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My perceptions of HS'ed kids growing up is influencing my decision now...advice? - Page 7

post #121 of 193
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Originally Posted by Brigianna
I certainly agree with you regarding teens and pre-teens, but kindergarteners? 1st graders? Young children who really, literally have no concept that what they're doing is wrong? *Something* is telling them that it's okay to do this. Advertising and pop culture are a big part of this, but sex ed as currently taught reinforces those pop culture messages and gives them the air of authority and scientific fact.
What school district are you personally in that teaches kindergarteners or first graders sex ed about how babies are made and/or EVEN their reproductive body parts? It starts at 5th grade with "hygiene" in my urban district. I've worked in many schools, and have never heard of it starting before fifth grade at the very earliest. However, there are plenty of "safe touch" presentations before then and talking about how your body belongs to you...

Regarding why little kids do these things - many are abused. Many see things in the media. Many do stuff out of sheer curiosity but now it's very much censured by society. I.e. kids have always done "I'll show you mine..." or mooning other kids...but now they're kicked out of school for doing so...even if it was not a aggressor/victim relationship.

Do you really think that in societies with no sex ed in the schools, there's less sexual harrassment and rape? Or is it just unreported? I'm having an extremely difficult time swallowing this argument in any form.
post #122 of 193
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Originally Posted by Brigianna
I certainly wouldn't give a free pass to the ad industry or other elements of pop culture, and Shalit doesn't either. But her point, which I'm inclined to agree with, is that sex ed is part of this. Not because it teaches kids to objectify themselves, but because the teachers are so focused on being "open" about sexuality and attaching no significance to it.
The sex ed program I went though in Canada didn't do this. We talked about different diseases and birth control methods, sure. Even got to touch a condom. But the teacher made clear to us that sex was a potential minefield and we talked about why.

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If sexual parts are no different than any other parts, why would it be so much worse to grab someone's crotch than to grab their hand? In an environment that is respectful of privacy, modesty, and chastity, this would be self-evident, but when the educational establishment is trying to drill those traits out of kids at the earliest possible age, it's understandable that the kids would be confused.
I don't agree with your supposition that the educational establishment is "trying" to do this, or even doing it. I'd need to see some evidence.

Remember the study that came out a couple years back about students taking a pledge to remain virgins? While on average, the age of first intercourse was delayed (I think by about 6 months, though it could be a bit more), those students were less likely to have protected sex. IIRC, they were also no less likely to engage in oral and anal sex than their non-pledged peers.

Sex education in Europe is ubiquitous and typically not abstinence based, yet the rate of teen pregnancy and rate of most STD's are lower. See the Wikipedia entry on sex education and this page from Advocates for Youth for statistics. Why the big difference? Education? Culture?

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Why is little Johnny being yelled at for looking up little Janey's skirt when his whole life every adult who has ever taught him has told him (verbally or otherwise) that sex has no more moral, emotional, or spiritual significance than shaking hands?
Who is actually supposed to be telling him this? Even the staunchest supporters of meaninful sex ed would be aghast if someone were teaching this, and here you're claiming it's an institutionalized practice.

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I'm glad your daughter is learning such strong values
So am I. She makes me proud every day.
post #123 of 193
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Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
What school district are you personally in that teaches kindergarteners or first graders sex ed about how babies are made and/or EVEN their reproductive body parts? It starts at 5th grade with "hygiene" in my urban district. I've worked in many schools, and have never heard of it starting before fifth grade at the very earliest.
Honestly I have no idea what goes on in my school district. I'm not involved in it so I don't care. I know, I know, I'm still a citizen and all that, but I'm just so anti-school in general that I think any decisions made by our local cabal of a school board are just repainting a sinking ship. But when I was in school, we started sex ed in 4th grade.

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However, there are plenty of "safe touch" presentations before then and talking about how your body belongs to you...


I don't doubt it, but are those messages going to "stick" if all the other messages are going the other way?

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Regarding why little kids do these things - many are abused. Many see things in the media. Many do stuff out of sheer curiosity but now it's very much censured by society. I.e. kids have always done "I'll show you mine..." or mooning other kids...but now they're kicked out of school for doing so...even if it was not a aggressor/victim relationship.


