Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The New Curriculum Online

Hey, I don't think I ever mentioned this. If you are following the story about the Montgomery County sex-ed curriculum, and you want to know what it's actually about, you really should read it yourself, rather than trusting somebody to tell you what's in it. We have the whole curriculum posted HERE. We took the huge PDF file that the school district put out, and broke it into sections. The 10th grade condom lesson and each of the 8th and 10th grade sexual variations lessons are further subdivided into citizens advisory committee recommendations, MCPS staff responses to the recommendations, and final drafts. There is also a memo from the Superintendent there.

The recommendations are kind of interesting, because they give the results of voting on the different items. Like, "some people" like to say that everybody was against them, but you find a lot of close votes there, and even a couple of unanimous votes.

Breaking it up makes it easy to deal with, I think. I hope, anyway.

If you're looking for it sometime and you don't have this link, just go to the TeachTheFacts.org Resources page, and look on the lefthand side, at the top. Below that you can also find documents from the previously developed curriculum that was cancelled and the current curriculum, as well as some other documents of varying degrees of relevance.

34 Comments:

Blogger digger said...

Thanks for making this easier, Jim. It's actually good material to share with other school districts (I know some Family Life Ed coordinators here in Virginia who might like to see it). Montgomery County has done a good job with this.

On another subject, there was an article in the A section of todays Washington Times about the Haggard story (apparently there was more to it than just Crystal Meth and Mike Jones, and they've backed of the "completely heterosexual" line.), but I couldn't find it on the online version of the times. It's on page A9 of the print edition.

rrjr

p.s. I only buy the times when they put lgbt-related news on their front page. Today there was a story about the Anglican Union.

February 20, 2007 6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, thanks. Playacting those gay stories could be a fun activity for teen parties.

February 20, 2007 9:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I only buy the times when they put lgbt-related news on their front page."

Personally, I never buy it. I just read the headline at 7-11. It's too boring.

Why do you feel necessary to mention it? Do you feel some peer pressure to boycott it? Isn't gaeity kind of like a cult in many ways?

February 20, 2007 9:44 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Jim.
Did you get approval from MCPS to break the curriculum up into pieces ?

I was going to get my husband to do the same thing, we have been linking directly to the MCPS site but you are absolutely correct, it is way too bulky.

Anyway, just curious if you asked or just did it.
I also believe parents should see the curriculum - and we should make it easy for them - but I firmly believe they will have a little bit different reaction that you do.

I was thinking about borrowing your curriculum pdfs. Any complaints ?

Thanks
Theresa

February 20, 2007 11:52 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Thank you for posting the curriculum and for breaking into smaller chunks (makes it easier to digest you know).

Real quick...an immediate observation right off the bat is that the curriculum seems to rely heavily on two textbooks, Glencoe and Holt. Why?

February 21, 2007 4:59 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Theresa, I figure once it's on the Internet, it's public. If you use my work, it would be nice to give credit, but I don't expect it.

Oh, and no, I didn't feel a need to ask anybody if I could do this.

Orin ... the team of pediatricians liked those sections of those books. I can't tell you what goes on inside the bureaucratic process.

JimK

February 21, 2007 6:58 AM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Jim writes,

Orin ... the team of pediatricians liked those sections of those books. I can't tell you what goes on inside the bureaucratic process.

The reason I asked is because textbooks are not put together in a vacuum, and this has a direct bearing on potential bias. For example, the curriculum asserts,

Question 1: What percentage of Gay, Lesbian,
Bisexual, Transgender (GLBT) students report they
regularly hear anti-gay comments? (92%, Holt p. 9)
Question 2: What percentage of Gay, Lesbian,
Bisexual, Transgender (GLBT) students report they
are verbally harassed because of their sexual
orientation? (84%, Holt, p. 9)
Question 3: What percentage of Gay, Lesbian,
Bisexual, Transgender (GLBT) students report they
feel unsafe at school because of their sexual
orientation? (64%, Holt, p. 9)


Where do those figures come from? WHO produced them?

Bottomline: such "facts" do not materialize out of thin air...where did they come from??? (And no, Holt, p. 9 as a cite is not sufficient).

