To the Editor:
We thank Ms. Casparian and Mr. Oscar (“HiTOPS Curriculum Conforms to New Jersey Department of Education Content Standards”) for replying to the letter from February 27 expressing concern with what HiTOPS teaches. However, they do not address or refute any of the claims we make about HiTOPS’ curriculum. Instead they reassure parents that their teachings have been approved by experts at the state and federal levels.
While parents appreciate expert opinion, it is not enough to override their concerns about what is appropriate for their children and what offends their moral values. It is time to offer an alternative to HiTOPS, not simply the opportunity for parents to opt their children out of HiTOPS/Teen PEP instruction. (The current program offers an “opt out” option, which leaves teens whose parents pull them out feeling awkward and penalized for being raised according to more conservative values.)
Instead of pretending that HiTOPS offers an “unbiased” sex-ed program, let’s acknowledge that it is impossible to avoid bias in these matters, and offer a second curriculum alongside HITOPS that better respects the moral values of families like those of devout Muslims, Jews, and Christians.
We invite parents to join our conversation on Facebook at Parents for Sex Ed Choice or in Spanish at Padres a Favor de Opción en Educación Sexual where we plan to study and discuss the HiTOPS curriculum carefully.
Cassandra Hough (2007)
JoanMarie Land Zetterberg