Saturday, December 15, 2007

States Turn Down Free Abstinence Money

Well, this is about as direct a statement as you'll see in the morning paper. From the Washington Post:
The number of states refusing federal money for "abstinence-only" sex education programs jumped sharply in the past year as evidence mounted that the approach is ineffective.

At least 14 states have either notified the federal government that they will no longer be requesting the funds or are not expected to apply, forgoing more than $15 million of the $50 million available, officials said. Virginia was the most recent state to opt out. Abstinence Programs Are Facing Rejection

It's significant when people won't take free money.
Two other states -- Ohio and Washington -- have applied but stipulated they would use the money for comprehensive sex education, effectively making themselves ineligible, federal officials said. While Maryland and the District are planning to continue applying for the money, other states are considering withdrawing as well.

Until this year, only four states had passed up the funding.

"We're concerned about this," said Stan Koutstaal of the Department of Health and Human Services, which runs the program. "My greatest concern about states dropping out is that these are valuable services and programs. It's the youths in these states who are missing out."

This is kind of interesting. I was looking around the Internet to find out who this guy is -- turns out he comes from a "faith-based program" in St. Louis, whatever. But I found this report put out by the US Department of Health and Human Services. Here's a paragraph from the "Summary of Major Findings" section:
Findings indicate that youth who were assigned to the Title V abstinence education “program group” were no more likely than youth who were assigned to the “services as usual” control group to have abstained from sex. Those who reported having sex had similar numbers of sexual partners and had initiated sex at the same mean age. Contrary to concerns raised by critics of abstinence education, program group youth were no more likely to have engaged in unprotected sex than control group youth.

I should mention that this study used self-report data only; the "concerns raised by critics," as I recall, were elicited by some lab tests that were conducted on respondents, which revealed a level of sexually-transmitted infection that was not reported in the questionnaire. So this "result" is not quite what they make it.

The good news is, abstinence education does not seem to have any effect.

Back to The Post.
The number of states spurning the money has grown even as Congress considers boosting overall funding for abstinence-only education to $204 million, with most of it going directly to community organizations.

The trend has triggered intense lobbying of state legislators and governors around the country. Supporters of the programs are scrambling to reverse the decisions, while opponents are pressuring more states to join the trend.

"This wave of states rejecting the money is a bellwether," said William Smith of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, a Washington-based advocacy and education group that opposes abstinence-only programs. "It's a canary in the coal mine of what's to come."

"We hope that it sends a message to the politicians in Washington that this program needs to change, and states need to be able to craft a program that is the best fit for their young people and that is not a dictated by Washington ideologues," Smith said.

There's more. Follow the link if you're interested.

16 Comments:

Anonymous grantdale said...

Indeed, the youth's in those States are "missing out".

Missing out on claptrap that menaces their future ability to make sensible, informed and safe decisions; that is.

Koutstasl previously worked for the unsurprisingly named "Christian Family Services, Inc." in St Louis.

http://www.cfserve.org

Rather a pissant sized outfit... and no doubt working for them more than qualified Koutstaal to dole out the millions.

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2006/431/008/2006-431008673-0359de94-9.pdf

It's the type of organisation that declares:

"Families must be of good character and be active Christians whose faith matches that of CFS' mission and policies."

yah get the drift...

December 15, 2007 11:48 PM  
Anonymous tropic tom said...

The St. Lucie, Fla., school board voted 4-1 this week to teach a graphic condom-education curriculum to fourth-graders. The explicit curriculum — Get Real about AIDS — includes teaching children how HIV is contracted.

St. Lucie Pastor Bryan Longworth, who helped to gather more than 3,750 signatures in opposition to the curriculum, said he was shocked by the decision.

“I was appalled to learn that 9- and 10-year-olds will be exposed to sexual content,” he said at the board meeting. “The school board will rob children of their childhood.”

December 16, 2007 12:22 AM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

“The school board will rob children of their childhood.”.

That's so laughable. As if children will stop being children just because they hear about sex. Children simply couldn't care less about sex, its in one ear and out the other. They don't care about it until they start having actual sexual desires. Its ironic that such people are obsessed about maintaining children's innocence of sex yet are happy to teach them nightmare inducing ideas like that they'll be eternally tortured if they aren't "good" Christians. These people have no concern whatsoever for robbing children of their childhoods - they're just so obsessed with their sexual hangups that they want to repress sex for everyone.

December 17, 2007 3:14 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Jim writes,

The good news is, abstinence education does not seem to have any effect.

Exactly how is that "good news" Jim?