February 21, 2007 8:27 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Orin, as I recall, the numbers came from a GLSEN Climate Survey. I don't have it in front of me, but it's on the page somewhere, I think.

JimK

February 21, 2007 8:37 AM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

The 10th grade condom lesson, found here,
Grade10-CondomLesson.pdf
has a curious omission. Students fill out a work sheet to demonstrate just how much they learned from the video. The correct answers are filled in on pages 22 thru 24 except for two questions:
10. List two things you learned about condoms or condom use from the video.
and
12. What are three benefits of remaining sexually abstinent?
which are both left blank - WHY?

Certainly with question #10 there should be no shortage of "factoids" that the students have learned and acceptable answers should be listed. Goodness, even an open-ended question like,

11. Do you have any other questions about condoms or condom use?

supplies the teacher with "Answers will vary" Like, duh! lol!

Most curious though is the omission of any definitive answers to Q. #12, "What are three benefits of remaining sexually abstinent?" Well, what are they? Come now, don't be shy...

Does the condom video cover at least three reasons for remaining sexually abstinent? (provided, of course, the condom hasn't already been unwrapped, and then what is the use of wasting a perfectly good condom anyhow?)

Ok, I'll be honest with you all...don't any of you sense even the least bit of irony at mentioning abstinence on a worksheet that clearly is about making sure that students understand proper condom usage? Irony? Hummm, maybe I mistook irony for cynicism.

February 21, 2007 8:47 AM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Jim writes,

Orin, as I recall, the numbers came from a GLSEN Climate Survey. I don't have it in front of me, but it's on the page somewhere, I think.

And the GLSEN is?

February 21, 2007 8:48 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

10. List two things you learned about condoms or condom use from the video.
and
12. What are three benefits of remaining sexually abstinent?
which are both left blank - WHY?


Maybe because there are more than 2 and 3 correct answers...? I mean, you don't think there are only three benefits to remaining abstinent, do you? A kid might put "Avoid disease," or they might put "Jesus protects you if you avoid temptation." Whatever, they're not going to be graded down for getting it wrong.

I don't think it's irony at all, Orin; I think you're being cynical. The video stresses abstinence. But you know as well as I do, something like one percent of people are virgins when they marry. So ... abstinence is good, but at some time nearly everybody has sex, probably not intending to procreate. And then what? That's what the information in the video is for.

JimK

February 21, 2007 8:58 AM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Jim writes,

Maybe because there are more than 2 and 3 correct answers...?

Ok then...list them. If students are going to watch an "educational" video then they ought to have answers against which the teacher can grade...otherwise how else will the teacher know if the student has learned anything...that is, of course, if that was the reason for showing the video.

And the reason I mentioned in my last post Q #11 is precisely because in the answer field it reads, "Answers will vary"

I mean, you don't think there are only three benefits to remaining abstinent, do you?

Jim, it is exactly questions like this from "safe sex" advocates like yourself that I am rather jaded...ok, cynical, about the purposes and motives of activists like yourself. Yes, there are many benefits to abstinence, but I would not know that the video mentioned ANY of them by looking at the question and the answers, or, should I say, the NON-answers. Good grief...there are EIGHT blank lines on Q. #12 and nary a clue as to any correct, or even vaguely appropriate answers. Does the video even cover the "benefits" (which are legion btw) of remaining sexually abstinent???

A kid might put "Avoid disease," or they might put "Jesus protects you if you avoid temptation."

Please!!!! When I first started reading and studying in this area I thought that religion was the most powerful reason; now, I think it is among the weakest reasons. All of the most compelling reasons are secular...mostly based on the social science research that has been done. Want a sample? Ok, here's one: students who remain sexually abstinent do better in school. Fact. Ok? Does the video mention that at all?

Whatever, they're not going to be graded down for getting it wrong.

"Oh, I am so sorry Johnny (or Suzy), I am terribly sorry you contracted a life altering STD...and all because you barely passed the human sexuality curriculum." Is that a message you would want to give to a former student of yours??? I know it would haunt me for a very long time.

