The story of SB 673: How this mom is making a difference

As a mom of three, with a Master’s Degree in Psychology, I am extremely concerned about California's expanded sex education curriculum to include gender identity, sexual orientation and an unhealthy focus on sex pleasure. Sex education today is no longer only about puberty and reproduction, or pregnancy prevention. 

In the fall of 2017, I discovered that my school district changed elementary sex education curriculum providers (without board/parent input, oversight or review), and rolled out the curriculum in violation of California's Education Codes. Though school districts are allowed "choice" for elementary age students, my district (MDUSD) chose to teach eleven lessons, considered "comprehensive" under the law to 10 and 11 year old children. The new curriculum for fifth grade contained eleven one-hour lessons to replace the former curriculum which consisted of two lessons, puberty and reproduction. The new lessons were taught in a co-ed classroom, while the former (puberty and reproduction) lessons were presented to separate groups of boys and girls. Alarmed by these significant changes, I attempted to contact the school district curriculum specialist to find out how I could review the materials. After a round of emails, I realized I was getting the run-around. The district staffer attempted to placate my requests, first with a short one paragraph summary, and later a short summary for each of the eleven lessons. Finally she stopped returning my emails. 

As any responsible parent would do, I took matters into my own hands. I scoured the internet in search of the new curriculum called Rights, Respect & Responsibility, by Advocates for Youth. Disturbed by the content I was seeing, I sent links to the district staffer in an email asking for confirmation that this was the curriculum that would be presented to my children. While the staffer never returned my email, shortly after I received a form letter addressed to all parents announcing a parent meeting to discuss the curriculum changes. After attending the meeting, it became clear that the district’s motive was to placate and patronize parents while promoting the new curriculum. Not a single page of the instruction was presented to the parents in this meeting. 

Over the next several months, I began investigating the curriculum, the law and education codes. I also attended many board meetings and made public comments. I reached out to several legislators to express my utter dismay that this irresponsible and unhealthy curriculum could be presented to ten and eleven-year old children. I offered several solutions to my board, which were mostly rejected.

In fall of 2018, after my school board voted to adopt the curriculum with negligible changes, a legislative staffer suggested that I write a proposal. I crafted the legislative plan and submitted it to legislators, and also circulated it among concerned groups. Next, I walked the Capitol in Sacramento in search of a legislative author. Though my own Senator and Assembly Member refused to carry the proposal, Senator Mike Morrell volunteered. The status of SB 673 is to be heard by the upcoming Senate Education Committee on January 15, 2020. The five democrat senators of the 7-member education committee, do not seem interested in bringing this bill to the senate floor. And, not only that, but my very own representative, Senator Steven Glazer, sits as a member of this committee. So far, my representative has not made a commitment to support the bill. His very own constituent wrote the legislative proposal. One would think he would agree to represent me, but so far there is no indication that he will. These members of this committee have the power to kill the bill in January. This is why it is so important that EVERY parent, grandparent and concerned citizen WRITE, CALL, OR VISIT these senators to express their support of SB 673. 

I invite you to join me in this fight to protect our kids!

Denise Pursche, 

Bachelor of Science, (Arizona State University)

M.A., (San Jose State) 

Denise Pursche Makes Comments at School Board Meeting

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