Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Sex ed survives another day, local control unharmed

I felt like I gained nothing from the the Wichita Eagle's story on yesterday's Board meeting. It barely touches on what the Board did or what it might do. As Diane observes, it and the Kansas City Star's story both lack context, not just of the public policy effects of sex ed, but also the scientific background showing more pregnancy and STD transmission among students of abstinence-only programs. This isn't just a discussion in principle, there are real data and it behooves a reporter to mention that.

Both stories revealed that the conservatives on the Board of Education are, and I say this after careful consideration, morons.
We've reported that Kathy Martin had proposed putting abstinence-only education as a requirement for school accreditation. And that is what everyone else reported, too.

But the Kansas City Star's report indicates that she may not have meant it, or even understood what she meant. Yesterday, "Martin said she just wants Kansas schools to present the facts. She said she would leave it up to local districts to choose whether to talk about more controversial topics such as contraceptives, homosexuality or masturbation." Since that's how things are already, the audience was confused, as were other Board members. Not the exceptionally non-moronic Sue Gamble (an exception who proves the rule), who said "At this point I’m highly confused."

Ken Willard, who is from the moronic faction, proposed a requirement that schools teach about abstinence and the risks of extramarital sex. Since most (all?) schools already do that (if they discuss sex at all) it's fairly silly to impose that as a requirement.

Willard commented that "If schools are doing that, then great." Yeah, great. What would really be great is knowing what's taught before proposing rules that would interfere with it. Wading into issues they don't understand without adequate information is what makes this gang morons. Jack Wempe (D) and Donna Viola (R) are running against Willard.

Due to the confusion about what, exactly, was being discussed, the Board agreed to discuss the issue next month.

Chairman (and Kansas Kangaroo Court chief judge) Steve Abrams commented that

“We need to have an understanding of exactly what we’re discussing.”
Too bad they didn't think of that beforehand.

On a sidenote of media criticism, this paragraph from the Star's story bugs me:
The difference between the two groups seems to be the degree to which sex ed stresses abstinence. Abstinence-only sex education would talk about contraceptives in relation to their flaws and rates of failure; abstinence-plus classes would include information about the proper use of contraceptives.
Both approaches stress abstinence. One gives children accurate information, the other keeps information away. As far as abstinence, all approaches give the same information.