Tuesday, July 12, 2005

They Call Alabama the Crimson State ...

I will admit I have been a little tough at times on the state of Alabama. Well, a few news stories have come from there that were, how you say? -- unflattering to the poor folks down there. Especially when we're debating here about Red-State/Blue-State issues, and we're the Blue State -- no place exemplifies the Red perspective better than Alabama.

A couple of months ago our CillyGoose even printed out the words to "Sweet Home Alabama" and gave them to me, hoping I'd lighten up on them.

So I would like to report some good news from Alabama. They did a poll down there recently and found that the folks there have got some pretty clear ideas about sex education:
A recent poll shows that Alabamians support sex education classes if they are taught from a neutral perspective and parental permission is required.

These are among the findings of the spring Ask Alabama public opinion survey, conducted by the Center for Governmental Services at Auburn University.

According to the survey, more than four out of five Alabamians, both those identified as religious and non-religious, approve of some form of sex education classes offered at the middle and high school levels.

However, approximately 75 percent of those responding believe that parental permission should be required before students are presented with sex education material.

"Parents want Alabama's public schools to ask them first," said poll manager Robin Salter. "It is possible many Alabamians worry that without a permission requirement, they may not even know when their children are being presented with sex education material, much less the content of that material." Sex education OK with Alabamians

I suppose you do want to know, though it's funny. Like, did you want to know when your kid was going to read Silas Marner? Did you want to be notified when your kid was learning to do long division? To tell you the truth, when my kids took 8th grade health, neither one of them ever mentioned it to us, and we didn't even realize they were receiving the dreaded and life-traumatizing sex education.
Regarding the content covered by sex education, a large majority (95 percent to 98 percent) of Alabamians support the inclusion of a wide range of topics such as sexually transmitted diseases, rape prevention, rape reporting and abstinence.

The topic of contraception received support from 86 percent. The topic of homosexuality, which is the focus of much of the sex education controversy in Alabama and other states, received less support, but it was still significant at 72 percent if it were taught from a neutral perspective which neither supports nor condemns any viewpoint.

This indicates that Alabama parents want to insulate their kids from partisan influence, Salter said.

"Parents are comfortable having the public school system provide their children with factual information on these topics, but they reserve the right to discuss with their kids their personal views and beliefs," he added.

The Ask Alabama poll had a sample size of 603 state residents, age 19 or older, and an estimated margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

Let me state the obvious: if seventy two per cent of Alabamians approve teaching about homosexuality -- how extreme do you think our Montgomery County radicals are? What do you think the percentage would be here in this Blue County? In the nineties? And that was eighty-six per cent in Alabama that want kids to learn about contraception. Assume the numbers are even higher here, in this liberal county.

The nuts that want to stop our reasonable curriculum changes here in Maryland like to pretend they're "mainstream." They'll tell you that, they say it all the time -- their web page says, right at the top, they want to be a "a mainstream voice for fairness and scientific accuracy."

Ha! They wouldn't even be mainstream in Alabama.


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