This week, I put together a series of posts unpacking the findings of the new Wiley and Wilson study on Texas abstinence-only education. While legislatures talk from on high about what should and shouldn't be going on in the classroom, this is one of the first and largest studies that actually found out what teachers are doing.
If you're looking for some weekend reading, here's the topics that were covered:
What's interesting about this study is finding out what's really being taught means finding out what these folks' real goals are.
Often, on the left, we're so far removed from either education or locations where abstinence-only education has proliferated that we caricature it as just someone standing in front of a classroom, waving her finger, saying "Just say no." Nothing could be further from the truth - in reality, these programs are about building up the next generation of people who hate sex, think women are property, are homophobic, think conservative Protestant Christianity is everyone's default religion, and are willing to listen to Rush Limbaugh and read Ann Coulter and watch Bill O'Reilly and rail against the liberal elites and how America's culture has turned to shit.
Their plans for this sort of education are much more than the junk science claim that just telling kids to say no to sex means that they won't get STD's or get pregnant before they're ready. It's about an entire way of life, where one complains about other people's sexual immorality while having all the premarital sex one wants, with the proper amount of shame, of course.
Because kids who go through this kind of education are still having sex. And if Texas is representative of other areas that have invested in abstinence-only education, then their well-above-average pregnancy rates and sexual risk-taking shows that they're doing it more than everyone else.
No, this education is about how to feel about having sex, not to stop having it. Sex, for these folks, is a problem to be solved. Bodily urges, the same ones responsible for putting six billion people on this planet, are sources of shame and, while they will be acted upon, should be kept secret.
Instead, your family should look like a Norman Rockwell painting: a stay-at-home mom, a working dad, and children born within wedlock.
If you don't live up to that, which these students most likely won't, then it's their failure and no one else's. They were the ones who didn't solve the problem of overcoming their own sexual and emotional needs, they were the ones who didn't follow the manual given to them in abstinence-only education for the one, best way to live, and they're the ones who deserve to pay the price for it, whether it be a lack of material means to raise children or loss of social esteem.
It is, fundamentally, an all encompassing way of looking at the world that answers all questions and places the blame for all problems on people without "good character."
It is, at its base, anti-liberal, in that it's about people not thinking about problems and not trying to solve them. It's less about getting people to improve their social position through postponing family-making, and more about getting them to accept their lot in life without blaming it on anyone but themselves.
And that's why comprehensive sex ed is really so scary: it empowers people to choose how they want to live for themselves.