Sunday, February 06, 2005

Ignorance-Only Education

Thanks to the frightfully well-written Noblessoblog for pointing out this story to me. The results of a study done at Texas A&M University reveals that abstinance-only education is a total crock of shit that doesn't work.

Well, that's not exactly what the study said. More like:

Despite taking courses emphasizing abstinence-only themes, teenagers in 29 high schools became increasingly sexually active, mirroring the overall state trends, according to the study conducted by researchers at Texas A&M University.

"We didn't see any strong indications that these programs were having an impact in the direction desired," said Dr. Buzz Pruitt, who directed the study.

Thanks, Dr. Buzz, for proving what most sensible people already know. Teenagers are small bundles of highly concentrated horndog juice, and telling them not to have sex with each other works about as well as asking Godzilla really nicely not to stomp you into mush. It's what they're designed by nature to do. But here's the weird part.

"The jury is still out, but most of what we've discovered shows there's no evidence the large amount of money spent is having an effect," [Pruitt] said.

The jury is still out? Check out these figures:

The study showed about 23 percent of ninth-grade girls, typically 13 to 14 years old, had sex before receiving abstinence education. After taking the course, 29 percent of the girls in the same group said they had had sex.

Boys in the tenth grade, about 14 to 15 years old, showed a more marked increase, from 24 percent to 39 percent, after receiving abstinence education.

First off, allow me to express my extreme shock that 23% of polled Texas 13 year old girls had sex before taking abstinance-only education. That's about a quarter of all Texas 13 year old girls. Wow. In ninth grade, I was about as sexually active as Abelard and Heloise.

But also, as Noblessoblog pointed out already, that's a huge disasterous failure. "The jury is still out" would indicate that the results are inconclusive. But you don't have to be a professor to draw some conclusion from the fact that, following abstinance education, the number of teens having sex went up 15%. You apparently just have to not live in Texas.

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