Join 3,424 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Bush's Surgeon General Advises Common Sense Approach to Sex Ed.
June 28, 2001 8:21 AM   Subscribe

Bush's Surgeon General Advises Common Sense Approach to Sex Ed. Be still my heart - the SG swims against the abstinence currents and addresses sex education with rational and realistic guidelines.
posted by gsh (19 comments total)

 
Satcher's been SG for some time now, not just under Bush
posted by brucec at 8:34 AM on June 28, 2001


This is the most sensible approach to sex ed I've heard about in the news for quite some time and I find myself feeling slightly encouraged (am I setting myself up for a letdown?). It would be nice if it could actually be put into practice. I guess we'll see. What I think many parents fail to understand is that their kids know far more about sex than they would "want" them to before they ever sit down and have that sex conversation with them. In fact, many kids have been molested or violated before parents get around to that conversation (if they ever get around to it at all).
posted by witchstone at 8:43 AM on June 28, 2001


Wow, Dubya hired this guy? He's tolerant of gays, he advocates sex ed and family planning, and he openly admits there's no evidence that "abstinence-only" programs work. The axe should fall any time now.
posted by RylandDotNet at 8:50 AM on June 28, 2001


Wow, the last SG to do that got summarily fired. Whoops, resigned is what they call it.
posted by jessamyn at 8:57 AM on June 28, 2001


In fact, many kids have been molested or violated before parents get around to that conversation (if they ever get around to it at all).

yeah really, i don't know anyone who got that conversation before it could have done any good--or harm.
posted by th3ph17 at 10:40 AM on June 28, 2001


Personally, I was very lucky to have been raised in a public school district that strongly supported the parental control of the schools. Many people that I know, however, were not that lucky. I, for one, do NOT want the government stepping in to "help" me raise my children every time that they think I'm doing a poor job of it. I do not believe that the government has that right.

That's all that's going on here. Fuzzy-thinking liberal politicians (Please forgive me for that, but I call 'em like I see 'em) look around and see that America is pretty screwed up... lot's of abortions and unwanted pregnancy's, lot's of STD's. Wanting to do something about that is good; wanting to enforce your values on my children is bad.

Maybe I wouldn't feel so passionately about this issue if I didn't have personal experience with public school systems that literally felt compelled to "instill good values", regardless of what a handful of reasonable parents wanted. I don't know.
posted by gd779 at 12:21 PM on June 28, 2001


Vaguely related to the subject of trusting the public schools to instill good values in our kids:

Horace Mann, founder of Public Schools in America, wrote in
1837:

I have abandoned jurisprudence, and betaken myself to the larger sphere of mind and morals. Having found the present generation composed of materials almost unallowable, I am about transferring my efforts to the next. Men are cast-iron, but children are wax. The germs of morality must be planted deeply in the moral nature of children, at an early period of their life... If we should have improved men, we must have improved means of educating children... Of all the means in our possession, the common school has precedence because of its universality. Keep children unspotted from the world, that is uncontaminated by its vices; those vices include training them up to the love of God and man and making the perfect example of Jesus Christ lovely in their eyes.
posted by gd779 at 12:24 PM on June 28, 2001


I, for one, do NOT want the government stepping in to "help" me raise my children every time that they think I'm doing a poor job of it.

Like it or not, if your children go to public school, they are being partially raised by the government. If you don't want that, homeschool them or send them to a private school.

Maybe I wouldn't feel so passionately about this issue if I didn't have personal experience with public school systems that literally felt compelled to "instill good values"

I don't believe that teaching kids how not to get pregnant or contract a STD is immoral or against "good values". On the contrary, I think it's very moral to teach children how to take care of themselves and their health.

For what its worth, I wouldn't want my kids to be taught the conservative version of "good values" in sexual education, because I could end up with a pregnant daughter, despite my and the school's best efforts to convince her to abstain until marriage.
posted by RylandDotNet at 4:00 PM on June 28, 2001


This is one of those hot button threads like gun control and capital punishment.

So, before the comment count tops a hundred, let me just add that (unlike every other industrialized nation of earth) "common sense" and "sex education" will never meet in the United States of America.
posted by lagado at 5:11 PM on June 28, 2001


I don't believe that teaching kids how not to get pregnant or contract a STD is immoral or against "good values"... [but] I wouldn't want my kids to be taught the conservative version of "good values" in sexual education.

Exactly my point. Values ("good", "bad" or otherwise) shouldn't be taught in the public schools (aside from some basics necessary for order, like respect for teachers, stealing, etc.) Once you open up that door, you are choosing to let the government determine "good" from "bad"... never a good thing.

