Sunday, June 15, 2008

Subsidizing only abstinence-only: federalist sex education

The Boston Globe reports that Lowell middle schools would prefer to teach comprehensive sex education, but are teaching abstinence-only sex education because a federal grant makes that free:

While state backing for the abstinence-only program lapsed this year, the schools will continue to use them next year, since they are offered for free under a federal grant, the officials said.

"Right now we're trying to prioritize," Mayor Edward "Bud" Caulfield said recently, after the School Committee voted last month to cut 10 teachers to help erase a $3 million budget deficit. "We're operating on a shoestring."

Caulfield, who also is chairman of the School Committee, said he believes in comprehensive sex education....

Anita M. Downs, who stepped down recently as Lowell City-Wide Parent Council chairwoman and remains on the board, ... said she believes the schools should restore comprehensive sex education, which was dropped for budgetary reasons in 2003.

Downs acknowledged money is scarce, but said the district should create partnerships with outside organizations that might provide comprehensive sex education for free. "It is very important, because it's going to affect our future in a lot of ways," she said.

...Lowell switched from comprehensive sex education taught by health teachers in 2003, after budget problems forced schools to cut 14 of 17 of the teachers, said Lowell deputy superintendent for curriculum Jean Franco.

Can any real conservative defend using federal money to subsidize only curricula which meet federal standards contrary to community standards?

Independent organizations which subsidize comprehensive sex education for schools with little money would be great, but clearly they can't compete with a $200 million per year federal program for abstinence-only. Nonetheless, anyone know of any?

No comments: