protection against STDs that are transmitted only by genital fluids (STDs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, and HIV infection) than against infections that are transmitted primarily by skin-to-skin contact, which may or may not infect areas covered by a condom (STDs such as genital herpes, human papillomavirus [HPV] infection, syphilis, and chancroid). (https://www.cdc.gov/condomeffectiveness/brief.html) (7.5-3; 7-42; Handout 7.7-3)
- Students will be introduced to anal, oral and vaginal sex as “normal and safe” as long as condoms or dental dams are used, (7.5-3). They WILL NOT TELL STUDENTS any of the dangers associated with both anal and oral sex.
- Students will be taught “that in order to make decisions about sexual behaviors, it’s important to understand why people have sex” (7.5-2). However no similar discussion is assigned for why people do not have sex.
- Students will be encouraged to “reflect silently on the pros and cons of what they have learned from their parents….” (7-41)
- Students will be taught that “…there are many positive things about engaging in sexual behaviors when a person is mature and ready….” (7.5-3) Students will NOT BE TAUGHT what “mature and ready” should actually mean as that phrase will never be explored or defined though it is used repeatedly in the material.
- While students are told that “STIs are infections spread through sexual contact that can have serious health effects,” (7-42) these physical and psychological health effects are never taught, illustrated or discussed in other than simple chart form, (Student workbook, 7-31,32.)
- Students will be taught that the use of condoms and dental dams in oral, anal or vaginal sex move those sexual activities from “high risk” to “lower-risk”, (7-42).
- Students are told that “most seventh graders do not have any form of sexual intercourse,” when the actual numbers are over 85% of 7th graders who don’t (7.5-4).
- Students will be taught that, “People are born as male, female or intersex.” What THEY WON’T BE TAUGHT is that 1 in 1,500-2,000 births (or 2 people in a school of 4,000 students) are “intersex” and the vast majority of them will be completely happy with their assigned sex for the rest of their lives.
- Students will be taught that “Sexuality changes and grows throughout a person’s life….” “[Sexuality] also includes: Sexual orientation (heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual),” (7-47).
- Planned Parenthood will be the first and primary “resource” both students and parents are referred to for resources and counsel in virtually every resource list, (p. 7-36, 48) NO pro-abstinence/Sexual Risk Avoidance or pro-life resources are ever referenced.
- Students will be taught that “Dating behaviors” may include “touching a partner under clothes,” “going to an unsupervised party,” and “having sex,” (p. 7-49).
- Students will be told that “abstinence is a healthy choice for teens,” not THE healthiest choice, (7.6).
- This curriculum adopts the definition of abstinence from the Sexuality Information & Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). Abstinence is defined as “voluntarily choosing not to engage in certain sexual behaviors, including any sexual behaviors that can result in pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.” (Stated in multiple places throughout the curriculum; see p. iii of Middle School Teacher Guide for its first occurrence). BUT that message will be contradicted when the students are taught that “it is important to define abstinence for oneself…” and may include “Touch[ing] someone else’s sexual body parts with clothes on…touch[ing] someone else’s sexual body parts with clothes off…giv[ing] or receiv[ing] oral sex… hav[ing] vaginal sexual intercourse…hav[ing] sexual intercourse if they use a condom” (7-53 & 54; see also p. 7-62). NOTE: SIECUS was founded by a former Planned Parenthood medical director, Mary Calderone.
- In Chapter 7, “Introduction to Sexually Transmitted Infections”, students will be taught the “best ways to prevent STI transmission,” is through condom use. But they will not be taught about any of the life-changing and threatening effects and consequences of acquiring various STIs when condoms fail (18% pregnancy rate among teens to say nothing of STI failure rates).
- Students will be taught that “while STIs are common, they are also easily preventable,” (p. 7-62). They will NOT BE TOLD that 10 million 15-24 year olds acquire an STI every year in the U.S. or that over 110 million Americans have an STI (one of our worst present health epidemics in America) or that it costs our country $16 billion a year in medical costs. They will NOT BE TOLD that three common STDs (gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis) are on the verge of becoming untreatable, according to NBC.com.
- Students will be told that “the only way to know for sure whether a sexually active person has an STI, including HIV, is for that person to be tested,” (p. 7-63). While they will be taught that you shouldn’t always “trust partners who claim they don’t have any STI”, what they WON’T BE TOLD is that sexual partners will not be given the test results by any health professional and that they will be at the mercy of the integrity/transparency or lack of integrity/transparency of their partners.