I don't think it's irony at all, Orin; I think you're being cynical.

Then I have good reason to be...

The video stresses abstinence.

And I would KNOW that how from the blank eight lines provided to the student to answer Q. #12?

Ever heard the saying that actions speak louder than words? I can just imagine being a student and viewing a demonstration on how to correctly use a condom, all the while hearing something about abstinence...

But you know as well as I do, something like one percent of people are virgins when they marry.

Please Jim, speak for yourself...I was a virgin until I married. If I can do it then anyone can...provided they desire to and don't have too many adults around them that are more eager to be a teenagers' friend, rather than a parent or adult authority figure.

No, you don't know, you believe, and there is a difference between the two.

So ... abstinence is good, but at some time nearly everybody has sex, probably not intending to procreate. And then what? That's what the information in the video is for.

And does the condom video tell the girls that nearly 2/3 of them will regret having had sex while still in school?

...I didn't think so.

Yes, those people at CRC do seem to be over reaching in their accusations in a manner that strongly suggests deception. However, I think TTF should take a look in the mirror as well.

February 21, 2007 11:08 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

I'm sorry, Orin. You were a virgin when you got married? How old were you? Do you really believe you can convince more than a tiny fraction of the population to wait until they are 26 years old to have sex? What about those who don't want or can't get married?

Life is different from when you were a child. I dare say it's generally better in these United States, in spite of the efforts of the religious extremists.

Personally, I taught my children to be abstinent for a host of reasons, not the least of which was the distraction from studying (I'm a bit of a nerd on that one), but I also insisted they learn how to use condoms if they chose otherwise. I treated them appropriately for their age. They have neither become ill nor impregnated any girlfriend. I consider that a success. I do not believe my silence on this topic, nor the lack of sex-ed, would have helped them in any manner. And I know they would have laughed at an abstinence-only curriculum. even though they're not yet as cynical as you are on some days.

You also seem to be obsessed with testing. Are you a strong supporter of NCLB?

February 21, 2007 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Tish said...

Actually, Jim, you have mentioned it before. Your blog post of January 18, 2007, titled "Curriculum Documents Online" was pretty clear. It's interesting that Theresa and Orin opted to wait a month to read it.

And Orin, the condom video, which constitutes a few minutes in the 10th grade lesson, doesn't mention the regrets that commonly follow when kids become sexually active. You're right. The Family Life and Human Sexuality classes in the 6th, 7th, 8th and 10th grades put that information in the live classroom where it can be discussed and expanded upon.

6th graders get discussions of the emotional effects of puberty with an abstinence message that focuses equally on drugs, alcohol and sex.

7th graders get detailed discussions and modeling of ways to say no. Abstinence is first presented with a drugs/alcohol/sex message, then reiterated with a strong sexual abstinence message. Students revisit the earlier year's lessons about hormonal changes and feelings, and the curriculum adds a strong component about media and popular culture, going into the many ways that inappropriate sexual messages are aimed at young teens and preteens.

I admit that I am less knowledgeable about the 8th and 10th grade classes. My oldest is almost 25 and took 8th grade Health 12 years ago and my middle one is in 7th grade now. But here's what we have on the MCPS Curriculum pages for 8th grade:

VII.Analyze Consequences of Sexual Activity

A.Negative feelings about self
1. poor self concept
2. low self-esteem
3. disappointment
4. depression
5. suicide

B.Feelings others may hold
1. loss of reputation
2. change of friends

C.Pregnancy
1. change in lifestyle

D.Sexually transmitted diseases
1. infection that may cause death or damage to sexual organs

E.Long-term loving relationship
1. rare among teens
2. promises before sexual activity are many times forgotten afterward

F.Positive consequences
1. there are positive consequences of sexual activity for adults, but for most teens the negative results far outweigh the positive

And here's what it says for the 10th grade, under "Factors Influencing Sexual attitudes and Behavior":
F. Effective Communication (verbal/non-verbal)
1. Assertive behaviors
2. Resistance skills
3. Other

G. Laws Relating to Sexual Behavior
1. Date/acquaintance rape
2. Statutory rape
3. Sexual harrassment
4. Sexual assault
5. Other

H. Possible Consequences of Sexual Activity
1. Emotional
2. Legal
3. Financial
4. Health-related
5. Relational
6. Other

February 21, 2007 1:45 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

That's hilarious, Tish, I had completely forgotten I'd written that! They say memory is the second thing to go.

