Beyond "Derek the Abstinence Clown," a Serious Discussion of Sex Education
Well, this little Twitter conversation certainly stopped me in my tracks this morning:
Wait, what? Unfortunately, the video of Derek the Abstinence Clown that Jonathan Gitlin references has been pulled, but a quick Google search turns up this blog post with video.
Behind the clown-mocking, however, lies a serious national discussion of sex education and the effectiveness of abstinence-only education programs. Sarah Kliff reports today in the Washington Post that taxpayers are still financing abstinence-based programs for school kids, despite longstanding concerns about whether they really work to reduce teen pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases.
Curriculums that teach abstinence as the singular method of birth control retained a $55 million budget in 2012, a full third of the $176 million available during President George W. Bush's last year in office.
Kliff notes the federal Office of Adolescent Health in April quietly added the Heritage Keepers Abstinence Education program to the Obama administration's Teen Pregnancy Prevention Fund, which is supposed to be evidence-based. (Check out the RHRealityCheck blog, which appears to have broken the story, for more details). Officials cited an unpublished study they said demonstrated the program's effectiveness.
Are there abstinence-only programs in your community's schools? How well do they work compared to traditional sex-ed programs that teach kids about contraception? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Home page photo credit: Romana Klee via Flickr