Day 90 Question 90:
What is your take/opinion on sex education/contraception education in schools?
I am STILL reading the book Half the Sky. It never usually takes me this long to get through a book but for the last month I have been going non-stop. I pulled three doubles this past week and when I finally had a little free time it was spent working out or sleeping. This book is phenomenal though. The information contained within it has really given me perspective on my own life as well as the lives the girls/women all over the world lead.
I spent last Easter Sunday with my parents. When I left their house, on my drive home I realized how different my dad and I are. We have a great relationship and I love listening to how passionate he gets about certain issues and how he stands up for what he believes in but it hit me hard that day that we really don’t stand on the same ground when it comes to several issues. I realized that all of my life I conformed to his values because he is my dad and it seemed like the right thing to do but one day I realized that there were many things that I felt very differently about than him. I also realized there is a HUGE generation gap between us. I am 33 and he will be 74 on May 1st. Society has changed so much and change is something my dad doesn’t take quite well. He is not a big fan of women’s lib…..he steers so far to the right. I sit pretty much right in the middle. There are some issues I agree with the Republican take on and others that I agree with the Democrats. I still think it is crazy how divided this country can be sometimes.
I am babbling on about all of this because in the book Half the Sky, one of the chapters discusses birth control. In many countries birth control is not even an option or comes in very limited supply. I started to reflect back on when I was working for a youth service organization. One of my main job responsibilities was to teach Pregnancy Prevention and STD Education. It was not an easy subject to talk about but the hardest part was only being allowed to “preach” ABSTINENCE ONLY! I was not allowed to discuss contraception or birth control with the students. The word condom could not even pass my lips. Maybe I am one of these “new age kids” but come on….WAKE UP….kids are having sex younger and younger nowadays. Why would we not educate them to be safe? Why would we not remind them of the dangers of unprotected sex? I have heard that people think by educating young people about sex that we are encouraging them to have sex. Again, WAKE UP AND SMELL THE ROSES….a lot of them already are. While working for this organization we put together a HUGE youth day that had booths and activities for youth/teens. There was food and we had brought in a guest speaker from MTV made. All of the youth could enter their names in a drawing to win a brand new laptop…they had to visit every booth and get a sticker in order to be part of the drawing. When the time finally came for a drawing, a young lady’s name was pulled out of the bowl and wouldn’t you know that the winner of the laptop was a 17 year old junior that was 8 ½ months pregnant. I had spoken to the girl prior to the drawing and sadly, this girl was unsure of who the father was. What kind of message are we sending these kids if we are not teaching them the hard, cold facts? We have become this country that must be so “politically correct” about everything and walk on eggshells to make sure that we don’t say one thing out of line that we are slowing ruining our children. Maybe those are harsh words but in my opinion they are true. No 16 or 17 year old girl is prepared to be a mother. Hell, I am 33 years old and I don’t even know if I am prepared. This is 2012, not 1950. Dates consist of “makeout” parties where teens are being dared to have sex or perform in some sort of sexual activity. When I was working with a class of 12-14 year olds, I did an anonymous survey and I found that 11 out of the 13 students had participated in some form of sexual activity. THESE ARE 7TH AND 8TH GRADERS!!! I used the word gynecologist in class and one girl had no idea what that was but she could potentially be one of the students taking part in sexual activity.
I think it is crucial for us to educate our children. No I am not a parent but I have always believed that it takes a village to raise a child and I think it is time to give of the whole naïve act and the stop being so ignorant.
I have read so much on sex education in schools and the statistics of teen pregnancies and STD rates just blew me away. I have always been an advocate of honest teaching…and by honest teaching I mean educating young people on what is REALLY going on in the world. Why are we candy coating everything for them and protecting them from ever being hurt. Of course we don’t want our kids to get hurt but they need to be able to take care of themselves. We have made it so kids rely on adults to do everything for them and if they don’t get their way they throw a fit (trust me I used to be one of those kids). The more we smother our kids and shelter them from the outside world the more damage we are doing. Have you ever thought maybe this is the reason that so many people are on medication for anxiety or depression or are participating in regularly therapy sessions. If we don’t teach them the truth, someone else with and that someone else might not teach them the right things. I wanted to share an article I found very interesting…one thing that just jumped off the page at me was “The bill also allow schools to skip sex education entirely.” I am literally sitting here shaking my head in disbelief. Have we really become a country of people that could be that ignorant???? The more we shelter them the more they rebel. If we don’t teach them the media will….and with what I have seen in the media…I don’t know how positive that outcome would be. Here is the article:
Sex Education Update: The Good, the Bad, and Utah
Several states are passing laws that would prevent teaching sex education in the classroom.
It seems that some conservative legislators have declared open season on reproductive health lately (contraception and ultrasounds and sluts, oh my!). And now, they’re training their sights on the classroom.
The bad news first:
Utah lawmakers recently passed legislation that amounts to a gag rule on teaching sex education. Teachers in public schools would be barred from teaching about contraception, homosexuality, or anything else about sex—other than to say that teens shouldn’t have it before marriage.
