Friday, July 01, 2005

Call me naive ...

... but when did it become alright for teachers to lie to kids?

When politics and education intersect, we have some interesting issues arise.

I'm reading this (PDF, sorry) report on the abstinence-is-the-one-true-path sex education curricula. Now I appreciate we often gloss over details - we simplify for clarity. We have Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny. But are these the same as deliberately promoting false/dangerous information in order to put forward a religious agenda? And why are MY tax dollars supporting this crap?

Yes, I'm overstating the case a bit. All these programs promote abstinence and if the students follow the advice, they'll be safe. But if they stray, they could die from a lack of knowledge and an abundance of mis-information.

These programs downplay the importance and effectiveness of safe-sex. "It's not all that safe" leads, inevitably, to "why bother if it's not going to work anyway." I saw a clip from 60 Minutes wherein the medical expert pointed out that all benefit from the abstinence programs evaporates on the first exposure to reality, since the students who've been fed this cark have no basis upon which to make any kind of reasonable decisions.

The logical line here seems to be "If we keep them stupid, we can keep them scared. If we can keep them scared, we can convince them that only marriage can keep them safe. And of course, once they're married, they'll breed like rabbits ..."

It's ok to kill them for not believing? When did *that* become a "Family Value"...?

Ok. So .. It's all a numbers game, right? ONLY about 1/3 of 1% of the people in the US carry HIV. That's only slightly more than people who are blind. What're the chances that you'd pick one of them? And as far as pregnancy goes, well, that's only gonna mess up the girls ... So, the Holy Fathers here seem to think that's ok. Everything else we can cure with a pill, or a shot, right?

Does this seem troubling to anybody else? As a father of two rather high-spirited pre-teens, I gotta say, this has me seeing red.


Nancy McKeand said...

Nate, I finally took time this morning to read a big chunk of the report. It was so disgusting that I had to check to see if it was legit and, much to my dismay, it seems to be.

As a teacher, I don't know how I could present those curricula to students. But I wonder if they would allow people like me or you to do it anyway. Most likely, only "true believers" are qulaified for the job.

If my children were younger, it would scare me a bunch. My grandchildren are still very young. All I can do is hope things improve before they would be exposed to garbage like that.

I can fully accept abstinence as being the best policy for teens, but it has to be an informed choice, and they have to know how to deal with the issues if/when they become real for them. I think we are going to see more teen pregnancies not fewer.

Nathan Lowell said...

The US is in a very bad way.

But I'm at a loss as to what to do about it.

Honest elections haven't happened in so long I'm not sure I know when the last one might have been. As long as the powers that be are able to enforce a degradation of education in the name of "accountability" they'll be able to keep the people stupid and continue to erode the rights granted in that quaint ole Constitution.

My two girls are 7 and 10. I fear for their future greatly.