Some of them may be abused or getting ideas from the media, but that doesn't mean the schooling isn't contributing as well. Sure kids have always done things like mooning, "playing doctor," etc. but I do think it's gotten worse. More graphic and explicit. Kindergarteners are taunting each other with words I didn't know until I was a teenager, and I am *not* that old. "The Media" is an easy target for this, but generally unless kids are being neglected, they do not get values from the media, especially so young. The media might be sending those messages more explicitly, but I don't think kids would pick up on them so easily unless there were adults in their lives sending the same messages.

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Do you really think that in societies with no sex ed in the schools, there's less sexual harrassment and rape? Or is it just unreported? I'm having an extremely difficult time swallowing this argument in any form.


I don't know. Many things are unreported, as you say, so I don't know if anything can actually be proven either way. But I don't think sex ed *causes* these problems; I think it's a symptom and a reflection of society. But I am talking about sexual harrassment among young children. Rape is a totally separate matter which is usually (not always, but usually) a matter of violence and control rather than sexual desire. So I really don't think it's the same thing at all.
post #124 of 193
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Originally Posted by NoHiddenFees
The sex ed program I went though in Canada didn't do this. We talked about different diseases and birth control methods, sure. Even got to touch a condom. But the teacher made clear to us that sex was a potential minefield and we talked about why.
I think that is part of the problem--the potential minefields of sex are discussed in high school when they think the kids can understand it, but the other message is the more prevalent in the earlier grades.

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I don't agree with your supposition that the educational establishment is "trying" to do this, or even doing it. I'd need to see some evidence.


I don't have any, only my own personal observations. As I said earlier, I learned about the idea of a link between early childhood sex ed and child-on-child sexual harrassment from the book "A Return to Modesty" by Wendy Shalit, which is not about sex ed but is about the "free love" culture and the problems it causes. But she didn't really cite evidence for her sex ed-childhood harrassment theory, just her personal observation. I really think these things are almost impossible to measure.

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Remember the study that came out a couple years back about students taking a pledge to remain virgins? While on average, the age of first intercourse was delayed (I think by about 6 months, though it could be a bit more), those students were less likely to have protected sex. IIRC, they were also no less likely to engage in oral and anal sex than their non-pledged peers.
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Sex education in Europe is ubiquitous and typically not abstinence based, yet the rate of teen pregnancy and rate of most STD's are lower. See the Wikipedia entry on sex education and this page from Advocates for Youth for statistics. Why the big difference? Education? Culture?


I don't agree with "abstinence-only" sex ed either, although not for the reasons you cite. I think probably the difference in Europe is probably because of culture, and the educational establishment reinforces that culture. I have views on this, too, but I won't offend any Europeans or those who love them by sharing them .

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Who is actually supposed to be telling him this? Even the staunchest supporters of meaninful sex ed would be aghast if someone were teaching this, and here you're claiming it's an institutionalized practice.


It isn't a matter of their teaching this in the sense that it's printed in a textbook or lesson plan somewhere; it's an implied undercurrent. It's what *isn't* being taught or talked about. It's seemingly innocuous messages that reinforce a certain worldview.

I also don't agree with most sex ed supporters and educational establishment types that "meaningful" means "values-neutral."
post #125 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brigianna
Honestly I have no idea what goes on in my school district. I'm not involved in it so I don't care. I know, I know, I'm still a citizen and all that, but I'm just so anti-school in general that I think any decisions made by our local cabal of a school board are just repainting a sinking ship. But when I was in school, we started sex ed in 4th grade.

Some of them may be abused or getting ideas from the media, but that doesn't mean the schooling isn't contributing as well.
Well, you're the one saying that Kindergarteners and First graders are learning about sex at school and that's how they learn how to sexually harrass. So I assumed that you knew where this was happening.

The day any school, anywhere teaches children the words to an Usher song in class, will be rather amusing and highly unlikely. I totally agree they learn it from adults - those in their home. My kid knows few "bad words" because we don't say them at home and don't let her watch MTV. In other places I've worked, I saw many families for whom that was not true.

I think that sexual harrassment and rape are on the same continuum. Sexual harrassment in an aggressor/victim relationship is very much about power and control.

I think it sounds like this Wendy Shalit has a big axe to grind and will probably look for ways to justify her thesis that free love and liberalism has created all modern day problems, which are actually old-age problems. And according to book excerpts, she also says that women who dress immodestly bring abuse upon themselves. Hmm. Was that true for slave women in the US South? Is that true in Egypt? Plenty of modesty to go around, but not so much with the respect.
post #126 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brigianna
I don't have any, only my own personal observations. As I said earlier, I learned about the idea of a link between early childhood sex ed and child-on-child sexual harrassment from the book "A Return to Modesty" by Wendy Shalit, which is not about sex ed but is about the "free love" culture and the problems it causes. But she didn't really cite evidence for her sex ed-childhood harrassment theory, just her personal observation. I really think these things are almost impossible to measure.
They are only impossible to measure if you lack hard statistics to back up your claims, as is apparently the case with Ms. Shalit.

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I think probably the difference in Europe is probably because of culture, and the educational establishment reinforces that culture. I have views on this, too, but I won't offend any Europeans or those who love them by sharing them .
So culture and sex education are responsible for the lower rates? And this is bad?

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It isn't a matter of their teaching this in the sense that it's printed in a textbook or lesson plan somewhere; it's an implied undercurrent. It's what *isn't* being taught or talked about. It's seemingly innocuous messages that reinforce a certain worldview.
If you can't show any statistics to back up your claim, and indeed can't even state where children are taught penises and vaginas and "just another body part" like a hand, or where or how they are taught that "sex has no more moral, emotional, or spiritual significance" (all from a very tender age), then I don't see how you can make the claim.

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I also don't agree with most sex ed supporters and educational establishment types that "meaningful" means "values-neutral."
Please explain how you think it should be presented. I'm assuming this means that a moral component should be emphasized? Is it the job of the schools to shape our children's morals? Aside from the universals of lying, stealing, killing, etc. whose set should they pick?
post #127 of 193
Heh-heh...Mooning...heh-heh....

One thing that I'd like to mention regarding the sex ed in school, etc.. debate is that the older kids, 4th and 5th graders, also sometimes teach the younger kids the words, terms, etc... So even if it's not being taught directly to the youngest kids, they hear it from the older ones at school because schools can't provide the kind of supervision for so many kids that's necessary to prevent it. I'm angry that my son learned the f----- b---- term in kindergarten. We purposely don't cuss, smoke, etc (although we did all manner of stuff in college!) because we want to be good examples for our son. We limit violent TV shows, but there are bullies at school. And with bullies, again the lack of adequate supervision comes into play. With the drugs campaign at school, I was shocked that the pre-k kids were included! I didn't like having to discuss drugs with my 4 year old. That wasn't the school's call. OK-I'm rambling here.

Something very disturbing happened in our state a couple months ago on a public school bus. This was in a small town where all the grades rode the same bus. After school one day a 4 year old boy was assaulted by a 14 year old boy on the bus. Sexually assaulted. The bus driver didn't know anything about it apparently, which is odd since a camera posted in the front of the bus picked up on it and even the sounds of the boy saying, "No! My mommy says no! That hurts!" When I heard that on the news, it was really chilling.

I guess my point is that young children do need some sheltering. And public schools often aren't capable of providing the amount of supervision that's needed to protect kids. Wanting to shelter and protect your kids is a valid reason for homeschooling, as it is for choosing to live in a safe neighborhood in a safe part of town.
post #128 of 193
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Originally Posted by momofcutie

One thing that I'd like to mention regarding the sex ed in school, etc.. debate is that the older kids, 4th and 5th graders, also sometimes teach the younger kids the words, terms, etc....
Now see, I do agree that this happens. Another argument for no all-school recess, in my book. The only ones we've looked at (and we're probably homeschooling next year) are schools that separate children at recess by two grades at the most.

That said, there are a lot of really sweet, cool older children who don't teach younger kids dirty words or do horrible things. We hear and repeat those stories that have significance due to their shocking nature. And that is a horrible story, about the boy on the school bus. I cannot imagine sending a four year old on a school bus, either though.

To be honest, one of my fears that I feel afraid of that if I HS, that the other HS group parents will be really into sheltering their children and not let their kids play with my little nonreligious, vegetarian, silly with the potty humor (we say yes to captain underpants), likes swords and pirate play, no-santa-claus kid. She is very well-behaved, but she is also her own person. Because if I wanted to shelter her from the dastardly meat-eating world, I certainly could, but that would be kinda crappy on my part and really really isolate her. I do feel like our home is strong enough to help her make her own choices, and they will be good ones...but sometimes she might mistakes. But I don't want her to grow up with only sheltered friends and have all of her playdates mommy monitored. I really feel like kids need kid time without the sanctimonious, all-seeing Eye of Mommy making sure what she does always reflects our family values.
post #129 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
Well, you're the one saying that Kindergarteners and First graders are learning about sex at school and that's how they learn how to sexually harrass. So I assumed that you knew where this was happening.
No, no, I didn't mean that kids *learn to sexually harass* from sex ed, but that the way it is taught without any moral context doesn't sufficiently teach kids the power of sexuality.

