Recently KXAN in Austin hosted a candidate forum for various primary races including State Board of Education District 5. Incumbent Ken Mercer claimed that parents in his district don’t want their children to be taught about contraception only the consequences of sexual activity. Mr. Mercer has not been listening to his constituents because according to polls done in the last year parents across Texas want medically accurate sex education that includes contraception by an overwhelming majority. In fact polls have shown that up to 90% of Texans want abstinence-plus information about contraception and disease prevention included in sexuality education, but 96% of Texas schools don’t provide that information.
Not only are schools not teaching what parents want but 41% of Texas school districts teach factually incorrect information in their sex education programs. Actual materials used in Texas classrooms claim that HIV is spread through tears, sweat and saliva. Ask your doctor, they’ll tell you that’s just not true.
In 2000 Texas and California had very similar teen birth rates ranking 46 and 44 among the states respectively. About the same time Texas went with abstinence only until marriage sex education curriculum and California chose abstinence plus. Just 5 years later Texas had a more than 50% higher teen birth rate put Texas at 50th place while California is now in 27th. Current Texas policy is just not working and Mr. Mercer is one of the reasons it isn’t.
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