Friday, March 16, 2012

State law and the psychology curriculum

The Utah State Legislature recently passed a law (HB363) that mandates abstinence-only sex education. While the Governor has yet to sign this bill, it is creating a lot of discussion at high school, colleges, and universities in my state. Weber State University (located in Ogden, Utah) has said that it will discontinue offering certain Concurrent Enrollment (CE) classes in high school. CE courses are college-level courses that high school students can take for college credit. Representatives from Weber State have said that they will no longer offer courses, such as human development and family relations, because they will not change their curriculum to go along with this new law. Read about this development at:

I believe this bill will also influence how Psychology courses (both CE and AP) are taught . This law could potentially impact what is taught in Motivation and Emotion (sexual motivation and homosexuality), Human Development (adolescent sexuality), Personality (Freudian theory), Genes and Environment (Evolutionary theory), and Social Psychology (love and sex). In addition, the college-level textbooks that are currently used to teach these courses could not be used in the high school classroom.

For AP Psychology students in our state, they would be placed at a distinct disadvantage. Content, that is currently included in the AP Psychology Course Description, would have to be dropped from the curriculum.

For CE students, if certain content is dropped, should those students earn college credit? What happens if they transfer to another institution? Would credit from institutions that have altered their curricululm be accepted?

Personally, I can't see how college level psychology courses can be presented without the all relevant material and still be representative of the current field. Our students deserve better.

Are educators in other states dealing with these same issues?

Kristin H. Whitlock


Kristin H. Whitlock said...

Good news for educators in our state! The Governor vetoed this bill this evening. I am happy and relieved to see this development, but still concerned. This is the result of this round, what's next?

Sev. said...

What a shock! I'm a Swiss teacher and from abroad it's amazing to think that such laws can even be envisaged(outside of Iran :-)! How sad would it be for your students, it would just teach them lies.
Great blog by the way! It's just too bad that the same kind of blog and material doesn't exist in French, so I could use it in my classes!