I started sex ed in 4th grade. We just learned straight biological facts with no context, and we were constantly reprimanded to "not be embarrassed." *Maybe* this was the rare approach, but I doubt it. I have no idea when they start sex ed in the public schools these days; I'm sure it varies by place, but I have read *parenting* books that say that parents should teach their kids about sex and reproduction without any moral context and actively try to undermine kids' natural sense of modesty from preschool age. In my sleep-deprived state, I was probably conflating the parenting books with school curriculum, which is of course my fault. In any case, I disagree with the idea, no matter who's advancing it. But I'll take your word for it that the schools aren't teaching this as young as I thought.

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The day any school, anywhere teaches children the words to an Usher song in class, will be rather amusing and highly unlikely. I totally agree they learn it from adults - those in their home. My kid knows few "bad words" because we don't say them at home and don't let her watch MTV. In other places I've worked, I saw many families for whom that was not true.


I don't even know who Usher is--a singer? Is he the guy who sings the "pimp" song? You could be right that they're learning it at home, in which case these things are more widespread than I thought.

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I think that sexual harrassment and rape are on the same continuum. Sexual harrassment in an aggressor/victim relationship is very much about power and control.
In very young children, though? Children who really don't know any better?

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I think it sounds like this Wendy Shalit has a big axe to grind and will probably look for ways to justify her thesis that free love and liberalism has created all modern day problems, which are actually old-age problems. And according to book excerpts, she also says that women who dress immodestly bring abuse upon themselves. Hmm. Was that true for slave women in the US South? Is that true in Egypt? Plenty of modesty to go around, but not so much with the respect.


She isn't criticizing liberalism; she says several times in the book that she doesn't advocate enforcing or legislating these ideas but just thinks there should be more mainstream cultural acceptance for them. And she isn't saying that abuse is caused by immodesty, but that if people don't respect themselves, they're less likely to be respected by others. If a woman treats herself like a sex object, men are more likely to treat her that way. I do think it's silly for women to spend so much time, money, and effort on clothes, makeup, etc. intended to convey "look at me! I'm sexy! See my hot sexy body!" and then get offended when men leer at them.
post #130 of 193
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Originally Posted by NoHiddenFees
They are only impossible to measure if you lack hard statistics to back up your claims, as is apparently the case with Ms. Shalit.
What could you measure? We're talking about the effect of certain intangible ideas on a culture. I don't think statistics can measure that.

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So culture and sex education are responsible for the lower rates? And this is bad?


Lower std rates are certainly a good thing. I'm less sure about pregnency. But that isn't what I'm disagreeing with about the European way. I'll admit to being prejudiced, but the book "Brave New World" comes to mind when I think of the current EU... I think there is a price to pay for what they're doing.

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If you can't show any statistics to back up your claim, and indeed can't even state where children are taught penises and vaginas and "just another body part" like a hand, or where or how they are taught that "sex has no more moral, emotional, or spiritual significance" (all from a very tender age), then I don't see how you can make the claim.


I wasn't making a claim, I was speculating about a cultural phenomenon. Actually, I was repeating a speculation about a cultual phenomenon that I'd read in a non-scientific opinion-based book.

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Please explain how you think it should be presented. I'm assuming this means that a moral component should be emphasized? Is it the job of the schools to shape our children's morals? Aside from the universals of lying, stealing, killing, etc. whose set should they pick?


I don't think it should be presented at all. To the extent I believe public schools should exist, which I'm not sure they should, they should limit their teachings to facts and leave religion, politics, and sex out of it.

I don't think a governmental institution, which a public school is, should be dictating morality of any kind. That's why I'm against abstinence-only sex ed, too; I believe in sexual chastity for religious reasons, but other people don't, and it is discriminatory towards them to have their tax dollars going to promote moral beliefs that they don't agree with.

