Friday, July 27, 2007

Texas Board of Education President Says Access To Information No Good

Texas law requires school districts to emphasize abstinence in sex education classes. Texas also had the nation's highest birth rate among teenagers ages 15 to 19 in 2004 [63 births per 1,000 teens vs. 41 births per 1,000 teens average rate nationally].

When asked about the possibility that Texas' emphasis on abstinence in sex education contributes to the state's relatively high numbers, Don McLeroy, president of the State Board of Education, had this to say:

"The idea that just giving them a lot of information is going to solve it, I think, is kind of naive," he said. "Certainly, it's more of a societal problem than it is a school problem."


When the president of the State Board of Education tells you access to information isn't all that's cracked up to, you naive sorts better take note.

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3 Comments:

At 2:33 PM, Anonymous Tom @Thoughtsic.com said...

Your last line hit the nail on the head. Wonderful post!

 
At 4:54 PM, Blogger Ed Darrell said...

The problem isn't just the withholding of information -- the more serious problem is that most of the "abstinence-only" programs in Texas peddle information about birth control that, if given by a medical professional, would be malpractice.

I have heard, in these presentations in two different districts, that condoms fail about 50% of the time (the condoms themselves actually fail about 2% of the time); and I have heard as good information that viruses of all sorts "leak through" condoms (they don't, about 99.9% of the time, unless one pokes a big hole in the condom first).

Consequently, kids in my classes have told me that they understand there is no such thing as safe contraception, so they may as well play roulette and have sex unprotected.

Failing to give kids information is one thing; making sure they get the wrong information is quite another.

 
At 7:47 PM, Blogger ema said...

Tom,

Thank you.

Ed,

Very interesting. It hadn't occurred to me that the students are actively misinformed; I thought the information just wasn't given to them. [From what I read about the funding for CBAE programs, the government has a set of guidelines--discussing any other methods of contraception is prohibited--that must be followed in order to receive funding.]

I also assumed that teachers must insure, and are responsible for, the accuracy of their educational material. Aren't there any safeguards in place? Can teachers just tell their students that condoms fail about 50% of the time or that, say, the prostate gland is part of the female repro system, without anybody questioning their professional competence?

In any case, you're right. That's a whole new level of "wrong".

...kids in my classes have told me that they understand there is no such thing as safe contraception, so they may as well play roulette and have sex unprotected.

It must be difficult (not to mention discouraging) having to deal with the aftermath.

 

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