Thursday, March 12, 2009

Newsweek Nails Abstinence-Only Education

Nice piece published this week in Newsweek, written by Anna Quinlan.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that there is a deep schism in this country, a schism between those many Americans who support comprehensive sex education in the schools and an equal number who believe that only abstinence should be taught, between those who want teenagers to be told about masturbation and HIV prevention and the like, and those who believe they mostly need to hear that true love waits.

It is one of those universally acknowledged truths that happen to be utterly false.

The poll results are astonishing. While respondents in some surveys are divided over whether more emphasis should be on contraception or on abstinence, nearly 90 percent of those sampled in several recent polls support the notion of sex ed in schools. I'm not sure that many people would agree about teaching long division.

But none of this is what you would hear if you put your ear to the ground in Washington, D.C. In yet another example of how things can go horribly awry within that zone of magical thinking, Congress has poured $1.5 billion into what is essentially anti-sex ed, abstinence-only programs, despite the following facts:

1: They don't work. A study conducted for the Department of Health and Human Services during the last Bush administration showed that teenagers who took abstinence-only classes were just as likely to have sex as those who didn't.

2: They're actually counterproductive. Other studies have shown that adolescents in abstinence-only programs were less likely to use contraception, perhaps because those programs emphasize only the failure rates of even the best methods.

3: Everyone understands this. A growing number of states are turning down federal funds for abstinence-only education. Yes, that's right: states are being offered money and saying no. (I wanted to write that in capital letters but restrained myself.) Texas leads the nation in spending for abstinence-only programs. It also has one of the highest teen birthrates in the country. Those two sentences together sound like the basis for a logic question on the SAT, but a really easy one. Let’s Talk About Sex -- Congress loves abstinence-only programs so much it has thrown big bucks at them. The public? It's got better ideas.

Oh man, this lady is giving it to them with both barrels.

I like her calling it "anti-sex-ed," that is a good term for it. Nobody wants that junk, but for some reason the government feels like it has to put out money for it. One and a half billion bucks -- that is a lot of money! And for what?
President Obama's budget seems to reflect the sentiment of most Americans, promising to "stress the importance of abstinence while providing medically accurate and age-appropriate information to youth who have already become sexually active." In other words, we can indeed walk and chew gum. But not in abstinence-only education, in which students must be taught little more than that married sex is good and unmarried bad. Homosex? Not even an issue. In the human-sexuality curriculum in Utah, for instance, guidelines say teachers cannot "advocate homosexuality," which if I were a teacher would translate as "leave well enough alone." Or well enough for all but the gay kid in the classroom, who is probably wondering how he's going to handle the waiting-for-marriage part, since Utah won't let him get married. The guidelines also forbid discussing "the intricacies of intercourse, sexual stimulation or erotic behavior." I'm not sure what that means, but I do love that word "intricacies." It sounds as though teachers shouldn't teach the Kama Sutra, or Cirque du Soleil.

Heh, this lady is good.

Cirque du Soleil? Well, I guess so.

There is more to this article, she talks about the idea that there are two equal sides to every story, and the role of lobbyists in all this. You really do wonder why they keep committing billions of dollars to something that doesn't work, and which nobody really wants.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You really do wonder why they keep committing billions of dollars to something that doesn't work"

The government also commits billions of dollars to public education in the inner city and it doesn't work. The argument, I think, is that we shouldn't give up on trying to educate these kids.

Why doesn't that apply equally to abstinence education?

And why is it not relevant that comp sex ed also doesn't work?

Personally, I would favor comp sex ed if it weren't taught from a valueless perspective.

"You really do wonder why they keep committing billions of dollars to something that doesn't work"

You also have to wonder why when something does work, like school vouchers in D.C., the Democratic comtrolled Congress wants to eliminate it over the objection of the D.C. mayor and school superintendent.

I think the answer to that is that lobbyists are more important to Democrats than the welfare of inner city children.

March 13, 2009 11:13 AM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

From someone who has taught in DC Public Schools, AnonAnonBigot, I know why the voucher program does not work: parents are not taking responsibility for their child´s actions; they leave it completely up to the schools. That isn´t a very good message to send to a student who will do the same thing with their children someday.