It also doesn't surprise me at all that abstinence-only programs aren't effective, and it isn't because, as the anti-abstinence people claim, people are incapable of sexual self-control. It's because they're trying to teach something that is a moral value but without any moral context, the same as "character ed" or "tolerance training" or any of the other failed social experiments making their way through the public school system. Giving a speech at an assembly, or over the course of a 6-week class, or showing some psa commercials, is not going to inspire people to change their behavior. *Why* should they do these things--because someone told them to? That's not a good enough reason. But our leaders seem to think that giving a speech with no context constitutes "education."
post #131 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
To be honest, one of my fears that I feel afraid of that if I HS, that the other HS group parents will be really into sheltering their children and not let their kids play with my little nonreligious, vegetarian, silly with the potty humor (we say yes to captain underpants), likes swords and pirate play, no-santa-claus kid. She is very well-behaved, but she is also her own person. Because if I wanted to shelter her from the dastardly meat-eating world, I certainly could, but that would be kinda crappy on my part and really really isolate her. I do feel like our home is strong enough to help her make her own choices, and they will be good ones...but sometimes she might mistakes. But I don't want her to grow up with only sheltered friends and have all of her playdates mommy monitored. I really feel like kids need kid time without the sanctimonious, all-seeing Eye of Mommy making sure what she does always reflects our family values.
If I lived near you I would love to have my kids play with yours! And I only monitor to make sure everyone is fully clothed and no one is getting hurt--beyond that they can do what they want. We're not all an intolerant bunch
post #132 of 193
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Originally Posted by Brigianna
.....if you leave a pile of money unguarded on a table, it will be in my individual best interest to take it, and I will do so, *unless* I
a) am afraid of being caught and punished, or
b) have a sense of morality that tells me that stealing is wrong.
Agreed.

I just don't agree that belief in the supernatural is necessary in order to have a sense of morality. Nor do I agree that a belief in the supernatural automatically gives one a sense of morality.

Your definition of immoral may differ from mine. My boys have been taught that lying, sneaking, cheating and stealing are not desirable behaviors. They've been taught that girls are people and not objects. Animals are living creatures and not toys. Problems are best solved by talking, not hitting. They've been taught to take personal responsibility for their actions and not play the victim or shift blame. And we stress being thankful for the things we have rather than bemoan the things we don't have.
post #133 of 193
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Originally Posted by Brigianna
What could you measure? We're talking about the effect of certain intangible ideas on a culture. I don't think statistics can measure that.
Oh gosh, there's lots of measurable stuff here. Many of the data sets already exist and wouldn't require too much more work. Teen pregnancy rates and STD (diagnosed) are known factors. Which school districts teach what kind of sex ed, if any, is known. The breakdown of religion by number of households is known. Education level of households and socio economic status. Media exposure is measurable (how much TV watching vs how much radio vs how much internet, etc.) and content can be analysed to a certain degree. Attitudes can be surveyed. How do you think they know the average age at which kids engage in different sexual activities, or have their first drink? No survey is 100% accurate, but trends can definitely be noted and spatial analysis made (an important part is consistency). Legal abortion rates are known, as well as education level etc. of those having them. This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much that can be found out to help us understand better. I'm not suggesting that any of the characteristcs define who we are, or who are children are, but it's the group that's being analysed, not the individual.

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Lower std rates are certainly a good thing. I'm less sure about pregnency. But that isn't what I'm disagreeing with about the European way. I'll admit to being prejudiced, but the book "Brave New World" comes to mind when I think of the current EU... I think there is a price to pay for what they're doing.
I have no idea what you're talking about, but shan't pursue because of the forum.

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I don't think a governmental institution, which a public school is, should be dictating morality of any kind. That's why I'm against abstinence-only sex ed, too; I believe in sexual chastity for religious reasons, but other people don't, and it is discriminatory towards them to have their tax dollars going to promote moral beliefs that they don't agree with.
The argument is of course that it's also a health issue and that many children don't get adequate exposure to facts at home. Unfortunately, most sex ed programs in this country (being abstinence based) seen to be weak on meaning facts as well. We don't live in a perfect world: HIV and HPV exists, period and neither will be cured by a course of penicillin.
post #134 of 193
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Originally Posted by 2tadpoles
Agreed.

