During the last General Assembly, thanks to your faithful help, we were very proud to see the General Assembly pass, and Governor Tim Kaine sign, two common sense laws concerning Virginia's Family Life Education curriculum. The bipartisan support for these and other bills that became law proves The Family Foundation's legislative agenda is practical, common sense and broadly supported by the public. But just as the Choose Life license plates law is less "law" than practical, problem solving tool, these FLE "laws" are more much needed education reforms — either something that went awry and needed correction, or something that never was and should have always been.
One of the two FLE reforms that went into effect today adds the value and benefits of marriage to the FLE guidelines for Virginia's public schools. Shockingly, prior to today, there was no positive reference to marriage in these guidelines! Now, this modest change, suggested by our Marriage Commission, will allow the current and future generations to become educated in, and to take the first step toward, healthy marriages and families. Beginning this fall, local schools that teach Family Life Education should be prepared to talk about the value and benefits of marriage to students.
The second law in this realm requires local school boards to better notify parents regarding what is being taught in Family Life Education so that parents can make a more informed decision about whether their children should participate. Schools now will be required to send parents a detailed summary of the materials that are to be taught. This not only is a much needed reform of Virginia's education system, it is a much needed restoration of parental rights.
Armed with these two recently passed Family Life Education reforms, parents should feel empowered come fall to inquire about what is being taught in FLE and ensure that the value and benefits of marriage are taught in their children's FLE classes. That means accepting the responsibility to insist they are not ignored as idle "laws on the books," but emphatically used as the much needed improvements they are.