Well, I recently cleaned up some bad links on the Resources page, too ... I don't think I've mentioned that before, have I?

JimK

February 21, 2007 2:12 PM  
Blogger andrear said...

As a parent of a student who took the 10th grade class not too long ago- there are discussions in class about the topics- including why to be abstinent. I remember one where my daughter said that when they discussed the financial and other consequences of having a child as a teen- one girl said "well, you have baby showers". So then there was a discussion that getting cute little nikes or dresses doesn't pay for doctors visits, food, medicine, housing and all diapers - plus the likelihood that having a baby means you may drop out or not be able to get a decent job even if you finish- child care, sick kids- hard to deal with in a two parent secure income family. That having a baby at 15 means there are lots of places you don't go and fun you don't have like other teenagers. That a sweet little baby can also be a screaming baby in the middle of the night or a sick baby and they are with you -sometimes just you- no dad for the baby around seems to be common when you are 15 or 16. So it isn't just what is said in a short video. Students have this discussion with other students- and in our high school, there are already kids with kids by the 10th grade(and younger)

February 21, 2007 4:57 PM  
Blogger andrear said...

Washington Times- I wouldn't buy the Times- I don't even take the free copies. And moron anon- - there are lots of reasons to boycott that piece of nothing they call a newspaper-I'm straight and we boycott it too. Tell me, isn't stupidity kind of like a cult? let us know your place in that group.

February 21, 2007 5:00 PM  
Anonymous godfrey said...

"As a parent of a student who took the 10th grade class not too long ago- there are discussions in class about the topics- including why to be abstinent. I remember one where my daughter said that when they discussed the financial and other consequences of having a child as a teen- one girl said "well, you have baby showers". So then there was a discussion that getting cute little nikes or dresses doesn't pay for doctors visits, food, medicine, housing and all diapers - plus the likelihood that having a baby means you may drop out or not be able to get a decent job even if you finish- child care, sick kids- hard to deal with in a two parent secure income family. That having a baby at 15 means there are lots of places you don't go and fun you don't have like other teenagers. That a sweet little baby can also be a screaming baby in the middle of the night or a sick baby and they are with you -sometimes just you- no dad for the baby around seems to be common when you are 15 or 16. So it isn't just what is said in a short video. Students have this discussion with other students- and in our high school, there are already kids with kids by the 10th grade(and younger)"

It's sad. Programs like this also turn kids off to something they should be excited about- becoming parents. Seems like you hear about few twenty-somethings having kids these days. Someone has convinced them that parenthood is inconvenient and stressful and they want to put it off as long as possible. Wouldn't it just be better to say unwed pregancy violates social norms?

Alas, another consequence of anti-family sex ed.

February 21, 2007 5:14 PM  
Anonymous godfrey said...

"Washington Times- I wouldn't buy the Times- I don't even take the free copies. And moron anon- - there are lots of reasons to boycott that piece of nothing they call a newspaper-I'm straight and we boycott it too."

Andrea, you seem so hostile. I think the point the commenter was making was not who does and does not buy the Times. It was why Digger was so worried to explain why he would read it. Why did he feel necessary to explain his choice of reading material? Was he afraid of what someone would say or think? 'Tis strange.

February 21, 2007 5:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you serious Anon? You don't know why somebody might want to explain why they were reading that rag?

The Times is the flagship publication of News World Communications, Inc. (NWC). NWC was founded by Sun Myung Moon, and some of its officials are members of the Unification Church which he leads, a fact that has drawn some criticism and controversy. NWC published Insight Magazine and The World & I. Insight ceased hardcopy publication in 2004, moving to the web; and The World & I became The World & I Online, an educational magazine with four corresponding websites. NWC continues to publish the The Washington Times National Weekly Edition (a tabloid compilation, designed for subscribers outside the metropolitan area, of the previous week's published Washington Times stories). NWC also owns United Press International.