I just don't agree that belief in the supernatural is necessary in order to have a sense of morality. Nor do I agree that a belief in the supernatural automatically gives one a sense of morality.
I don't think that either. The writer of the article I was responding to seemed to suggest that because humans could logically figure out that certain behaviors were bad for society, people would refrain from doing these things without benefit of any moral sense. That's what I was disagreeing with, and why I made the point about individual vs. collective interest.

I do have a problem with ethical systems like secular humanism, which I'm assuming that writer is, but that is really another day's topic.

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Your definition of immoral may differ from mine. My boys have been taught that lying, sneaking, cheating and stealing are not desirable behaviors. They've been taught that girls are people and not objects. Animals are living creatures and not toys. Problems are best solved by talking, not hitting. They've been taught to take personal responsibility for their actions and not play the victim or shift blame. And we stress being thankful for the things we have rather than bemoan the things we don't have.


I don't think our definitions are different; I agree with everything you listed here. I think most people would, at least in theory.
post #135 of 193
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Originally Posted by NoHiddenFees
Oh gosh, there's lots of measurable stuff here. Many of the data sets already exist and wouldn't require too much more work. Teen pregnancy rates and STD (diagnosed) are known factors. Which school districts teach what kind of sex ed, if any, is known. The breakdown of religion by number of households is known. Education level of households and socio economic status. Media exposure is measurable (how much TV watching vs how much radio vs how much internet, etc.) and content can be analysed to a certain degree. Attitudes can be surveyed. How do you think they know the average age at which kids engage in different sexual activities, or have their first drink? No survey is 100% accurate, but trends can definitely be noted and spatial analysis made (an important part is consistency). Legal abortion rates are known, as well as education level etc. of those having them. This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much that can be found out to help us understand better. I'm not suggesting that any of the characteristcs define who we are, or who are children are, but it's the group that's being analysed, not the individual.
Okay, I understand all that, but I wasn't talking about std rates or household education level or drinking or abortion rates. I simply raised the question of whether the cultural atmosphere associated with early, morality-neutral sex ed contributed to the rise of sexually inappropriate behavior of very young children--not actual sexual activity but things like sexual taunting, obscenity, grabbing at clothes, etc. Behaviors that I have personally seen in children who could not have been older than 8 or so. That is an intangible that I don't think can be measured statistically the way rates of disease or education levels can.

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I have no idea what you're talking about, but shan't pursue because of the forum.


I just meant that for all the visible benefits of the European system, I think the people pay a price in individual and cultural freedom.

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The argument is of course that it's also a health issue and that many children don't get adequate exposure to facts at home. Unfortunately, most sex ed programs in this country (being abstinence based) seen to be weak on meaning facts as well. We don't live in a perfect world: HIV and HPV exists, period and neither will be cured by a course of penicillin.


Well, I don't really think the government should be involved in health issues, either. They should restrict things that hurt people indiscriminately, like pollution or tainted food, but if a person chooses to willfully engage in risky behavior like having sex with strangers or taking drugs or drinking to excess or eating nothing but twinkies and cough syrup, I don't think that's anyone's business but the person involved.

Do you support mandatory vaccination? Do you support making the HPV vaccine mandatory, as is being proposed?

Governments do some things very well, and there are some things they *can* do well with the right people, but there are some things that, no matter who happens to be in power at any given moment, no matter what "reforms" are made, they will never be able to do well. Three things I think they can never do well and should give up trying are health, education, and regulating morality (especially sexual).
post #136 of 193
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Originally Posted by Brigianna
Well, I don't really think the government should be involved in health issues, either. They should restrict things that hurt people indiscriminately, like pollution or tainted food, but if a person chooses to willfully engage in risky behavior like having sex with strangers or taking drugs or drinking to excess or eating nothing but twinkies and cough syrup, I don't think that's anyone's business but the person involved.
I agree, to a point. However, I also think though that it's our responsiblity as a society to make sure that people have enough information to make an informed choice (and the negotiating skills with which to execute their denial), especially children who may be engaging in these risky behaviors that can affect the rest of their lives.

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Do you support mandatory vaccination? Do you support making the HPV vaccine mandatory, as is being proposed?
Nope. But I can't equate an invasive procedure which deposits chemicals in one's body with the giving of information. A better questions would be whether I support schools teaching that vaccines benefits outweigh their risks. Most people believe that's true, but those who don't agree (we selectively vax) can give their children MORE information at home.