If the bill becomes law, which looks likely, Utah would become the first state to ban the practice of teaching contraception as a means of preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
The bill would also allow schools to skip sex education entirely. This is likely a terrible idea, given a recent Guttmacher Institute study that showed more teens who received no formal sex education had sex before the age of 20 than their educated peers.
Even abstinence-only education may be better than no education at all, the study authors said, because such programs often discuss contraception if only to emphasize their failure rates. Yet other research has shown abstinence-only programs to have no statistically significant effect on teen sexual activity.
Rep. Bill Wright, who sponsored the Utah bill, offered a strongly negative opinion on sex education.
“Why don’t we just be honest with them upfront that sex outside marriage is devastating?” he said.
But when about 95 percent of Americans have pre-marital sex, withholding information from teenagers on how to avoid life-changing consequences that can come with sexual activity seems like the height of dishonesty.
And Wisconsin legislators seem eager to join Utah’s educational irresponsibility club. There, Gov. Scott Walker is poised to sign legislation that would emphasize abstinence-only sex education and remove requirements to teach about contraception.
Now, some good news:
Fourth and fifth graders in Muskegon, Mich. public schools will learn about homosexuality and transgender issues as well as how sexual intercourse works. (The latter is reserved for fifth graders, though fourth graders will learn about sperm and eggs.)
“Many kids, the data show us, become sexually active in fifth, sixth grade,” said Isabel Blake-Evans, the district’s executive director of secondary education. “The whole premise behind this is to keep kids safe.”
The information about homosexuality and transgender issues will be used as part of diversity and anti-bullying instruction—hopefully making life a little easier for queer youth in Michigan.
Of course, Fox News’s ever-critical culture warriors didn’t take kindly to this news. Gretchen Carlson said that parents’ “power is being usurped by the school district” on these so-called “cultural issues.”
There’s great news for young adults, too: The Colorado Department of Public Health has started a program called BeforePlay, which encourages open discussion of pre-marital sex to help destigmatize it and reduce unintended pregnancy.
As Jezebel put it: “Wow, a government program that actually responds to pressing sex ed issues in a rational, accessible, non-preachy way!”
If other states take Colorado’s cue, the sexual health of young Americans might stand a fighting chance against some of these conservative attacks.
My dad is a conservative through and through. I am not sure of his take on sex education in schools but I know he is Pro-Life all the way. I, myself, don’t really like talking about the topic of abortion because it causes too much controversy but what I am always thinking about is that if young people were educated when it comes to sexual activity, contraception, birth control and STDs then there is a VERY good chance that we would see a significant drop in abortions and unwanted pregnancy. It is terrifying to think about the number of girls that go to shady places to get these procedures done by some quack too. Studies show that the human brain does not fully mature until around the age of 26 (I think it took my brain a little longer). I believe we are all pre-wired to make stupid mistakes and make bad decisions but I also think that education is the key to preventing those bad decisions.
I chose this topic because it is important to me. I am not a mother and who knows if I ever will be but I have always sworn that I would always be honest with my children. I will love them with every part of my being but I must also show them what the world is really like…I think it is so vital to be honest. I would hope in teaching my kids this way of thinking and letting them know that I am trying to make a difference that they will also want to pass on the same message. In a way it is Paying It Forward.
I expect ridicule and I expect some negativity with this topic and as usual I welcome it with open arms. Who knows, somebodies wisdom might just change my way of thinking. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts. :0) I send out all of my life and the hope for you to have an amazing day!
Quite the post! Don’t get me started on this issue. The idea of banning books and ignoring science infuriates me. Ideas should be exposed to the light of day. Those that are worthy and reasonable and have merit will flourish while those that are idiotic and ridiculous will be pushed aside. Open discussion should be encouraged.
Parents who fear their child will be “corrupted” by an idea in a book are really in fear that the the values they have tried to instill in their child will not stand up to the light of day. The best way to affirm an idea is to expose it to debate and discourse. If it is worthy of belief, it will stand on its own. If not, then it was a bad idea to begin with.
Sex education is a must, both in school and at home!
For Christian, Sex outside marriage,birth control and abortion are unacceptable. Most of conservative American are christian I think. So to have education system that teach teenagers about how to have safe sex is beyond their imagination. Trust me. You can’t change their mind if they are a strong christian. They already chose their path and the one thing that hold their thought is their belief in God and in God alone they trust. Not any logical reasons, statics and facts.
If I think like a christian, I won’t allow any safe sex education since it contradict to bible. But to teach about what sex is and how can it lead to unwanted pregnancy and sex diseases is not a harmful thing at all. Even if I force myself to think as a conservative christian, I don’t see anything wrong to have sex education in school except instead of teaching them how to have safe sex, I must encourage them to avoid having sex until they are married though.
In my own opinion, United State is the land of liberty. People have different background, culture and religion. Everyone should respect each other and that means any state’s law should be separated from religion belief. Citizens have their right to have sex, so they have their right to be well educated to protect themselves with safe sex.