- Students will be taught that, “If there is a chance a person has been exposed to an STI, it’s important to see a doctor or go to a health clinic to get tested.” What they WON’T BE TOLD is that anyone who is or has been sexually active with anyone not a virgin has the potential of being exposed to an STI, (Handout 7.7-3, STI Quiz). In fact, the term “virgin” is expressly never used in this material.
- Students will be taught that, “If used properly and consistently, latex and polyurethane condoms are 98% effective at protecting against unplanned pregnancy, and are extremely effective at protecting against STIs” What THEY WILL NOT BE TAUGHT is that the CDC material on “Effectiveness of Family Planning Methods” (found at https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/contraception/unintendedpregnancy/pdf/Contraceptive_methods_508.pdf ) lists the practical failure rate of condoms at 18%, in other words that 18 of every 100 pregnancies a year come from couples using a male condoms. No accurate failure rates are available regarding STIs as they vary between types of STIs.
- While students will be taught that “abstinence is the healthiest choice for middle school students,” the only two reasons consistently given for that will be to “decrease risks of unplanned pregnancy [and] STI transmission,” (7-74) THEY WILL NOT BE TAUGHT that premarital sex is one of the leading causes of depression among teens or that sexually active girls are 4 times more likely to struggle with depression (25.3% vs. 7.7%) while sexually active boys are 3 times more likely to struggle with depression (8.3% vs. 3.4%). Nor will they be told that sexually active girls will attempt suicide at 3 times the rate of sexually inactive girls (14.3% vs. 5.1%) or that sexually active boys are 8-times more likely to attempt suicide than boys who are not sexually active (0.7% vs. 6.0%). [See heritage.org/research/reports/2003/06/sexually-active-teenagers-are-more-likely-to-be-depressed.]
- Students will brainstorm in groups and share with the class what are “some positive outcomes of becoming sexually active when the time is right,” (p. 7-75, Activity 7.8-2) Again, they will not define what criteria should determine “when the time is right.”
- Students will be taught to ask the following question of themselves before becoming sexually active: “Do I feel ready? Can I talk to my partner about having sex? Am I comfortable seeing my partner without clothes on? Do I have information about and access to methods that can protect me from getting pregnant or getting someone else pregnant?” (p. 7-75) What THEY WILL NOT BE TAUGHT is questions like, “Am I ready to live with an STI? How might this change my life? How might this change my relationship with my partner? With my parents? Friends? Future spouse? Am I prepared for the potential emotional and mental health risks associated with teen sex? What will I do if this results in a pregnancy? What may be my legal responsibilities with a pregnancy or under-age sex?”
- 7th Grade students will see their teacher “demonstrate steps with an actual condom and ask students to explain the importance of each step.” Teachers will “pass around condoms for students to see and handle.” (P. 7-77)
- All role play scenario activities designed to teach children refusal and negotiation skills will involve situations where teens are having sexual intercourse, (Scenarios 7.9-4—In Activity Kit—Role Play—p. 7-93). None of them involve abstinence scenarios or skills needed by the majority of youth who are choosing abstinence.
- As a final project, students will be asked to “create a 30-second public service announcement for the radio that tells adolescents how to access sexual health services. Before creating this ad, groups must first research different medical and sexual health services available in their area, finding out location, cost and how to schedule an appointment,” (Grade 7 Assessment—Suggested Final Projects, p. 7-97). What they WON’T BE TOLD is that a Google search of “sexual health services/clinics” will always and sometimes exclusively bring up Planned Parenthood clinics, not pro-life pregnancy clinics. For half the students involved, this will require them to advocate for a clinic and services they oppose, i.e. abortion. (See both 2013-2014 CNN and Gallup polls on Americans’ opposition to abortion, 57/58% saying it should be legal under “few” or “no” circumstances.)
- In the entire chapter on contraceptive methods, NO information will be given regarding the contraception methods that are or may be abortive in nature nor that Planned Parenthood makes from 30-40% of its earned income from abortions (54% of which are done on women who were using contraceptives (usually condom or pill) during the month they became pregnant,” (Guttmacher report; see lifenews.com/2011/01/11/report-shows-contraception-failure-54-used-before-abortion/ )
- Being sexually active using condoms is presented as “healthy” teen behavior (p. 8-16, Scenarios 8.2-3).
- In the chapter on abstinence (8.3), personal definitions of abstinence are encouraged (p. 8-23) that may include “many activities outside of sexual intercourse” and “what feels comfortable sexually (p. 8-26). In “Process Questions” (#3) in the abstinence chapter students are asked, “If people practice abstinence only sometimes, what else can they do to keep themselves safe…?” They won’t be told that “If you practice abstinence only sometimes” that it isn’t abstinence; it’s called being “sexually active.”
