With all of the damage culture warriors on the State Board of Education have done — or tried to do — to the education of Texas public school students in their science and history classrooms, it can be easy to forget what they’ve also done on sex education. Today the online news magazine Slate posted the above video, which examines how two high school health textbooks from the same publisher address sex education — one submitted for adoption in Texas in 2004 and the other a decade earlier. That abstinence-only textbook from 2004, which doesn’t include a shred of information on contraception, remains in classrooms today.
Slate focused this video on the health textbooks from just one publisher, Holt, Rinehart and Winston. But publisher Glencoe/McGraw-Hill’s health textbooks were also abstinence-only. Holt and Glencoe essentially split the Texas health textbook market between them in 2004-05.
The State Board of Education hasn’t set an adoption date for the next generation of health textbooks for Texas public schools. We’re likely about five years away, at least. Meanwhile, Texas has the one of the highest teen birth rates among the nation’s 50 states — the fifth highest, in fact, as of 2013. And the Texas Legislature still refuses to encourage school districts to change pro-ignorance policies on sex ed. In fact, lawmakers won’t even consider legislation that at least bars schools from teaching medically inaccurate information, such as exaggerated failure rates for contraception and other falsehoods promoted by abstinence-only programs that dominate Texas classrooms.