The same applies here. The proposed sexual education curriculum violates the religious beliefs of a significant number of families. In at least some school districts (again, I'm speaking from personal experience here) parents are NOT allowed to excuse their children from this curriculum. This is flatly wrong.

I don't teach your kids to accept my faith in Jesus, so don't teach mine sexual morals.

Now: If your children go to public school, they are being partially raised by the government. If you don't want that, homeschool them or send them to a private school.

This is true. However, you fail to answer my point: Should it be true? We all pay for the public school system with our tax dollars. As such, it should not be teaching controversial values to my kids against my wishes.

Yes, I strongly believe in the value of homeschooling (there's a reason that homeschoolersl wipe the floor with public schoolers on standardized tests... it's called parental involvement). But many families, for whatever reason, feel that they cannot feasibly homeschool (a single-parent family, for example). And many of those same families cannot afford private schools. Where does that leave them?

In short, those families who most need the public schools (ie, anybody who can't afford to homeschool or private school) are given no choice about objectionable curriculum. Given the fact that many of those same school districts are already failing to provide a basic education, shouldn't something be done?

Side note: Charter schools! Vouchers and charter schools for everyone!

All of which takes away from my main point: So long as my tax dollars help to support the public schools, the government has no right to impose it's morals on my kids. Solution: We need the public schools to recognize that they work for the parents. Parental authority must be recognized, allowing parents the right to help shape curriculum, a hand in running the school, and the authority to "opt-out" of objectionable curriculum. Further, we need schools that focus on teaching the basics of education, not values.
posted by gd779 at 6:42 PM on June 28, 2001


I guess when the parents are insane, they need to be able to send their children to government funded insanity school.
posted by lagado at 7:20 PM on June 28, 2001


As such, it should not be teaching controversial values to my kids against my wishes.

Was anyone here arguing against an opt-out system? I can't see anything wrong with it. Even if parents should technically be the ones doing sex ed, if the schools have to pick up the slack parents should be able to opt out...
posted by owillis at 8:31 PM on June 28, 2001


Know what I learned in school about sex? Sperm + egg = baby. Know what else? Well, uh, after that, we moved on to the chapter about hand-washing...

My school had at least 10 pregnancies a year. It was unanimously agreed upon that if the school provided information about condoms and safe sex and other crap like that, there would have been far less. However, we couldn't, becuase that might offend someone's religious beliefs. Whereas having their daughter become pregnant because of a lack of information didn't.

That's kinda... yeah...
posted by billybunny at 9:34 PM on June 28, 2001


I don't teach your kids to accept my faith in Jesus, so don't teach mine sexual morals.

Prophylaxis does not equal sexual morals. It's just teaching a kid how to take care of their health. If we lived in a sane culture, teaching kids how not to get pregnant or catch a STD would be about as controversial as teaching them to wash their hands and eat something from each of the four food groups.
posted by RylandDotNet at 10:14 PM on June 28, 2001


It doesn't matter how inane or out of step with reality religious thought may be with sex ed, this bad boy protects people from other's morals (and sex ed is a form of morals) being imposed on them. Swings both ways.
posted by owillis at 11:16 PM on June 28, 2001


owliss: No, it doesn't. Laws against speeding impose morality on you. The First Amendment is there to keep people from worshiping in the same way you do, or to keep you from being forced to worship in the way a state wants you to, rather. It keeps American governmental institutions from formally stating that such-and-such is being done specifically for Jewish or Christian or Baptist or Catholic or Mormon or Scientological (or whatever) or National of Islam reasons. Otherwise, I don't feel like going through Political Theory 101 here, except to say that your answer depends on what you think the state exists to do, who it answers to or does not, etc.
posted by raysmj at 11:29 PM on June 28, 2001


Laws against speeding impose morality on you

Laws against speeding stop you from slamming into people at insane speeds. There are some morals that are (more or less) universal.

from being forced to worship in the way a state wants you to

Which is exactly what I was saying.

why do people keep putting owliss when it's owillis?
posted by owillis at 12:55 AM on June 29, 2001


Morals or laws? I think of speeding, and I think more of the laws of physics rather than the moral imperative to safety that licensed drivers are asked to uphold by the state.

Don't know about the name stuff. See it all the time. Puzzles me. Complicated as some MeFi posters' names are, you'd think yours'd be a gimme.
posted by allaboutgeorge at 6:27 PM on June 29, 2001


There's a reason why certain sexual attitudes are traditionally attributed to the daughters of ministers. I shall say no more.
posted by holgate at 7:44 PM on June 29, 2001


« Older Condit says he broke off close friendship with Lev...  |  Let the sun do your cooking fo... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments