Saturday, August 20, 2005

Good News All Over the Place

Up in Maine they want that federal money for "abstinence-only" sex education. But the classes don't meet state standards. From the Portland Press Herald:

The Maine Department of Education informed school districts on Friday that a federally funded sex education program doesn't meet state requirements for teaching health.

The two-page letter sent to all school superintendents says Heritage of Maine and other programs that focus on promoting abstinence alone fall short of standards outlined in state law and Maine Learning Results.

The letter says that so-called "abstinence only" or "abstinence until marriage" programs don't fit the state's comprehensive requirements.

Greg Scott, legislative coordinator for the department, said the commissioner's office sent the letter after receiving questions from school districts about Heritage.

The nonprofit organization, which started receiving federal funding in July 2004, has reached out to schools in Maine, volunteering to provide its alternative approach to sex education. Sex education course fails state's test

So it looks like Maine is about to wake up in the twenty-first century.

It's tough, I know. We all want our teens to make the right decisions, and for almost all parents that means we want them to abstain from sex.

The issue is this: one side thinks you get kids to abstain from sex by keeping them ignorant, and just telling them that sex before marriage is wrong; the other side (that would be us) thinks that kids will make good decisions if they are given good information, and the best decision for them at this time of their lives is to abstain from sex.

Do you have a teenager? What happens when you tell them to do something?

Do they do it?

Mine neither.

It looks like Battle Creek, Michigan, is going through something similar. They've been teaching kids to just say no, but the adults of the community have realized they have to do more:
Battle Creek's Board of Education voted unanimously to change the district's sex education curriculum in hopes of better educating students and reducing teen pregnancy.

The changes were approved Monday by a 6-0 vote with one trustee absent.

"We're at a time where we need to include some additional measures," said Board President Kim Watson. "They will help students be more informed and educated to make better decisions."

The changes will take effect at the start of this school year, Aug. 23.


During the 2004-05 school year, a nine-week health course was offered to Central's ninth-graders. The course incorporated "Reducing the Risk" curriculum that focused on teaching refusal skills to students in high-risk situations involving sex, alcohol and drugs, to name a few.

This year, students will be taught those same lessons but with more information about contraception in an effort to reduce teen pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases among teenagers living in Calhoun County.

In 2002, there were an estimated 386 pregnancies and 249 live births among 4,841 females ages 15 to 19 living in the county, one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the state.

As mandated by state law, the district's sex education curriculum will continue to teach abstinence as the best preventative method. Teens to get more sex education

And out in Washoe County, Nevada, we learn this:
School board members have approved a video to be used in the SHARE Program, "Sex, Health and Responsibility Education" in the Washoe County School District.

Kids at more than a dozen area schools will see the tape, which was approved Tuesday night at the school board meeting.

It's designed to teach them there are consequences to their actions, and in the case of sexual behavior, consequences that could have an impact on the rest of their lives.

The tape will be shown to some 30,000 Washoe County middle-schoolers this year.

Board member Jonnie Pullman says it is far from a boring lecture or purely technical discussion. "This shows role playing, consequences of peoples' actions, teens dressed like kids dress today, etc."

SHARE Coordinator Katherine Loudon says it is meant to hit home with an important message for young people. "It covers sexual health, responsibility, reproduction, sexually transmitted infections, etc. Those lessons were already there, but this is a new video."

Among some parents, there was concern about this tape. The lessons were described as abstinence based, which is different from abstinence only. Many people believe sexual abstinence only is unrealistic, even among middle-schoolers.

After more than an hour of discussion, the vote was unanimous: the new SHARE tape was approved for use in the coming school year.

Board members agreed the tape taught age-appropriate lessons.

Share lessons are taught to fourth-through-ninth graders in the school district, but this tape will be shown to middle-schoolers only, because the lessons are too advanced for younger students.

Older students continue sex education through their health classes.

I could go on and on here, you know, there are news stories like these coming from every corner of our nation. It's not just Montgomery County, people all over the country are debating the best approach to sex education in the public schools, and are deciding against ignorance education. There is a crisis in teen pregnancy and STD rates, and the answer just might be to educate, rather than indoctrinate.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most "concerned parents" want their
public school students to learn
the facts of life in sex ed, even
the facts that gays exists and
have families. School is where
you send your kids to be educated.

If they want their teens to learn
views (not facts) about gays
that are religious in nature, they
can take them to church or temple
or mosque or elsewhere to be

August 22, 2005 8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly right, Anonymous! It amazes me to hear the CRC's new crusade to convince MCPS to implement an alternative health class to teach the "traditional family." THAT'S CALLED SUNDAY SCHOOL!


August 22, 2005 12:04 PM  

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