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Texans Just Say Don’t Know

Posted by Condomologist on March 2, 2009

One of the big stories in sexual health this past week comes out of Texas and a report at Texas State University, funded by the Texas Freedom Network, looking at the state of sexual health education in Texas.  It’s downright disgraceful, espcially considering Texas has the third highest rate of teen pregnancy in the country. Fortunately, voices in the Texas media are speaking out and saying enough is enough.  The irony of the widespread miseducation in Texas schools, which amounts to 96% of school districts either not teaching anything at all or preaching abstinence, is that the Texas Department of State Health Services recognizes the need to be more comprehensive in its approach. That, along with parents overwhelmingly favoring comprehensive sex ed across the country — including Texas, where 90% of parents said in 2004 that they support “teaching students with age-appropriate, medically accurate sex information that includes information on abstinence, birth control, and prevention of sexually transmitted disease” — and one wonders how our democracy is failing us on such a large scale. Go ahead, read just the first 10-15 pages of the exhaustive report, and you’ll find principals scared to teach sex ed for fear of being fired, superintendents who think teaching sex ed will encourage more sex, school districts that simply skip the chapter on sex ed, and one superintendent who said, “[We are] a small school district with 301 students in PK to 12. Most of these kids live on a farm or have animals they feed and care for. They get a pretty good sex education from their animals.” I’m not sure what’s better, teachers striking the fear of God into students if they have sex and misquoting condom failure rates or little kids learning about sex from watching horses getting it on. 


3 Responses to “Texans Just Say Don’t Know”

  1. […] on our shoulders because we can only reach so many people in a political climate — such as Texas, for example — where teenagers are unreachable because schools won’t allow us to […]

  2. Dare said

    Ok, this report describes totally outrageous and egregious distortions being taught to our children, but I would like to point out that this is not the first time we’ve pointed out the ridiculousness of these curricula. Henry Waxman commissioned a report that took us down this road in 2004. As far as I know it got us nowhere because the politics of this are beyond reason anyway.
    Another thing I have to point out is that the authors of the Texas report have been somewhat incendiary for their part, and again (like many other sources) made assumptions without doing the research (imho). On page 24 of the full report and again in the executive summary they point to a quote from Wonderful Days- “If a woman is dry, the sperm will die. If a woman is wet, a baby she may get!” and assume it refers to a myth about female lubrication and fertility. Although I’ve never looked at the Wonderful Days curriculum I would be willing to bet ten bucks that they are actually trying to describe the Two-Day method of natural family planning (same developers as Cycle Beads- which are actually distributed by some PP and are gaining respect.) It’s a crude way to approach describing that method, but I have to assume that if I have a doubt about what the quote means, other people who were passably familiar with modern methods of NFP would also have doubts and wouldn’t publish that quote the way they presented it. I have to assume, therefore, that the Texas Freedom Network isn’t aware of the Two-Day method. If that’s true, it’s completely unacceptable.
    My point is not to cast aspersions on anything the Texas Freedom Network is saying because I think for the most part it’s completed valid and an important contribution to a case against continuing to fund this stuff, but there’s a bigger issue of on the ground politics here.
    I fear this speaks to a complete failure to actually communicate with the other side respectfully because we feel so betrayed and frightened by what they’re doing we can’t approach it with an open mind. Which is the same way superintendents in Texas deal with our point of view. And I believe that is part of the reason reports like this are destined ultimately to have no impact whatsoever.

    • Jonathan said

      hey, i concur. there’s a need to be assertive and informative, but not inflammatory. it goes back to some of what i said about the abortion debate: while some people can’t be reasoned with, many can be. there’s a time to be strong and forceful, but other times one needs to be delicate to effect change. this is one reason that for all his shortcomings as a politician, i have great optimism that obama can be effective in framing these debates in ways that create compromise. that, after all, more than anything is a president’s job: to cheerlead in such a way that others begin to believe in his message and do the grunt work to push it forward. dare, we both know that very little suprises us when it comes to the ignorance of health professionals on matters they’re paid to know about.

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