Abstinence, lies and videotape

Representative Henry Waxman issued a report today on the most popular curricula used by federally funded abstinence education programs.  He’s on the Government Reform committee, which gives him a nice bully pulpit for things like this. The findings were quite horrifying — 11 of the 13 curricula studied included blatantly false statements about things like the effectiveness of condoms at preventing STDs, the long-term health consequences of abortion, the means by which HIV can be transmitted.

One of my coworkers came into my office this morning holding the Washington Post article on the report and asking if I had seen it.  Her older son is in middle school, and she had just recently received the notice from the school informing her of her option to excuse her child from the abstinence component of the "family life" class they offer.  She’s now planning on asking the principal if she can see the curriculum that they’re using.

Rana commented on Pharyngula’s post about the report that maybe this is a subtle strategy to make liberals more open to homeschooling and vouchers.  I admit, my reaction to conservative moans about schools teaching "the wrong values" has always been to think that if you’re depending on schools to teach your child values, you’re already in trouble.  And it’s still true, while I’d be pissed off to learn that the local school was teaching this sort of bs, I’d hope that I’d have provided my children with enough real information that they wouldn’t be put at risk by this stupidity.  With the right sort of child (one who enjoys challenging authority and doesn’t mind sticking out a bit), I could imagine not exempting my kid from such a class, but arming him with real statistics, so he could keep raising his hand and being a pain in the butt.

I also want to point out that it was issues like this (on the other side) that lead to the creation of the Christian Coalition as an effective political force.  So, go find out if your local school district is using one of these awful curricula. If it is, write a letter of complaint to the principal and the school board.  And if they don’t do anything about it, find someone to run against them for the school board.  Or do it yourself.

One Response to “Abstinence, lies and videotape”

  1. Carla Says:

    I posted about this issue on my blog yesterday (warning, shameless plug approacheth):
    What’s truely awful here is that so much of this is demonstrably false AND our tax dollars are footing the bill.

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