Superior Schools Decide To Continue 5th Grade Gender Identity Curriculum
The decision has been made. When 5th Grade students return to their desks in Superiors elementary schools, the unit on gender identity will remain a part of their curriculum. Following a series of complaints from parents, an initial decision, an appeal, and two open-community meeting discussion sessions, the Superior School Board voted to continue with the subject matter at a special meeting held on August 25.
The vote to present the curriculum material in 5th Grade goes against State of Wisconsin standards, which "require gender identity to be introduced by 8th Grade".
The gender identity subject had been included as part of the Human Growth and Development curriculum most-recently.
For many, the decision came down to whether or not the Superior School District truly stood behind their declared mission statement of "all means all":
"In the School District of Superior we know that all means all; every student, every day. Our Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Department provides for all students in the following ways:
- We apply research-based, reflective, and responsive practices to make informed decisions that positively impact student learning.
- We provide differentiated professional learning opportunities for all staff.
- We utilize continuous improvement processes to constantly ensure that all students can learn and achieve at their highest levels possible."
During the two special meeting discussion sessions, parents, students, and community members from both sides of the issue spoke passionately about their feelings and opinions.
That decision to go against Wisconsin State standards was a dissention point for many; some of those individuals agreed that the subject matter should be presented, but preferred that it was at the middle school level and not in elementary school.
Others took issue with the way that the Superior School District dealt with the gender identity curriculum - citing transparency issues. Those parents questioned why the District According to an article in the Superior Telegram [paywall]:
"At its root...was about what parents believed was a lack of transparency about the new gender identity unit. "To many families, this lack of transparency felt like an intentional way to hide curriculum that the district knew would be concerning for many families, especially when in the years prior all Human Growth material is provided to families up front"."
The vote to continue teaching gender identity as part of the 5th Grade lesson plans by the School Board passed after a split vote by members. There is an opt-out for parents that don't want their children taught the lesson.