- Questions students should ask themselves before they decide to have vaginal, anal or oral sexual intercourse relate to information about access to birth control and STI protection as well as “Am I emotionally ready to have sex?” (Activity 8.4-2, p. 8-32). But no information is given or discussed about “emotional readiness” or effects of sexual activity of teens on their depression and suicide rates. Neither will any rates of STI transmission using condoms be given.
- There is no information or discussion whatsoever about contraceptives that may or may not be abortive in nature (i.e., “emergency contraception,” E.C.). Rather, teachers will be told that scenarios in the section on “Good Decision Making” (Lesson 8-8, p. 8-75) “are ideal for discussing emergency contraception.” Students are told EC is “available if you forget to use protection or use it incorrectly” as well as how and where they can obtain EC (8.8-3).
- When it comes to STIs, neither current infection rates nor increased dangers to women are required to be taught to the students (and only one “Teacher Note” gives teachers the fact that “37.7% of sexually active teenage girls have at least one STI” (p. 8-48).)
- Students will “discuss places where teens can obtain protection methods for free or little cost” and teachers are told to “explain that these services are confidential and do not require parental permission” (p. 8-35). But parents will be told that “they are THE most important influence in a child’s decision making and values about sex” (p. 8-63, Family Letter 8.6).
- In “Refusal, Negotiation and Communication Skills” Scenarios (8.7-3), of the 5 scenarios, two (40%) feature homosexual relationships between 8th graders that involve “kissing and touching,” one talks about vaginal intercourse, one involves oral sex and a dental dam, another (under “Refusal Skills Around Abstinence”) deals with two teens who “enjoy the sexual part of their relationship, which up to now has been kissing and touching each other.”
- Students will be asked to come up with “positive outcomes” from condom use as well as options “available if you forget to use protection or use it incorrectly.” (Activity 8.8-3)
- Of the 6 “real-life situations and unplanned outcomes” in section 8.8-3, all six expressly or likely involve couples having some form of sex. If nearly three-quarter of 8th graders are not having sex, should at least a majority of the “real life situations” involve abstinence situations?
- Students will be asked to create a brochure for any of the 15 different birth control methods in the “Protective Methods Chart” (8.4-6).
- Students will create a media piece, directed at their peers, that communicates the Get Real curriculum they have been learning over the past 3 years, (Handout 8.9-3).
- Some of the “Test Bank Questions”: #3. “If a person uses abstinence inconsistently, it is a good idea to…” [Maybe not call it ‘abstinence’!?]. #11. “Which of the following raises the risk of STI infection? Assertive communication, B. Using a dental dam, C. Having only one partner at a time, D. having multiple partners.” While the material says “D.” is the correct answer, the scientific fact is that B, C & D all raise the risk of STI infection compared to abstinence. #12. Which of the following behaviors is least likely to transmit HIV? a. Unprotected oral sex b. Unprotected vaginal sex c. Unprotected anal sex d. Sharing needles” Fact: all these behaviors expose students unnecessarily to increased risks of HIV. #18. While students are told that “sending naked pictures of people under age 18” can “get someone in legal trouble,” this is the extent of possible legal ramifications discussed for sex between other teens or children. “Consent” and “using a condom” are the only two consistent requirements given for safe sex…and students will be told that “consent can be sexy and caring” (8.2-3).
- Students will be taught “there is no ‘right’ age to have sex” but they will also not be taught there is any “wrong age.” (p. 8-109)
- Every students will be required to demonstrate in pairs the 17 steps to proper use of a condom using a “demonstration tool” (Activity 8.4-5)
- At no point in this grade level curriculum are students encouraged to report sexual assaults or any non-consensual or coercive sex.
- Birth sex and gender will be separated with statements like this under “Differentiate between biological sex and gender”—“Many people don’t match any of the stereotypical characteristics the class brainstormed,” (9.3-2).
- Students will “discuss fluidity of orientation, gender identity and expression, explaining that these aspects of a person’s identity can change over the course of a lifetime.” (9.4-3ff)
- Teachers will “remind students that many teens choose not to have sex,” (9.5-3). What they WILL NOT TELL THEM is that only 1/3rd of their high school peers are sexually active in any 6-month period and 59% nationally will never have had sex by the time they graduate (2016 CDC survey).
- Students will be required to “locate three sexual health care facilities and contact one of these to gain more information,” such as address, how to get there, hours, protection methods available, cost of STI testing and “student rate available.” (9.5-3; Homework 9.5).
