We are seeing more evidence every day that policy-makers are finally waking up from the nightmare that is abstinence-only sex education. The latest case-in-point: Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst will deliver the keynote address at the Oct. 26 state conference for the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. This is significant because the Texas Campaign is a leading proponent of evidence-based, comprehensive sex education (i.e. teaching students more than just abstinence). It’s right on the group’s homepage:
- The most effective health and sexuality education is abstinence-first, age-appropriate and comprehensive.
- The use of evidenced-based, effective curricula and programs reduce teen pregnancy.
If Dewhurst’s appearance at this conference isn’t proof that responsible, comprehensive sex education has entered the mainstream, we don’t know what is. Add this to recent decisions by a number of Texas school districts to boot their abstinence-only programs in favor of curricula that includes information about contraception… and the TFN Education Fund’s recent statewide poll revealing that 80% of likely voters in the state favor “teaching about contraception, such as condoms and other birth control, along with abstinence, in high school sex education classes”… and you are left with a provocative question:
Could Texas finally be nearing a tipping point in the struggle to move beyond our failed abstinence-only policies?
We’ll get a definitive answer to that question in the spring when lawmakers return to Austin for the legislative session. Previous efforts to change the abstinence-only focus in the state’s education code have been blocked by nervous politicians who fear a backlash from conservative constituents. But it is becoming clear that the overwhelming majority of Texans are ready to move past those failed policies that have consistently made Texas one of the worst states in the country when it comes to the teen birthrate. Let’s hope more politicians follow Lt. Gov. Dewhurst’s example.
If you are interested in helping TFN make the case for common-sense sex education policy, here are a few easy ways to get involved:
- Sign our “Education Works” petition calling on lawmakers to change our state’s policy on sex education policy,
- Join our effort to improve sex education in local school districts by volunteering to serve on a local School Health Advisory Council,
- Read the TFN Education Fund’s report on sex education in Texas public schools,
- Donate to the Texas Freedom Network and support our work for responsible, evidence-based sex education in public schools.
And register to attend the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy’s conference in Austin in October. A great group doing excellent work.
2 thoughts on “Progress on Sex Ed”
You people at TFN just don’t get it, do you? Abstinence only is not about preventing pregnancy. It’s about preventing sin. Contraception leads innocents to do sin. Contraception is a sin-causer. It’s just like in the movie “Night of the Living Dead. You kill the contraception—you kill the sin. To kill the sin—you kill the contraceptive. Anyone got some liver to go with my cracker?
I live in an upscale community. Best I can tell, contraceptives are no more or less available to kids here than anywhere else. It is my understanding that the teenagers are sexually active in large numbers, regardless of contraceptive availability. I told you about the two unmarried local Christian fundamentalist kids (friends of my teenage daughter) who were intentionally trying to get pregnant— just days after their abstinence pledge ceremony at a local Bible-believing church (whatever that is). In this town, best I can tell about sexual behavior, you cannot tell a Bible-believing church kid from a kid who has never darkened the door of a church. I worry about it because either one is a real risk to knock up my teenage daughter. Abstinence only does not work because the kids do not abstain.
Okay, I’ve had this thought for years, and I’ll finally express it: Just how dumb does a kid have to be to not know about contraception and condoms, even without school instruction?
That said, evidence-based instruction is, of course, the correct approach.