NWC is described by the Columbia Journalism Review as "the media arm of Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church" [13]. The Unification Church calls Moon the "founder" of the Times. In 1997, on the 15th anniversary of the founding of the paper, Rev. Moon gave an address to staff members that began:

Fifteen years ago, when the world was adrift on the stormy waves of the Cold War, I established The Washington Times to fulfill God's desperate desire to save this world. Since that time, I have devoted myself to raising up The Washington Times, hoping that this blessed land of America would fulfill its world-wide mission to build a Heavenly nation. Meanwhile, I waged a lonely struggle, facing enormous obstacles and scorn as I dedicated my whole heart and energy to enable The Washington Times to grow as a righteous and responsible journalistic institution.[14]

In 2003, The New Yorker reported that a billion dollars had been spent since the paper's inception, as Rev Moon himself had noted in a 1991 speech ("Literally nine hundred million to one billion dollars has been spent to activate and run the Washington Times"[15]). In 2002, Columbia Journalism Review suggested Moon had spent nearly $2 billion on the Times [16] and in 2006 Consortium News said that the figure was more than $3 billion [17].


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Washington_Times

February 21, 2007 7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still doesn't explain why reading it requires an apology.

Obviously, the Post is more expansive and interesting but I haven't seen any cult influences on the occassion that I've seen it.

February 21, 2007 8:10 PM  
Anonymous TTFrist said...

Those who believe as the cult does usually need to be deprogrammed before they can see the various ways it held influence over them.

TTFrist

February 22, 2007 7:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone know of anyone getting sucked into a cult from reading the Times? Other than drain their money with huge losses, does the paper support the cult in any way?

February 22, 2007 8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asked as only a moonie might.

That rag fully supports Messiah Moon's crusade to "fulfill God's desperate desire to save this world" and his hope to see America "fulfill its world-wide mission to build a Heavenly nation."

February 22, 2007 1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does it do that?

February 22, 2007 1:53 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Dana writes,

I'm sorry, Orin.

Sorry about?...

You were a virgin when you got married? How old were you?

Lemme see...I was 25 years old.

Do you really believe you can convince more than a tiny fraction of the population to wait until they are 26 years old to have sex?

The short answer: yes, and the best part? I don't need any religion to accomplish this at all, in fact I have come to the conclusion that the religious arguments are the weakest and most ineffective.

I will admit that the abstinence message is...shall I say?...countercultural, perhaps the part I like best, but for those that want to be successful and happier it is a far more viable option than the "I just had to copulate, but hey, I was responsible and used protection". LOL.

What about those who don't want or can't get married?

For women? A convent. And for men? A monastery.

Ok, just kidding...

Seriously now, for those that don't want to get married?...ok, fine, don't get married. Please though, when you get a dreadful STD or get someone pregnant (or, not to be exclusionary, get pregnant), please don't force me to pick up the tab for the costs. Ok? Fair enough?

And for those that can't get married? Ever heard of friends?

Life is different from when you were a child. I dare say it's generally better in these United States, in spite of the efforts of the religious extremists.

A statement such as the one above could only be made by someone that is not familiar with the social science research and whose weltanschauung is distorted and directed by anti-religious prejudice.

Personally, I taught my children to be abstinent for a host of reasons, not the least of which was the distraction from studying (I'm a bit of a nerd on that one), but I also insisted they learn how to use condoms if they chose otherwise.

Did you share the research on students that become sexually active as opposed to those that remain abstinent? Hint: the students that remain abstinent do better in school.

I suspect that this link may make some of the TTF orientation break out in a "rash", but it does appear that it is based on a little more than wishful thinking.

http://www.heritage.org/Research/
Abstinence/whitepaper10272005-1.cfm

This research uses data from Add Health, a program project designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris and funded by a grant P01-HD31921 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 17 other agencies. Persons interested in obtaining data files from Add Health should contact Add Health, Carolina Population Center, 123 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-2524 (addhealth@unc.edu).

