The USBE Commits Educational Malpractice on Gender Issues

In September 2021, the Utah State Board of Education staff drafted a document entitled Understanding Gender Identity to Better Support Students, with some lofty goals of offering educators and administrators  a “best practices guidance” on how to create an “environment of dignity and respect for all.”

It didn’t. In fact, it faced intense criticism from the public for ignoring parental rights, elevating identity perception over biological reality, and unconstitutionally compelling speech through pronoun usage even before it came in front of the board’s Standards and Assessment committee.

If you were to describe this guidance document in a picture, it would look something like this:

It would also look something like this detailed and exhaustive infographic, created by an observer, which gives you an accurate idea of how the USBE’s gender guidance document took on cryptid proportions over the past 6 months:

Gender Policy Infographic

Meeting after meeting after meeting after meeting after meeting after meeting of the Standards & Assessment committee resulted in the bulk (if not the entirety) of the time being seemingly dedicated to the proposition that All Gender Identities, No Matter How Expressed or Removed from Reality, Are Created Equal.  

The meetings got longer, producing a lot of heat but not much light.  Unfortunately, the length of the 4 hour-plus meetings was inversely proportional to the committee’s ability to produce clear and coherent guidance. Chair Scott Hansen frequently obstructed Member Jennie Earl’s efforts to bring logical and legal consistency to the draft.  

The committee also repeatedly rejected discussion of gender dysphoria and rapid onset gender dysphoria, and transgenderism as a social contagion, despite the efforts of Member Earl to make the dialogue more inclusive of the broader gender landscape debate. 

Even more troubling was the committee’s dependence on extreme interpretations of unsettled law and a handful of experimental state practices to guide its draft language, as supplied by USBE staff members attorney Bryan Quesenberry and Holly Bell.  Even Title IX, which only protects against discrimination on the basis of “sex,” was treated by the committee with the same overly broad interpretation given by the Biden administration to include “sexual orientation and gender identity.” 

The Standards and Assessment committee’s performance, from start to finish, can be boiled down to members Scott Hansen, Laura Belnap, Janet Cannon, and Brent Strate accepting as gospel the sectarian dogma of the LGBTQ community in willful ignorance of any other viewpoint to the contrary provided by Member Earl. All at the expense of our children’s need for the stability and protection that only truth can secure.

Our children will be the losers for this surrender to politicized special interests.  They now face learning environments in which they’ll learn that girls are not allowed bodily privacy from males identifying as females in spaces like bathrooms and locker rooms. They’ll learn from school faculty that parents who don’t affirm a child’s “sincerely held” gender beliefs can be treated as threats to their own children. They’ll learn to conform to another child’s fluid self-conception, or risk being scorned as “transphobic” by their peers.

Bad policy means our children will bear the brunt of codified confusion, of ignorant indulgence in the name of inclusivity, and of school environments that create sexualized social hierarchies, in which some children’s rights are “more equal than others.” 

The psychological and social fallout from such fragmentation of objective reality is going to get real, really fast, should the elected members of the Utah State Board of Education pass this Grendel of guidance documents. God help us. 

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.