MCPS To Review Health Enhancement Curriculum This Summer [YouTube]
Following the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that effectively legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states, KGVO News reached out to Mark Thane, Superintendent of Missoula School District One, to see how the decision would be reflected in the district's curriculum.
Thane said, coincidentally, the district will be reviewing it's health enhancement curriculum this summer.
"Relationships in marriage and all those types of issues are part of our health enhancement curriculum," Thane said. "According to the cycle that we have submitted to the Office of Public Instruction, health instruction curriculum will begin that review this summer. Right now, we're in the process of committee formation, and as we get to late summer and early fall, we'll be looking at the curriculum in its entirety.I'm certain that this will be an issue that will surface and will be discussed in its entirety."
Thane discusses the makeup of the committee.
"The committee will be put together with MCPS staff, University of Montana representation, and community-at-large representation," he said. "They'll wrestle with all those items in the curriculum and make a determination on what should and should not be included in that point of time. We then anticipate that next spring, the spring of 2016, draft curriculum would be presented to the Board of Trustees for review and recommendations for adoption."
Thane said sensitive issues regarding sexuality will be included in the curriculum, last updated in 2010.
"The committee will have discussions about what grade levels different topics might be addressed and introduced, and, ultimately, whether or not there will be a mechanism for parents or students to opt out of that instruction," Thane said. "What we'll do is look at best practices around the country and do a comprehensive study. We'll look at the recommendations that are included in the standards and benchmarks that the Office of Public Instruction has determined, then seek to develop our local angles of how to address the curriculum."
Thane said when all is said and done, parental involvement in all school issues is of paramount importance.
"That's something we encourage with all curricular areas," he said. "We want to engage the parents in every degree possible. I think they're the first and primary educators in many regards."
The Supreme Court decision set aside the Montana Constitutional amendment declaring that marriage is between one man and one woman.