Needless to say, this is not an issue to conservatives only,

http://www.brookings.edu/
es/wrb/wip/200110.pdf

and here,

http://www.brookings.edu/views/
testimony/sawhill/20020411.pdf

in which she candidly remarks on this argument,

Teen births are down because teen pregnancies are down. (The difference between them
depends on how many teens have an abortion, and after increasing in the decade immediately
following Roe v. Wade, abortion rates for teens, as for all women, have now leveled off or
declined.) The decline in teen pregnancy rates has been driven, in turn, by both declining rates of
sexual activity among teens and better contraception. Proponents of abstinence like to think that
the former has been most important while proponents of birth control give greater weight to
changes in contraceptive behavior.
With existing data, it’s not possible to determine the precise
role of each, but almost everyone agrees that both have played a role. (ix) That said, there is a
growing public consensus that abstinence is preferable, especially for school-age youth, but that
contraception should be available. Polling by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
has consistently found majority support for this view with 73 percent of adults agreeing with the
proposition that teens should not be sexually active but that teens who are should have access to
contraception. Support for this moderate position has increased 14 percent since 1996. (x)


BTW, Isabel Sawhill's bio, CV and other info can be found here,

http://www.brook.edu/scholars/
isawhill.htm

And here is some info from the RAND Corporation,

http://www.promisingpractices.net/
program.asp?programid=29

and then there is that so-called coven of neo-conservatism, the American Enterprise Institute,

http://www.aei.org/publications/
pubID.17766/pub_detail.asp

that has an interesting concluding remark,

While considering such questions, providers need to remember that the U.S. population is highly heterogeneous. Different programs may appropriately emphasize different issues and approaches, especially as they focus on different populations and age groups. Policy makers and program planners need to acknowledge that the origins of adolescent sexual behavior accumulate over the course of life and reflect the force of numerous influences that pose costs and benefits to the adolescent in the short term and the long term. We should develop programs that recognize this complex reality.

Ok, "complex reality" seems like an accurate assessment of the situation.

I treated them appropriately for their age. They have neither become ill nor impregnated any girlfriend. I consider that a success.

Sincerely now, I congratulate you on this success.

I do not believe my silence on this topic, nor the lack of sex-ed, would have helped them in any manner.

And as THEIR parent it is YOUR right to teach them in this manner, if you so choose.

And I know they would have laughed at an abstinence-only curriculum.

You don't believe in it...why should they? No surprise there...

even though they're not yet as cynical as you are on some days.

Give them time...

You also seem to be obsessed with testing. Are you a strong supporter of NCLB?

Here you make an assumption...no, I am not a supporter of NCLB. In fact there are few other things that would delight me more than the total repeal of NCLB. The federal government has no business in K-12 education. Now, I guess I should backpeddle a bit here...*if* only federal intervention will keep the free and reduced lunch (and breakfast) programs operating then I would support such a program because I do not support kids going to (and remaining at) school hungry. That is wrong.

I guess what bothers me more than the intervention of the federal govt in a state matter are the MANDATES. Right here in Fort Collins, Colorado, some of the best teachers in the school district here teach at the lowest performing school. How do I know? I mentored a 5th/6th grader at the school in question, and I had an opportunity to meet and talk to his teachers. I am awestruck at the level of competency and expertise of the teachers at this school. And yet, come test result time and this school would get a black mark. The primary rationale for testing ought to be to know what the strengths and weaknesses of the students and the schools are, not to determine which schools to "reward" and which to "punish".

Without NCLB some States would clearly do a better job than others and that is just a part of life. This is not a strong enough rationale for the sort of federal involvement that NCLB mandates, no matter how well intended.

February 23, 2007 7:02 AM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

http://www.aei.org/publications/
pubID.17766/pub_detail.asp

First, all the programs in the world cannot deal with one vital aspect of the problem: Many teen-agers are simply not ready for sexual relationships. They do not have the requisite emotional and cognitive maturity. Adolescents who cannot remember to hang up their bath towels may be just as unlikely to remember to use contraceptives. Current policies and programs do not sufficiently recognize this fundamental truth.

