I've been a Virginia public high school student since 7th grade. Aside from separate sexual education courses, I've never seen content in my classes that is so sexually explicit that it warrants notification to parents or external regulation from the state's Department of Education. Yes, there is content that could be deemed sexual in some of my courses—my AP World History textbook, for instance, contained photographs of the naked body in art from ancient civilizations. We read Romeo and Juliet, which contains descriptions of sexual interactions that would be subject to parental notification. Other literary pieces we read explored gender and imperial dynamics in past centuries with mildly sexual phrases.
There is an intentional vague quality to this bill that concerns me greatly about its possible effects on Virginia's above-average academic performance. "Instructional materials" does not exempt AP classroom materials, which begs me to ask: what is the alternative to an AP history textbook with nude art and sexual descriptions? Where would a school district find high-quality AP history textbooks that don't contain nudity or sexual descriptions?
How do English classrooms discussing literary pieces like Romeo and Juliet plan instruction time when some students aren't reading along and completing the complementary assignments? Teachers aren't paid enough to create alternative assignments for every single literary piece in their curriculum, nor is there any investment in this bill to support teachers who are now forced to simultaneously teach two syllabi at once.
It's a classic logical conundrum conjured by populist politicians, a disturbing number of whom don't even send their children to public schools or attempt to understand how America's education system works: demand unnecessary, unrealistic expectations from state agencies/local governments, with no explicit framework or investments to make them happen. Then, (in this case) when local governments resist the measures or struggle to implement them effectively, ostracize innocent educators, school administrators, and superintendents to build a power base. And, of course, make no efforts to stop power-hungry constituents from harassing and bullying public servants who are just doing their jobs.
Those who support this bill have clearly not thought it effects through, or are so misguided by manipulative political content on biased news networks and social media that they're actively applauding something that would completely wreck Virginia's high-performing schools. Sorry that your religious sect doesn't agree with content that's taught across the developed world. And sorry you've never read from a news source other than Breitbart, FOX News, and whatever appears on your Facebook feed.
Generation Z has been watching this silly political infighting and cannibalism play out across the country, and now it's coming to Virginia. We're slowly reaching the age to vote and are not looking kindly on politicizing schools—we're the ones who actually have to live with the consequences of legislators' reckless behavior.
Count your days in office. They're numbered.