It probably would be difficult for the national media to believe, but sex education is really a hotter news item and a more compelling issue with more Americans than Yugoslavia, the Middle East, or even the Presidential election.
A state committee to review sex education in Georgia has just been announced by the state superintendent of schools. Its formation was the result of a firestorm stirred up by parents when they actually read the manual used in a $500,000 training program conducted by the state for sex education teachers.
I’m going to give a summary of parental objections to the sex education manual — not because it is unique, but because it is typical. The 273-page manual, entitled Comfort, Confidence, Competence in Sexuality Education, was published by the Georgia Department of Education.
For starters, the Georgia manual gives a check list of what it calls “Age-Appropriate Information About Human Sexuality.” Parents don’t think these matters are “age-appropriate at all.”
Here is the schedule for preschoolers and kindergartners. “By age five,” according to the manual, the child should “understand the concept that a woman does not have to have babies unless she wants to, know where babies come from, how they ‘get in’ and ‘get out,’ and be able to talk about body parts without a sense of ‘naughtiness.’”
Whatever happened to childhood? Preschoolers and kindergartners should be playing with blocks and learning their colors, not hearing a spiel from Planned Parenthood about how to use birth control or get an abortion. Nor should the schools deliberately try to shred the little tykes of natural modesty about their private parts.
This official Georgia sex ed manual mandates that elementary school children (ages 6 to 9) should “have a grasp of different types of caring home backgrounds so that no single one is seen as the only possible one.” Parents who strive, often at great personal sacrifice, to preserve a stable two-parent home rightfully resent their children being taught that other kinds of living arrangements are just as good.
The manual says that children at the elementary school level should “begin to be aware of non-stereotyped gender roles.” Well, now. That means that “sex ed” is used to indoctrinate little first-and second-grade girls that they should aspire to be combat soldiers or coal miners. It leads them to believe that the homemaker role is a lesser life, a politically incorrect choice.
Nine to l3-year-olds should, according to the manual, be informed about “human reproduction, including an understanding of human sexuality as a natural part of life, the legitimacy and normalcy of sexual feelings, some idea that sex is pleasurable as well as the way to make a baby — the realization that sexual acts can be separated from reproductive acts, [and] contraception, including the knowledge that no one has to become a parent.” There is no reference to the concept that “sexual actors” incur an obligation to the child that may ensue, even if becoming a parent was not intended.
Another page in this manual for teachers instructs them to “have students brainstorm a list of questions a person might consider before deciding to have sex.” Sample questions are: “How will having sex affect our relationship?” and “Have I discussed birth control with my partner?” There is no question such as “Am I married?” or “Am I ready to undertake the risk and accept the responsibility of starting a new life?”
In a section titled “Research-based Answers to the Information Review,” the manual solemnly states: “only a small percentage (4-6%) of Americans are exclusively heterosexual or exclusively homosexual.” The manual provides no research data for the astounding assertion that 90 percent of Americans are bisexual.
Since classrooms today spend so much time on fun and games, the sex education manual contains a page of “ideas for Role-Play.” The teacher is instructed to involve “all” students, using volunteers first, then “draft as necessary” and “continue until all youth have practiced.”
That might sound harmless until you realize that a1I the suggested role-p1ay situations are negative and many of them are illegal. Here are some of the items on the role-p1ay list: “Trespassing, cheating on a test, shooting fireworks in city limits, prank phone calls, taking parent/s car without permission, lying to parent about where you are going, stealing candy/cigarettes, smoking cigarettes, breaking into a coke machine, staying out past curfew, smoking pot, doing pi1ls, drinking alcohol, stealing jewelry/cosmetics, harassing teacher, driving while intoxicated.”
This type of teaching, which is typical of sex education curricula, is called non-directive, non-judgmental, or value-free. That’s a misnomer; it teaches the value that kids should look for pleasure rather than commitment and responsibility, and that’s why this is such a hot local issue.