So there's a new bill for a sex ed requirement moving through the Capitol for approval... and I am appalled (if not surprised) that Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) would go so far as to say that the bill is "unacceptable"and that the status quo of sex ed in Minnesota schools is perfectly fine, as it is. This "abstinence-only" bullshit does nothing to educate kids on how to be safe, and unfortunately a) I don't trust all parents to fill in the gaping abyss left by the lacking current system, and b) telling kids not to have sex doesn't stop them from doing it. Period. And studies show that having comprehensive sexual education classes actually prevents kids from getting sexually involved at such a young age. Obviously, this varies, but... I mean, come on. My sister's 14, and she's hardly had any education on how to be safe. I'm sorry, but I don't think a child who is pubescent/post-pubescent adolescent should be ignorant to the facts about sex. Kids should know how the parts work, they should know the consequences of engaging in sexual activities, and yes, abstinence should most definitely be encouraged. But that doesn't mean that the class shouldn't bother to teach about contraceptives like condoms or the pill.
It should be noted that I learned more in sex ed when I was in elementary school than in high school because suddenly, they changed the laws to allow each district to define the program... And parents seem to support it, too! I'm sorry, I don't care if you think you're helping by saying ignorance is bliss... we should still be teaching children that there are more ways to avoid STDs/STIs and pregnancy than abstinence. My class did not talk about those. In fact, we were not able to watch a movie because it mentioned condoms, diaphragms, and oral contraceptives. Heck, this same class had the health teacher so concerned about not bringing controversial topics into the classroom that I wasn't allowed to do my health report on euthanasia. It was too controversial. Now, that has nothing to do with sex ed, that was just the myopic nature of our particular school (district?)'s policies on education...
But doesn't it make the most sense to have well-educated youths who know how to protect themselves? who can confront issues more adeptly because they understand what's going on? We cannot simply base the education of our children on the idealist concept that kids with automatically know what to do, when confronted with sexuality; that they'll understand that as our society becomes more and more sexualized, they simply need to abstain. It's not that simple. Kids are reaching puberty at younger ages, sex is everywhere (look at Miley Cyrus ::rolls eyes::), and there should be a requirement that they get the facts. Sorry, I don't believe the church youth group is going to teach them about anatomy and contraceptives. Sorry, I don't think the kids most at risk are going to get a "birds & bees" talk from their folks that tells them how to be safe.
Damn it, Pawlenty. Just vote for the flipping change. It's important, and it hurts kids by not making this necessary change to the law.
Oh, and in future posts, I'll be better about documentation and organization, but it's been a while since I've written a paper, and this is also a bit of a rant. So. There.