I love sex education!
To me, abstinence-only education seems like saying “The best way to prevent being hurt in a motorcycle crash is to not ride a motorcycle. If you wear a helmet, it will just be giving them permission to crash their motorcycles”.
This kind of thinking is counterproductive and dangerous, all under the guise of “religious liberty”.
Honestly? The problem is the parents. And I say this AS a parent. I think kids definately need to be taught, but not in the schools…. because I want my daughter to hear my own opinion on it (and I don’t even mean just sex – I think politics, religion,all sorts of topics that can be controversial) not some teacher’s who may be (in my opinion at least) way off-base. I do teach my daughter, we have very honest and open talks about all this stuff… unfortunately, a lot of parents – maybe most? – don’t. They defer to the schools, (or the media) and that just leaves it wide open to teach our kids in a way that might be contrary to our beliefs. Which leads me to another thought… maybe if parents were more concerned and involved, we wouldn’t have so many children looking to fulfill their need for love in unhealthy ways? Just my two cents….
Really nice topic. Well this is my take on things… Generally speaking, many unwarrented decisions and faults arises from ignorance and stupidity. For many people, it is human nature that we explore the unknown or to test the hyperthetical. So who can really blame the younger generation for wanting to try things which to them may seem new and exciting without proper education.
From my point of view, I don’t believe I am encouraging them, but everyone needs to understand the truths and the consequences. Let them know that they take full responibility of the choices they make, it is their decision, their choice… and not someone else’s. Too often, when a problem arises, people are always blaming others for their own problems. You hear things like, ‘It’s the govenment’s fault’, or ‘it’s societies fault’, or ‘it’s your fault’…. it is never their own fault because they don’t take any responsibilies for their OWN actions. This is why education is important. Of course no parent willingly let their young’ins go through difficulties and problems of life, but if they’re not willing to face the music and will accept everything being sugar-coated, they will not grow up from being immature.
This in-turn will cause further generations of misconceptions (pun-intended). It should be like this… if you know that your kids will need to be driving the car everyday to work for the rest of thier working lives, would you prefer to teach them everything that there is to know about everyday driving in the city and suburban areas, or would you rather have them completely oblivious to the culture of driving and when they get to that pure, ripe, working age, you give them the key of acknowledgement and say, ‘good luck and have fun.’ ???
What an interesting post! It scares me to think that we are still in a culture that demands the total obedience to an outdated way of thinking. We are controlled by fear and an interpretation of the Bible that is skewed to whatever organization wants. Sex is as natural as breathing and will always be a part of human development. To NOT educate our young people is a travesty and should be opposed at any cost. We can’t afford to let this happen. In my opinion we’re going backwards not forwards.
sex education “should” be taught by parents. however, there are too many parents who are ignoring it.
breakfast “should” be had at home. however, there are too many parents who don’t provide it because they leave for work before the kids, or they can’t afford it.
in both cases, schools are doing things that kids need, that parents are not providing, and the school is thinking, “well, we know this is a parent’s job, but they’re not doing it, so what else should we do?”
and of course i don’t mean ALL parents.
abstinence is silly. it’s ignoring the sun, not wearing sunscreen, not knowing you’re going to get toasted, and getting toasted. give the kids the damn sunscreen!
Thank you for following my blog!
I’m an education reporter, and recently I wrote about how several suburban Chicago school districts approach sex education. You can read that here: http://emmillerwrites.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/health-ed-gets-fresh-look-new-standards-in-schools-sun-times-media/
The most important piece of sex education, one teacher pointed out, and I agree, is parental involvement. That includes if a parent in uncomfortable about his or her child learning about sex in a school environment, they can ask the schools to allow the student to sit out that day. Or they can talk about it at home first. They are given a heads-up at the start of the school year it will be addressed.
I received an abstinence-only education, and it worked out fine for me. But I don’t have a problem with it being taught in schools, either. I just think it should be talked about at home first.
I think it’s ignorant and irresponsible NOT to educate children about safety and how their body works… Then again, sex Ed is only ONE of many things kids should be taught, so I really can’t see why it’s such an issue. Shouldn’t we be more concerned about what they’re Not being taught sufficiently (ie everything)? Lol
I’m with you on this one Diane. The ideal would be that children learned about sex and sexuality at home from compassionate parents, but unfortunately that is not the norm. I wish someone had taught me about safe sex when I was a young girl. It was strictly taboo though so I learned about it behind the shed and in the back seat of a car.
I am totally for any and all education that teaches safe health practices, prevents teen pregnancies, prevents violence and abusive sexual acts, and teaches responsibility and self-control and thoughtful decision making, no matter whether it is about sexual matters or the environment or non-renewable fuels or WHATEVER! As a farm child, I required to introduction to the act of procreation–it went on all around me. Since my parents practiced responsible stewardship of the animals and the land, accompanied by healthy and safe habits for all involved, I really find myself amazed at all this uproar over sex education in the public schools.