Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Forcing the Government to Tell the Truth

Somebody sent this link to our Yahoo group and I almost missed it, but it's great.

You know the federal government funds "abstinence-only" sex ed, aka Ignorance Education. You probably also know about a study by Rep. Henry Waxman that found that a w-h-o-l-e bunch of the stuff that was being taught amounted to what I call on this G-rated blog "bull-oney." The stuff they are teaching kids is just crazy, it's not just that anybody disagrees with their values or that anybody thinks sex-ed should be about sex, it's that they having been making up facts and distorting the truth.

So now two groups that support comprehensive sex ed (which is what we want), Advocates for Youth and Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), have asked the Health and Human Services Department to correct the information in federally-funded curricula.
The groups claim that the curriculum used by most Community-Based Abstinence Education grantees contains false information. They called on the Administration for Children and Families to cease sponsorship of programs that fail to provide medically accurate information.

For example, dozens of grantees teach that condom use reduces the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS by 69 percent to 90 percent. The two groups say that such instruction greatly underestimates the effectiveness of condoms in preventing HIV/AIDS, and the numbers result from a study that the department itself described as having conclusions based on "serious error."

"Never in recent history has so much government money been put into so many programs with so little oversight and so little proven impact," Wagoner said. Groups challenge abstinence curriculum

Advocates for Youth and SIECUS are using something called the Information Quality Act to get the curricula straightened out. This is not, you might say, the way the law is usually used:
Groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly support the legislation because they say the data used by federal regulators must be correct. Otherwise, every activity that relies on the data will have flawed results.

Opponents of the legislation said that petitioners challenging government data are trying to delay or weaken government regulation - to the detriment of society as a whole.

A report on the act by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Services shows that many challenges are over rather routine matters. For instance, a challenge filed with the National Archives seeks to correct the identity of individuals listed in a photograph of President Nixon and Elvis Presley.

Others are more substantive. For example, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Salt Institute filed a petition challenging the government's finding that reduced sodium consumption will result in lower blood pressure in all individuals.

Radical idea, eh? That government information should be accurate. Very controversial.

Well, this was a clever idea. If the government wants to promote ignorance, that's one things, but lies ... nope. Ya gotta draw the line.


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