Texas Schools Slowly, Begrudgingly Admit Abstinence-Only Education Isn’t Working
After years of sexual education that willfully denies the possibility that kids are going to have sex no matter what, some schools in Texas are starting to teach curriculums that information on contraception. This is partly because it isn’t as cheap to yell, “Don’t do it!” to teens as one might think, and there’s less federal money available for abstinence-only programs. But the bigger reason behind the shift is that people are finally facing the fact that abstinence-only programs simply don’t work.
Most schools in Texas are still just telling kids they shouldn’t have sex until they get married, but a growing number are getting more realistic. According to the Texas Tribune, the state’s health department chose not to apply for federal money that supports comprehensive sex-ed, but it’s still the largest recipient of federal grants for abstinence-only programs. President Bush set aside funding for abstinence-only education, but much of that money is gone. Grants created under the Obama administration emphasize “evidence-based” programs that discuss both abstinence and contraception.
This is a consideration for educators in the state, but officials at several schools say they decided to start teaching kids about safe sex because their hallways are beginning to look like a neverending episode of 16 & Pregnant. Salon recently reported that Texas has the fifth highest teen pregnancy rate in the country (plus it ranks third in young people with AIDS and fourth for teens with syphilis). Last year in Midland, President Bush’s childhood home, there were 172 pregnant girls in the school district. This year in addition to abstinence, administrators have decided to start teaching seventh and eighth graders about condoms and other birth control methods.