Randi writes,

That's so laughable. As if children will stop being children just because they hear about sex. Children simply couldn't care less about sex, its in one ear and out the other. They don't care about it until they start having actual sexual desires. Its ironic that such people are obsessed about maintaining children's innocence of sex yet are happy to teach them nightmare inducing ideas like that they'll be eternally tortured if they aren't "good" Christians. These people have no concern whatsoever for robbing children of their childhoods - they're just so obsessed with their sexual hangups that they want to repress sex for everyone.

Are you a parent? (Please keep in mind that that is a simple YES or NO answer).

December 19, 2007 2:26 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Orin, first how about you explain step by step cause and effect how exactly it is that gays marrying keeps men and women apart.

December 19, 2007 6:34 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 19, 2007 7:04 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Randi babels,

Orin, first how about you explain step by step cause and effect how exactly it is that gays marrying keeps men and women apart.

First off, grow up...and in addition of that try your hand at procreation - I have learned more about becoming a better human being from my two daughters than I did in all my 4+ years of college. You will be amazed...

As to your theorizing about children...parents have the right in the United States to raise their children in their religious faith (or, as in the case of a dear friend of mine and her husband, no particular faith at all). Most Christian parents these days do not try to scare their children with their faith; they use it in an effort to protect their children from what they judge to be harmful influences.

they're just so obsessed with their sexual hangups that they want to repress sex for everyone.

Of the "over baked" variety of religious folks I would have to for the most part agree. What you fail to mention is that sexual hangups are not the sole possession of the religious-right/Jerry Falwell set. Oh really, you say...like who? Alfred Kinsey.

Are you sure you are not just engaging in a little emotional projectionism here?

December 19, 2007 7:17 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Orin, no one's remotely as impressed with you as you are with yourself. There's nothing you know about children that I don't.

Parents may not try to scare their children with religion but they do so anyway and religion is a total failure at protecting children from anything.

December 19, 2007 10:32 PM  
Anonymous yee-hah! said...

"The good news is, abstinence education does not seem to have any effect."

The funny thing is that neither does condom encouragement education. And, even funnier, no one is using that as an argument to stop trying.

You see, abstinence education is a historic first. It is singular. It is the only topic in the world that teachers try to claim it is impossible to teach.

It's unteachable. We got si-and-tific pahroof! And it fits so well with how the NEA wants kids to be.

Sexual liberation.

December 19, 2007 11:53 PM  
Anonymous Please get real said...

"The number of states refusing federal money for "abstinence-only" sex education programs jumped sharply in the past year as evidence mounted that the approach is ineffective."

Actually, the evidence hasn't mounted. The political suicide-wish pressure on Democrats, elected primarily because of public weariness on the Iraq war, has intensified.

Tim Kaine, a sad soul, rejected the funding despite a Virginia state study showing ab programs in the state to be effective. Why? Likely trying to be in with the national party, probably harboring some pathetic notion that he might eventually be presidential material.

Dream on, Tim.

December 20, 2007 7:56 AM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Randi, telling a "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing," (MacBeth, Act 5, Scene 5)

Orin, no one's remotely as impressed with you as you are with yourself. There's nothing you know about children that I don't.

If you have never had children then it is impossible to make such a statement. I was a stay-at-home dad for five years...I potty-trained (using M&M's) both of my girls (though truth be told, the incentive reward system was my wife's idea)...and most importantly, I know how to and have changed a diaper (both cloth and disposable). In addition, I volunteered at the university child development center my girls attended (for a total of six years between the two). And most importantly...whether a child believes in Jesus is not nearly as important as that they are taught that the highest, most noble value is goodness (with goodness defined as more than the absence of doing harm to others).

Can you say any of that??? I didn't think so...

As to being impressed with myself...lol...I wish I could say that...but after going over to a friend's house last night for a beer and a Scrabble game, I know I am not the sharpest pencil in the pack. Both my friend and I were beat by his 11-year-old son. The score? The 11-year-old: 215 points. My friend: 164 points. And yours truly? 124 points! Sigh...I gave the 11-year-old the tally sheeet and told him to take to school and show his peers what he did to two adults.

Parents may not try to scare their children with religion but they do so anyway and religion is a total failure at protecting children from anything.

Since you are not a parent, you are not qualified to make any sort of a statement that is so sweeping as to state "total failure" and "anything". Time to stop theorizing, and start procreating...that is, if you have the courage of your convictions. Heck, while I may not agree with Dana or Jim on much of anything, when they speak about children, they speak from direct experience.

December 20, 2007 10:10 AM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Orin, you're a fool. I've changed more than my fair share of diapers (both cloth and disposable). In a world that's overpopulated your advice for everyone to go out and procreate willy nilly is absurd. If you're so into goodness you'd have adopted children that desperately needed parents rather than selfishly adding more unneeded children to the world.