Have you ever stepped foot into a DC Public High School??? Well, I have, and it can be a pretty scary place for everyone. So, instead of running away and leaving the problem behind, educators want to FIX IT but they are going to have to do it without the community´s support since it obviously has better things to do.

Sick!!

March 13, 2009 12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I know why the voucher program does not work: parents are not taking responsibility for their child´s actions; they leave it completely up to the schools"

Actually, the mayor, the school superintendent, the parents, the students and the Washington Post all agree that the D.C. voucher program does work.

"it can be a pretty scary place for everyone"

Exactly. Why should kids be forced to go to these places while incompetent bureaucrats work out their problems?

It is humane for them to have a safe option.

"So, instead of running away and leaving the problem behind, educators want to FIX IT"

Who's trying to prevent them?

I applaud any sincere effort to do so.

March 13, 2009 1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And just whose values, "Anonymous" should a comp sex ed program reflect? Yours?? (Personally, I would favor comp sex ed if it weren't taught from a valueless perspective.)
In Montgomery County it has been shown repeatedly that your values and those of the CRC 7 are NOT what the citizens of this county support. In a democracy, the majority makes the decisions, even though you don't support those decisions.
Sorry, you have made your case before the public and have lost in the past and will continue to lose as long as you advocate the bigoted, religiously value-laden, and fear-based curriculum you have advocated. Your values are the ones that are responsible for the whole Palin family episode...and we all know what a tragedy that has been.
Spare us, please, of the same values here in Montgomery County amd stop hampering the efforts to give our kids a comprehensive sexuality education in the public schools!
Diogenes

March 13, 2009 9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In Montgomery County it has been shown repeatedly that your values and those of the CRC 7 are NOT what the citizens of this county support"

Not true. That's TTF and its co-conspirators are always so afraid of the Democratic process.

March 14, 2009 7:28 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

CRW has filed several lawsuits in MoCo and Maryland and they never won any of them. TTF never filed any lawsuits, ever.

Politicians who support CRW's calls for teaching abstinence-only/heterosexual-only sex education have never won election in MoCo, however, many politicians who support TTF's call for inclusive abstinence based comprehensive sex education now serve on the Board of Education, County Council, and in the House of Delegates.

I think this record makes clear which group fears the Democratic process, and fails at it, repeatedly.

March 14, 2009 6:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually, it doesn't

March 14, 2009 8:22 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Thanks for another clear example of Truthiness - to describe things that a person claims to know intuitively or "from the gut" without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts.

March 15, 2009 11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

no, just fact

CRC/CRG has repeatedly tried to bring their issues to the court of public opinion and the county government and their minions at TTF have sought to block it

something about their cause trascending democracy

all fact

March 15, 2009 7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But of course, "Anonymous", harrassing County Council members in a public forum, screaming lies to the reporters present at this and other displays of "bringing issues before the public", distorting facts and lying in referenda attempts, creating bogus "situations" at a local health spa, and ultimately using the Nazi salute and shouting "heil Hitler" at County Council members are all recognized and acceptable ways to present a position "in the court of public opinion". Right? Wrong!
Obvious ample proof of your contention that you were not allowed to be a part of the democratic process. Right? Wrong!
Here are the facts: Hundreds of thousands of the Council's "minions" here in Montgomery County have repeatedly rejected your radical right wing religionist positions. The Board of Education has rejected your narrowly parochial and dangerous curriculum alterations. The highest Court in Maryland has rejected your spurious legal claims.
When all is said and done, you have simply failed miserably to convince others to accept your odious positions. It appears that you are "slow learners" in recognizing and accepting this.
Diogenes

March 15, 2009 11:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually, Dio, all I've done is post a few comments on an obcsure blog

one of those comments is that TTF engages in an excessive amount of hyperbole

another is that TTF supports democracy only when it supports them

March 16, 2009 7:09 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

one of those comments is that TTF engages in an excessive amount of hyperbole

The shower nuts' website is a paean to hyperbole, all designed to instill fear of trans persons into every resident of this county and beyond.

another is that TTF supports democracy only when it supports them

TTF represents the majority of progressive, tolerant, inclusive citizens of Montgomery County. Every position TTF has held on sex education and non-discrimination law has been upheld by the courts and the majority of good citizens of this county.

