Friday, April 9, 2010

Finding a Condom Sense Solution to the Education Crisis

By Chuck McKay

In Wisconsin, which is a lot like Maine in terms of the number of crazed politicians per capita, one district attorney recently wrote a "friendly warning" to health teachers that they could be prosecued for "contributing to the delinquency of a minor" if they follow a new state law allowing them to teach about contraception.

"Contributing to the delinquency of a minor" carries a maximum sentence of two years to You've Seriously Got to Be Kidding Me.

According to the Associated Press, Juneau County District Attorney Scott Southworth warned that health classes would become "a radical program that sexualizes our children as early as kindergarten. This, in turn, will lead to more child sexual assaults."

Of course! The more a child knows about sex, the more appealing they become to older individuals who may want to victimize them. Obviously, perps mainly seek out kids who are well-educated about condoms and STDs.

"Wisconsin school districts aren't required to teach sex education," notes AP writer Todd Richmond. "But the new law, which took effect March 11, lays out requirements for those that do, including teaching the benefits of abstinence, criminal penalties for having underage sex and the benefits and proper use of contraceptives."

I could write all day about how virtually every study on this topic not funded by the Bush Administration finds that abstinence-only programs don't work, but that's not important. 

Instead, think back to when you were young and zitty. Were your decisions about sex even slightly impacted by what you learned in public school?

As a teenager, I learned that condoms can prevent pregnancy about 98% of the time, when used properly. I did not learn this in health class, I learned it from a condom package.

Now, at the risk of drawing the attention of law enforcement officials here in Maine, I am about to reveal, for the benefit of young people who may be uninformed, how to use a condom:

Read the instructions inside the condom box. It's not rocket science.

Please, Mr. District Attorney, don't send me to jail for providing the exact same information that is available to everyone for free on the Internet, or for a nominal fee in the pharmaceutical department at Wal-Mart!

The fact that an elected official thinks he can score points with the public by threatening to prosecute teachers for doing what their legislature and local school boards tell them to do makes Juneau County, Wisconsin the newest addition to my list of Top Ten Places to Stay the Hell Away From.

Also on that list: any Internet message board where people are discussing Maine's education funding crisis.

Prevailing opinion on many of these forums would indicate that teachers are the problem, particularly since their bloated salaries and benefits suck up 75% of education funding.

And what do we get in return? Armies of children who can't overcome their parents' inadequacies. If public education is going to hog two percent of the federal budget (
Center for Budget and Policy Priorities), shouldn't we expect it, at the very least, to render generational poverty and other entrenched social patterns completely irrelevant? 

Why should we mind laying off teachers if they weren't doing their jobs to begin with?

Of course, if you're going employ cut teachers and expect better results, it's only fair to cut students, too. Maybe part of the problem is that there are just too many of them.

So, back to that condom thing...

1 comment:

Linds said...

In my opinion, a big problem with the lack of motivation in students is that many of them (if not most) come from homes where a guardian recieves governemtn aid (in many cases, too much for too little reason). There are ALOT of kids out there and more being had everyday. What we need is that actaul threat of finding yourself without a paycheck (be it earned or otherwise) to get parents to smarten-up their kids. Hasn't it always been about having it easier, and better, than your parents had it? These days welfare and EBT benefits make it into homes with plasma screens and HBO, the newest gaming system and motorized toys in the yard. No one strives if there isn't anything to gain... or loose.