December 20, 2007 1:07 PM  
Anonymous grantdale said...

Orin,

We have little time for Randi, but... this is easily the rudest, and most stupid, we have watched you to be.

Getting a woman pregnant is surely the easiest part of parenthood.

(Frankly, I think the two of us would whop you sideways as regards good parenting. But who could tell.)

I'm also sorry you had a woeful college education, undoubtedly following as repressive and inadequate childhood, and only realised that "children are both a joy and a responsibility" later in your life, but you need not cover your inadequacies by abusing other people.

Again: procreation is the easy part.

What follows procreation is what causes all the grief.

December 21, 2007 10:31 AM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Randi rants,

Orin, you're a fool. I've changed more than my fair share of diapers (both cloth and disposable). In a world that's overpopulated your advice for everyone to go out and procreate willy nilly is absurd.

Did I give that advice? Goodness, did you even read what I wrote? My comment about procreating was directed solely at YOU...though I could be persuaded to change admonition.

Trust me, as someone that keeps abreast of social currents in the news, I am painfully aware of the consequences (both micro and macro) of procreation done "willy nilly". Case in point, this story out of a town just 30 minutes away from where I live,

http://www.denverpost.com/ci_7789370

and though there is much in this story that foretells of the tragedy to occur, none does it as succinctly as this single sentence,
The mother, Dana Trujillo, 30, has had six children with four fathers, said Garcia.

So, no Randi, there is no possible way, short of contorting my words to say something they plainly don't mean, that I endorse "willy nilly procreation.

If you're so into goodness you'd have adopted children that desperately needed parents rather than selfishly adding more unneeded children to the world.

I would if I could, though at present what I have on my plate is enough for me to handle.

grantdale writes,

Orin,

We have little time for Randi, but... this is easily the rudest, and most stupid, we have watched you to be.


Well, that may very well be so...while I beat the wife by one point in Scrabble yesterday, she whoop me 278 to 162.

Getting a woman pregnant is surely the easiest part of parenthood.

As a "breeder" I am aware of that all too well...(see above URL).

(Frankly, I think the two of us would whop you sideways as regards good parenting. But who could tell.)

Perhaps...

I'm also sorry you had a woeful college education,

And you know this how?

undoubtedly following as repressive and inadequate childhood,

Repressive? Yeah...sure...why not?

Inadequate? LOL...unlike Zoe Garcia, I had a father and a mother that were married to each other, and remain so to this day. And trust me...I benefited by this "social arrangement".

and only realised that "children are both a joy and a responsibility" later in your life,

Huh? Oh, never mind...

but you need not cover your inadequacies by abusing other people.

I think Randi can stand up for herself...even my friend that monitors this forum has commented to me about how unhinged she comes across on this forum.

Again: procreation is the easy part.
What follows procreation is what causes all the grief.


Well, there is grief...and there is joy, and it seems that in this world one cannot take one without the other. It is interesting that you see only grief, but no joy...why?

December 24, 2007 1:48 AM  
Anonymous grantdale said...

Don't act the idiot Orin.

You know exactly what we mean, but you chose to split hairs and play games.

Both something easier than altering your prejudices, I dare say?

At a time of year such as this, surrounded by family as we are, your frightened nonsense seems more silly than it normally does.

Good will to all men and all... it's really difficult to feel other than sorry -- and hopeful -- for you. May the new year bring you wisdom to match your morality.

December 25, 2007 10:38 AM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

grantdale fulminates,

Don't act the idiot Orin.

You know exactly what we mean, but you chose to split hairs and play games.


I use words like a mechanic uses tools, so I choose my words carefully. Generally speaking when someone says they don't want to split hairs and play games it means they have run out of arguments.

Both something easier than altering your prejudices, I dare say?

If by prejudices you mean that children have either a father and a mother, or at least two responsible adults to care for and protect them, then yes. It would likely have been better for Zoe Garcia if she had had a lesbian or gay couple as parents. Now, exactly how is that sentiment "prejudice"?

At a time of year such as this, surrounded by family as we are, your frightened nonsense seems more silly than it normally does.

Since all I can read are words, all I read here are insults - a poor substitute for an argument. Make an argument, supported by reason and I might have something to reply to here...

Good will to all men and all... it's really difficult to feel other than sorry -- and hopeful -- for you.

Spare me...feel sorry for Zoe Garcia and her mother.

May the new year bring you wisdom to match your morality.

It is wisdom that each child have parents (plural) that put the health and safety of that child first. Had Zoe Garcia's mother done just that (rather than having SIX children by FOUR different men, none of which she is married to at present), Zoe would likely still be alive. If this makes me prejudice, foolish, stupid or an idiot, then so be it.

December 27, 2007 11:59 AM  

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