Truer words are seldom spoken...

At the same time, the clock cannot be turned all the way back to the innocent 1950s. Sexual mores have probably been permanently changed, especially for older teens -- those who are out of high school, living on their own or off at college. For them, and ultimately all of us, the question is: How to limit the harm being done?

The challenge for public policy is to pursue two simultaneous goals: to lower the rate of sexual activity, especially among young teens, and to raise the level of contraceptive use. Other than abstinence, the best way to prevent pregnancy is to use a contraceptive, and the best way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases is to use a barrier form of contraception. Meeting this challenge will take moral clarity, social honesty and political courage -- three commodities in short supply these days.


Moral clarity? What's that? Oh, I think it is part and parcel of what everyone gets to decide for themselves with little reference to any external points of reference.

February 23, 2007 7:24 AM  
Anonymous Warning, facts ahead said...

Orin said "students that remain abstinent do better in school."

Or is it that students who do better in school remain abstinent? Or does some other factor (affluence, weekly church attendence, listening to classical music, taking a daily multivitamin) cause students to perform well and remain abstinent? Or are abstinence and school performance coincidental or self-reinforcing variables?

This conundrum demonstrates the most common problem with correlational studies: non-scientists frequently assume cause and effect are proven when in fact, they are not.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation

February 23, 2007 12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"non-scientists frequently assume cause and effect are proven when in fact, they are not"

Exactly. That is the problem with virtually all studies that gay advocacy groups claim prove innateness.

February 23, 2007 1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give an example of a correlational study that claims to prove orientation is innate.

February 23, 2007 2:14 PM  
Anonymous TTFrist said...

"That is the problem with virtually all studies that gay advocacy groups claim prove innateness."

But it's only ONE of the problems with the Spitzer study that gay-haters cling to as proving change might be rarely possible.

Obviously, Spitzer could not control for the variable of where most of his participants worked or volunteered because there were so few people who agreed to participate after 16 months of diligently searching throughout the ex-gay industry. Most people who did volunteer to participate in Spitzer's study were financially or spiritually (or both) involved with the ex-gay industry. A few pertinent quotes from the Sample Description of Spitzer's study:

-- "Nineteen percent were mental health professionals or directors of ex-gay ministries."

-- "The majority of participants (78%) had publicly spoken in favor of efforts to change homosexual orientation, often at their church."

-- "The vast majority (93%) of the participants reported that religion was "extremely" or "very" important in their lives."

It is very likely that conducting ex-gay therapy, or speaking up at church for ex-gay ministries, or reporting religion to be at least "very important in one's life" has a higher correlation with claiming to be an ex-gay than attending ex-gay therapy does. We won't know until studies are done where occupation and volunteer activities of participants are properly controlled for. And we won't know who really is ex-gay -- as opposed to who just says they are -- until objective measures of arousal toward various genders are assessed.

February 24, 2007 7:21 AM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Excellent summation ttfrist.

February 24, 2007 9:07 AM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Orin said "Seriously now, for those that don't want to get married?...ok, fine, don't get married. Please though, when you get a dreadful STD or get someone pregnant (or, not to be exclusionary, get pregnant), please don't force me to pick up the tab for the costs. Ok? Fair enough?"

Orin, there's nothing saying the unmarried are going to get an STD and that the married aren't. By the same token, don't ask us to pick up the tab if a married person gets an STD or pregnant.

Orin says "And for those that can't get married? Ever heard of friends?".

That's preposterous, hideously self-centered and dictatorial. Who the hell are you to be telling anyone that not only can they not get married but that they shouldn't have a romantic/sexual relationship if it so suits them?! You'd scream bloody murder if someone tried to dictate that to you, just what makes you think you've got the right to control anyone's intimate life other than your own?! Telling people they can't get married is one thing, but expecting to stop their romantic relationships is quite another - you have no concept of fairness whatsoever. What stunning self-centered arrogance.

February 24, 2007 9:19 AM  
Anonymous Phentermine said...

Nice design of blog.

August 13, 2007 3:25 PM  

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