And another thing for Bradley, Janice and their 40 wing nut friends. After the 2000 election, after 8 years of a Democratic President, when the economy was strong and we were at peace and the Supreme Court decided the loser of the popular vote should be President, we never heard any calls by Democrats for armed revolution like you nuts are doing. We sucked it up and when crisis came, we all pulled together to support the President to overcome the crisis. We all wanted him to succeed and supported him.

After eight years of the GOP holding power, including six years of absolute power, you all behaved badly and trashed the economy and America's reputation. Now, a clear majority of your fellow citizens have spoken and said it is time to change course away from greed for the top to fairness for all. You could choose to be good American citizens and help shape that change but you seem to prefer sabotage instead.

You guys lost a fair and square election because when the GOP held absolute power, it behaved absolutely corruptly. Suck it up and either continue to be good citizens of this great nation or go find a theocracy that suits you.

Like you gung-ho types used to tell us liberals -- America: Love it or leave it

March 16, 2009 9:56 AM  
Blogger Emproph said...

Sociopathanon: “The government also commits billions of dollars to public education in the inner city and it doesn't work.”

Maybe if that were true, those programs would work (see below).

“The argument, I think, is that we shouldn't give up on trying to educate these kids. Why doesn't that apply equally to abstinence education?”

Because teaching ignorance is not education. In fact, to call abstinence only education, education, is to teach that there is no difference between ignorance and education. Just like teaching Intelligent Design in science class is to teach that there is no difference between religion and science.

“And why is it not relevant that comp sex ed also doesn't work?”

So you admit that abstinence only “education” doesn’t work, yet also believe “we shouldn't give up on trying to educate these kids” with it. I suppose that would also fall under the category of “there’s no difference between the two.”

Just Say Don’t Know: Sexuality Education in Texas Public Schools:

“Texas has long been held up as the poster child for abstinence-only education. In fact, Texas consistently leads the nation by a wide margin in federal abstinence education dollars - more than 18 million in 2007 alone.

A new report from the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund … conclusively demonstrates that Texas is failing families and students when it comes to sexuality education. Classrooms are perpetuating a “conspiracy of silence” that robs young people of the reliable information they need to make responsible life decisions. Even worse, the information the students do receive about sexuality and health is often grossly distorted or simply wrong.”


For those of you who do understand the difference between ignorance and actual learning, there is a critique of the study here.

“lobbyists are more important to Democrats than the welfare of inner city children.”

That’s rich.: “Then came Tom DeLay’s K Street Project in 1995, purging Democratic lobbyists while raising lots of Republican cash. The number of lobbyists exploded from 9,000 to 34,000, with a similar increase in earmarks.

In order to get 3 senators on board to pass the stimulus bill, Democrats foolishly caved to Republican demands:

--Eliminated: Head Start, Education for the Disadvantaged, School improvement, Child Nutrition, Firefighters, Transportation Security Administration, Coast Guard, Prisons, COPS Hiring, Violence Against Women, NASA, NSF, Western Area Power Administration, CDC, Food Stamps
--Reduced: Public Transit $3.4 billion, School Construction $60 billion
--Increased: Defense operations and procurement, STAG Grants, Brownfields, Additional transportation funding

All typical of Republican “moral values” over the past 8 years. I remember watching Marsha Blackburn (R TN) on the House floor arguing that cutting food stamps for the poor was doing them a favor by keeping “big government” out of their lives. And all the while conservative “Christians” gleefully championed sadistic policies like hers.

“Personally, I would favor comp sex ed if it weren't taught from a valueless perspective.”

Valueless: inconsequential, worthless, insignificant, paltry, miserable, useless. Congratulations, you’ve just described abstinence only “education.”

“TTF and its co-conspirators are always so afraid of the Democratic process.”

Actually we’re afraid of the damaging effects of fraudulent tactics when it comes to the democratic process. There’s a difference. When the courts rightfully refuse to bow to your nefarious will, you dupe the public into overriding them and then falsely proclaim it to be the “will of the people.” As supremacists at heart, you and your ilk despise the democratic process.

As the saying goes, “Patriotism, the last refuge of scoundrels.” Conservative Christianity embodies that sentiment.

March 17, 2009 12:04 AM  
Blogger clark dainal said...

Watch free full episodes, online videos, clips and web exclusives at
Married Life Sex Blog

January 15, 2015 9:51 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home