Common Sense on Sex Education

Texans have plenty of it. Common sense, that is. Not, unfortunately, sex education.

The results of the TFN Education Fund’s statewide survey we released yesterday showed that 80 percent of likely voters in Texas agree that high school classes on sex education should teach “about contraception, such as condoms and other birth control, along with abstinence.” Yet last year’s comprehensive TFNEF report revealed that more than 9 in 10 public school districts in Texas teach abstinence-only or nothing at all about sex education. And that’s in a state with one of the nation’s highest teen birth rates (and the state with the highest rate of multiple births to teens).

Texans clearly understand that keeping young people ignorant is a foolish and dangerous approach to sex education. And the results of our statewide survey shows that support for comprehensive, medically accurate and evidence-based sex education is strong regardless of political beliefs, religious affiliation, education and race. Some details:

  • 77 percent of Protestants, 82 percent of Roman Catholics and 70 percent of people who identified themselves as “born again” Christians agree that high school classes on sex education should teach “about contraception, such as condoms and other birth control, along with abstinence.”
  • 97 percent of self-identified liberals, 93 percent of moderates and 63 percent of conservatives agree.
  • Among racial groups, the lowest level of support is among white Texans, and that number is still 78 percent.
  • Differences by educational level were almost nonexistent, with overwhelming support (either 79 percent of 80 percent) from respondents who had only a high school education (or less) or had gone to college and/or graduate school.

So we know Texans want young people to learn information about sexuality and health that will help them make important life decisions. It’s time to insist that lawmakers change the state’s ignorance-first policies on sex education. You can help by contacting your local legislators and asking them to support legislation next year that requires public schools to teach medically accurate, evidence-based information — including age-appropriate information about condoms and other forms of contraception and disease prevention — in sex education classes. You can also sign the Education Works! petition for comprehensive sex education here.

5 thoughts on “Common Sense on Sex Education

  1. “77 percent of Protestants, 82 percent of Roman Catholics…..agree that high school classes on sex education should teach about contraception”…..

    That’s actually pretty amusing when you consider the Pope’s stand on contraception. Is it an example of “he don’t play-a the game, he don’t make-a the rules?”

  2. While it is important in the short run for teens to know that putting one and one together adds up to three, it is also important to have some knowledge of doing it right. Ignorant fumblings and premature insertions ruins the reputation of reputable sex, and glamorizes the commercial variant often resulting in disappointment and divorce.

    Divorce is destructive of the social fabric and the health of the body politic by generating generations of children unable to trust.

  3. American Catholics only take the pope seriously on those things the pope is right about. Contraception is not one of those things he is not right about. He is also wrong about celibate pastors and not allowing women to be ordained as priests, which is hurting the church. If they don’t get over this “church tradition” nonsense, they are headed toward a church that has no priests because: a) no one wants the job anymore; b) some want the job but only to be near kids; and c) the rest are in jail on sexual abuse charges.

    I like the Catholic Church and Catholic folks overall. Good church. Good people.

  4. Gordon wrote: “Divorce is destructive of the social fabric and the health of the body politic by generating generations of children unable to trust.”

    I’m way off-topic here but Gordon’s blanket statement raised some interesting issues for me. First of all, why is divorce “destructive of the social fabric” if the divorcing couple had no children? And whether they had children or not, why should two people who can’t stand each other be forced to stick together? Is that better for children? If yes, in what way? I can see why it would teach children to be more choosey about whom they marry. But if they’re taught there’s no way out of a miserable marriage, they may choose not to marry at all. (And that’s not necessarily a good or bad thing).

    As for “trust,” why is it necessarily a bad thing that children learn to be more suspicious? My parents never divorced and, if their loyalty is the reason I learned to trust, it would have been better for had I learned NOT to be so trusting. Trusting others has brought me pain so I’m not as trusting as I used to be.

  5. Divorce doesn’t have quite the effect if the couple have no children.

    Divorce nearly always has a negative impact on the children involved, and the severity doesn’t seem to change based on the age of the children. There are are, of course, tradeoffs between how much more damage the children would suffer if the other parent is abusive.

    The most common effect on children is that they blame themselves for the divorce, regadless of how the contrary is presnted to them, even by both parents. In many, this inner blame becomes anger. The children of divorce, according to some studies, are more likely to become divorced than others. The same pattern applies to children of abusive parents.

    Under existing laws it is assumed that the male parent is inherently more damaging to the child except for boys sixteen or more. Different states has some variations on this. There are a few where a case can be made by the father, but these are uncommon.

    It is no longer fashionable to maintain a marriange “for the sake of the children”. Marriage is the most common institution devised by or for the human race to survive in sufficient numbers for the species to survive. The human child of all forms of life on earth takes the longest from birth to be able survive and reproduce. Other species have longer gestation terms, like the elephant, or produce large numbers to account for high infant mortality rates.

    The United States is rare amongst the nations of the world in it’s relative absence of extended family ties such as tribes, clans, the home village, that bind other societies together in times of distress. Our friends on the Family Value side of the aisle have no clue as to what family means to most of the rest of the world. Also on the Family Value side, are the repeated profestations of “individual responsibility”.

    Those two don’t go together conveniently, and in many parts (most) of the world, such attribution of individual responsibility and accountablity add up to social irresponsibility, for the individual is rarely placed ahead of the family …. outside the US.

    The paradox is also illustrated by the dichotomy between Civic Duty and Family Values. In most of the rest of the world, family values outrank civic duty which accounts for what we usually denounce as nepotism and corruption.