August 17, 2006
Resistance is futile
And as we continue superhero-cartoon week… why is this not surprising?
An Ohio school board is expanding sex education following the revelation that 13 percent of one high school’s female students were pregnant last year.
There were 490 female students at Timken High School in 2005, and 65 were pregnant, WEWS-TV in Cleveland reported.
The new Canton school board program promotes abstinence but also will teach students who decide to have sex how to do so responsibly, bringing the city school district’s health curriculum in line with national standards.
The board made the changes in a vote at its regular meeting Monday.
The Rev. David Morgan served on a committee that developed the lesson plans. He said the new curriculum moves beyond the “Just Say No” approach.
Health textbooks, older than some students, will be replaced.
“If we had math books from 1988, reading books from 1988, as a parent, I would be furious,” said Patty Rafailedes, a physical education teacher.
The books aren’t just old; they’re inaccurate and dishonest, according to a 2005 study by Dr. Scott Frank, of Case Western Reserve University:
Ohio’s abstinence-until-marriage curricula contain false or misleading information about abortion and contraceptives and do not portray the risks related to sexual activity in a scientifically accurate matter, according to a leading public health researcher at Case Western Reserve University.
Dr. Frank’s 29-page report […] also said that abstinence-until-marriage programs, aimed at middle school and high school students, perpetuate destructive gender stereotypes, provide little guidance for gays and aren’t necessarily being taught by trained health educators.
… The report found that some abstinence-until-marriage programs:
— Overstate the failure rates of condom use, blame contraceptives for poor mental health among youths and erroneously suggest that birth control pills will increase a girl’s future chances of infertility.
— Misrepresent religious conviction as scientific fact. One program urges teens to “follow God’s plan for purity,” while another recommends books that are religious in nature.
— Contain inaccurate or misleading information about the transmission or detection of sexual diseases. One curriculum described HIV as a virus that can remain undetected either by test or physical symptoms for six months to 10 years, when in fact most antibodies are present within two to eight weeks after exposure. The curriculum also suggested incorrectly that HIV can be transmitted through tears and open-mouth kissing.
In other words, pretty much as expected from a state whose Department of Education doesn’t even require schools to provide sex education.
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