- Students will be required to demonstrate the 17 steps given for using a condom and “demonstration tool,” (9.5-4 and 9.5-4 Handout). “Using the steps on the handout,” students will “pair up and take turns putting a condom on a demonstration tool. After a correct demonstration,” teachers will “have students switch so everyone has a chance to practice these skills,” (Activity 9.6-4).
- Students will be asked to “practice putting on a condom blindfolded” to simulate the difficulty of doing so when drunk (Activity 9.6-5).
- Students will be taught “that using a lubricant can increase pleasure as well as efficacy of condoms,” (9.5-4).
- Teachers will be instructed to “be sure to include the really important message that all STIs are preventable,” (Activity 9.6-2). What they WON’T BE TOLD are the failure rates of contraceptives for STIs exceed those of pregnancy failure rates.
- Students will be taught that “all STIs” are preventable by a variety of means such as “getting tested, using protection, healthy relationships, communication, sequential/monogamous partners, abstinence, etc.” (9.6-2). What won’t be reinforced is that only abstinence is 100% effective at preventing all STIs. Nor will they hear that 10 million of their peers will get an STI this year.
- Students will be taught that the following activities have “Low to No Risk”: “touching over clothing, touching under clothing, mutual masturbation, masturbation, oral sex with a dental dam or condom....” They will be taught that activities that have “Some Risk” are “Oral sex on a penis without a condom, Oral sex on a vulva without a dental dam, vaginal sex with a condom, and anal sex with a condom.” The only activities listed as “High Risk” are anal sex without a condom, vaginal sex without a condom, and sharing needles. (9.7-2, p. 69)
- Students will be asked, “What are some pleasurable, low-risk activities that two people in a relationship could do if they weren’t ready to engage in sexual intercourse?” (Introspective Journaling, question #2 in section 9.7-6)
- Students will be taught that they can lower their personal risk by engaging in a dozen competencies, among them the following:
- Talking with friends about what protected sex is.
- Finding where the condoms are at the drugstore.
- Finding where to get free condoms in my community.
- Finding where to access confidential sexual health care in my community.
- Waiting “to get involved sexually with someone until I know my partner well enough to be able to talk about it first.”
- Learning about the different methods of protection.
- Understanding the difference between the protection the pill and other hormonal methods provide and the protection condoms provide.
- Waiting “to start a relationship with someone until I feel ready.”
- Having “thought a lot about making up my own mind about sex and protection.”
- Having “thought a lot about and worked on knowing my rights when it comes to my body.”
Other things this Planned Parenthood curriculum will not tell you:
- According to a recent poll by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, nearly two-thirds of students who had engaged in sexual intercourse wished they had waited longer before becoming sexually active.
- 54% of Planned Parenthood’s abortions are performed on women who were practicing birth control at the time they got pregnant?
- The majority of Planned Parenthood’s earned income comes from STD testing, contraceptive services and abortion—items only needed when condoms fail.
- At the bottom of every right-hand printed page in the Student Workbooks is the statement “Get Real: Comprehensive Sex Education That Works”. The only possible supporting data for this claim comes from one study, done by Wellesley Centers for Women in cooperation with Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. That study claimed a 15 and 16 percent drop for girls and boys respectively in “adjusted” rates of sexual debut for 8th grade students in the Boston area schools that used Get Real. However, nationwide, 18 percent of adolescents report having had sex by the eighth grade while those rates in these Boston schools were over 37 percent for girls and 49 percent for boys. This study supplies no information whatsoever about the sex education provided to the control group of 8th grade students. Planned Parenthood’s study admits that extensive missing data poses a “critical threat” to its impact evaluation and that “working with a relatively low number [of schools]” is problematic. Efforts to follow the students was largely unsuccessful because of student transience, resulting in large gaps in the data. Interestingly, the schools studied had over 50% African-American populations. At the same time, among black students nationwide, the proportion who reported they were sexually active has decreased from 59 percent in 1991 to 33 percent in 2015, bringing Boston’s students simply within the same range of national averages.
POSSIBLE ACTION POINTS:
- Write an email to all members of the Spokane Public Schools Board of Directors and School Superintendent THANKING THEM for considering other curricula (in addition to still-planned inclusion of some Get Real chapters) in the newly proposed set of curricula (4.11.2018). You may email the entire Board and School Superintendent at
Be courteous, respectful and grateful.
- Attend a School Board meeting (2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month, 7:00 p.m. at 200 N. Bernard) and give your opinion about the current proposed curriculum and process.
- Stay engaged with the ongoing development of curriculum by talking with your children’s teachers and visiting the District headquarters to review personally the newly proposed curriculum. You may also check on updates by going to the Facebook page "Spokane School's Sex Ed".