Did you miss our live-blogging of the Texas House Public Education Committee hearing on reforming sexuality education in the state with the nation’s third-highest teen birth rate? Well, we offer this gem from Kyleen Wright of the Texans for Life Coalition, which insists on abstinence-only-until-marriage education in public schools:

9:49 – Wright: “You offend parents far less by giving less information than (by) giving (teens) more.” 

Good grief. We can’t remember a more absurd argument for keeping teens ignorant.… Read More

The Texas House Public Education Committee is about to take up two key bills that would bring important reforms to what the state’s public schools teach about sex education. Click here for a live video webcast of the hearing. (Then click on LiveStream 6 for the Public Education Committee meeting.) TFN Insider will also be providing updates.

6:00 –  Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, is now laying out House Bill 741, which would require Texas public schools to teach comprehensive — or “abstinence-plus” — sexuality education if they teach about sexual health at all. Rep. Castro notes that Texas has the nation’s third-highest rate of teen births, a statistic that itself argues for major changes to the state’s predominantly abstinence-only approach to sexuality education. (Parents would still have the right to opt their children out of such classes.)

6:08 – Rep. Castro notes the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund’s groundbreaking report on sexuality education in Texas public schools.

6:22 – Dr. Jan Realini, president of the Healthy Futures in San Antonio and member of the Texas Medical Association Council on Public Health, offers powerful testimony for arming teens with medically accurate information… Read More

Texas has the nation’s third-highest teen birth rate yet receives more federal abstinence-only funding than any other state in the country. What’s wrong with this picture?

We just finished a briefing for Capitol reporters about two very important bills under consideration by the Texas House Public Education Committee this afternoon. House Bill 741 by Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, would require that Texas public schools teach comprehensive, “abstinence-plus,” sex education. HB 1567 by Rep. Michael Villarreal, D-San Antonio, would require that all information taught about condoms and other forms of contraception and disease prevention be medically accurate.

A Texas Freedom Network Education Fund report about sexuality education in public schools shows why these bills are so important. More than 9 in 10 Texas school districts teach nothing about responsible pregnancy and disease prevention, taking instead an abstinence-only approach. And most abstinence-only programs are plagued with errors and misinformation and rely on fear, shame and stereotypes to teach teens about sexuality and health. Moreover, public polling shows that support for comprehensive sexuality education is overwhelming.

So what’s the problem? Need you ask?

The abstinence-only pressure groups are out in force. Kyleen… Read More

The Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice and Healing called on President Obama yesterday to end federal funding for abstinence-only programs and instead fund comprehensive sexuality education in the nation’s public schools. (This echos Texas Freedom Network’s message to Texas policy-makers last month when we released our report on the massive failure of abstinence-only programs in Texas.)

The Religious Institute also announced that more than 925 ordained clergy and national religious leaders have endorsed its Open Letter to Religious Leaders about Sex Education.

The letter builds a compelling case for “truth telling” in sexuality education:

People of faith must speak out for comprehensive sexuality education. We know that there are people of good faith who differ with us on what young people need. We seek to reach out to those from whom we may be divided to seek what is best for our nation’s youth. We all must be truth seeking, courageous, and just in our efforts to provide all young people with the sexuality education they so urgently need.

All we can say to this is, “Amen.”

Any Texas clergy members who support this position may also

It's bad enough that Texas is failing teens by promoting ignorance about responsible pregnancy and disease prevention in sexuality education classes. But is it really too much to ask that public policy-makers and assorted pressure groups not wallow in ignorance as well? Our new report on sexuality education reveals that more than nine in 10 public school districts in Texas teach either abstinence-only or nothing at all when it comes to sexuality education. That's the case despite the state's high rate of teen births, the increasing problem of sexually transmitted diseases among youth and recent major studies showing that abstinence-only programs are simply ineffective. (See here for one such study. Our report, page 2, notes others.) But supporters of abstinence-only programs are still burying their heads in the sand -- like this spokesperson from the Free Market Foundation Focus on the Family-Texas: Jonathan Saenz of the Free Market Foundation, a conservative group that supports abstinence-based programs, questioned the criticism of those programs, citing links between the Texas Freedom Network and Planned Parenthood. "These groups want teenagers to have more sex and learn more about sex at an earlier age," he said. "You can give students greater access to…… Read More

Texas Freedom Network

It took years to convince the @TXSBOE to create a Mexican American studies course for the state's public schools. It's great to see school districts offering it to students. cbsloc.al/3kKHvgR