What is ‘patriotic education’ and why is it controversial?

President Donald Trump recently announced plans for a new commission to support “patriotic education.”

“We must clear away the twisted web of lies in our schools and classrooms and teach our children the magnificent truth about our country,” he said. “We want our sons and daughters to know they are the citizens of the most exceptional nation in the history of the world.”

The September announcement was criticized as the latest move from the Trump administration to block efforts to educate people about the country’s history of racism — education that, of course, may not elicit warm and fuzzy feelings about America among today’s students.

But the news may also have left some people wondering: What is a patriotic education in the first place?

A long history of political education

Patriotic education is a form of political education — essentially, efforts to teach people to love America, and that usually

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Voters get final word on a controversial sex education law

ARLINGTON — Courtney Normand and Mindie Wirth agree there’s value in teaching sex education in Washington’s public schools.

But the two Snohomish County mothers disagree sharply on a new state law mandating comprehensive sex education in every district’s curriculum in every grade, starting in kindergarten.

It’s propelled them into the spotlight of the impassioned battle over Referendum 90, a statewide ballot measure which gives voters the final say on keeping or repealing the controversial law.

Normand, of Arlington, backs the law, believing it will provide children building blocks for self-awareness by ensuring they receive accurate and age-appropriate information about their bodies, about consent and about relationships.

“We know that this legislation will give our young people the tools they need for a healthy and more equitable future,” said Normand, a mother of two elementary students who is the state director for Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest. She is a spokeswoman for

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Controversial bill mandating sex education in Washington schools goes to voters in November

Referendum 90 would mandate “age-appropriate” sexual health education to be taught to students in every grade in Washington’s public schools.

SEATTLE — Ballots will soon arrive in mailboxes around Washington state and one controversial issue voters will decide on is Referendum 90, which involves the future of sex education in schools. 

In June, it was a coalition of parents who took back control over the future of sex education in schools, gathering enough signatures to put the decision in the voter’s hands. 

“It was a state record during a global pandemic,” Whitney Holz with Informed Parents of Washington explained.

Initially, the legislature passed guidelines that Gov. Jay Inslee signed in March, mandating every public school in the state to provide “age-appropriate” comprehensive sexual health education for every grade by the 2022-23 school year.

Supporters say in the younger grades it can help kids understand how to build healthy relationships and

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