Questionable Motives

October 31, 2009

Abstinence Only sex-ed: Why let facts get in the way of perfectly sound beliefs?

Filed under: Biology,Criticism,Culture,Education,Medicine,Politics,Science — tildeb @ 8:46 pm

sex edWhat is the future of abstinence-only sex ed now that the Obama administration is cutting the funding? Many believe it is a worthwhile program. But is it worth another 1.5 billion dollars? Consider:

By 1999, one study estimated a third of American students were receiving an abstinence-only education. But as funding grew, so did a body of research showing that abstinence didn’t change the sexual behaviors of students; pregnancy and STD rates did not go down, the age of initial sexual activity did not go up. “Each evaluation came along … and each showed it didn’t work,” says Santelli. The articles appeared in peer-reviewed journals, many in the Journal of Adolescent Health, and in government-commissioned reviews. In 2007, a federally funded study of four abstinence programs found its students no more likely to abstain than those in a comprehensive program. At the same time, comprehensive programs that discuss contraceptives and their use received better, although by no means perfect, marks. Researcher Doug Kirby’s 2008 review of 48 studies of comprehensive curriculums found that two-thirds either reduced frequency of sex or number of sexual partners.

So should funding continue? The Senate Finance Committee voted to do so, 12–11, last month. Now it must go before the entire congress.

Why is it that those people who so readily support standardized testing as if it meaningfully determines teacher and curriculum effectiveness in education are the first ones to ignore standardized results that conflict with cherished beliefs?

Entire article here.

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