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Governments do some things very well, and there are some things they *can* do well with the right people, but there are some things that, no matter who happens to be in power at any given moment, no matter what "reforms" are made, they will never be able to do well. Three things I think they can never do well and should give up trying are health, education, and regulating morality (especially sexual).
Choosing to conflate health and education, I again agree with you to a point. However, you have to ask yourself what the alternative is. Without public schools, what happens to those children whose parents can't, won't or don't have the resources, capabilities or money to school their own? For all our decrying (a la Holt and Gatto) the state, purpose and methodologies of public schools, what precisely would you consider the alternative to be? There are also many (at least 80% of families with school aged children in our city) who don't agree with this and think their children can and should receive a quality public education.
post #137 of 193
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Originally Posted by Brigianna
Okay, I understand all that, but I wasn't talking about std rates or household education level or drinking or abortion rates. I simply raised the question of whether the cultural atmosphere associated with early, morality-neutral sex ed contributed to the rise of sexually inappropriate behavior of very young children--not actual sexual activity but things like sexual taunting, obscenity, grabbing at clothes, etc. Behaviors that I have personally seen in children who could not have been older than 8 or so. That is an intangible that I don't think can be measured statistically the way rates of disease or education levels can.
It's not the same kind of data, but it can be done. The problem is we don't have sufficient data at present. After Columbine, bullying was the topic du jour and there were a number of studies done on the subject of bullying. IIRC, it was found that bullies tend to be from middle class families and don't have much in the way of supervision from their parents.

But as your question. Americans are bombarded with sexual messages on a daily basis. Our family doesn't watch commercial TV or listen to radio, have Maxim or the like in the house, but there's no way to avoid billboards of scantiliy clad women preparing to fellate beer bottles. More and more I notice pictures objectifying and sexualizing women (probably because I have daughters). I think blaming sex-ed for the young children's sexually oriented behaviour is like blaming a person who left a tap dripping on a boat for it sinking when there's a big hole in the bottom of the boat. But as much as this bothers me, I'm much more concerned about images glorifying violence and aggression.

I do know that the rates of physical and sexual abuse is very high in children who are the instigators of child-on-child sexual abuse. Because these incidents are even now unreported (so neither child receives adequate therapy or other help) and have traditionally been so, it's not clear exactly how much the rate is increasing, if at all (though I suspect it is). Reported incidents are increasing, but then we live in a society that will harshly punish children for schoolyard transgressions that would hardly have drawn any attention even 30 years ago... so it's no big surprise that something serious like sexual abuse would be reported more often.
post #138 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoHiddenFees
I agree, to a point. However, I also think though that it's our responsiblity as a society to make sure that people have enough information to make an informed choice (and the negotiating skills with which to execute their denial), especially children who may be engaging in these risky behaviors that can affect the rest of their lives.
I agree that information--all of it--should be widely available. And it is, for the most part. In fact there's so much misinformation and biased information out there it's often hard to separate the truth from the other stuff. And yet that's what we all have to do; we have to use logic and critical thinking to figure out the truth--not skills widely taught in public schools. Presenting one side of information and using it to tell people, especially children, what they *should* do or how they *should* feel isn't information-giving, it's propaganda. And as far as I know, all public supporters of sex ed agree that it should be advocacy, they only disagree about whether to advocate abstinence or contraception or both.

The decision whether, when, under what circumstances, and with whom to engage in any kind of sexual activity is an intensely personal decision informed by moral beliefs, personal comfort, relationships, desires, and feelings as well as health and biological concerns. I don't believe the government should have any right to weigh in on this personal matter (as long as it's consensual and all that good stuff).

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Nope. But I can't equate an invasive procedure which deposits chemicals in one's body with the giving of information. A better questions would be whether I support schools teaching that vaccines benefits outweigh their risks. Most people believe that's true, but those who don't agree (we selectively vax) can give their children MORE information at home.


Okay, but the same logic that is used to support sex ed is also invoked to support mandatory vaxing--that all-encompassing monolith called "public health." And while *I* agree with you that vaccines are "invasive procedures which deposit chemicals in one's body," *most people* consider them harmless minor procedures that prevent diseases and save lives. And I consider the state's advocating a particular sexual ethic to young children every bit as invasive as a vaccine, if less immediately physically dangerous. Freedom of religion (which many people's sexual ethics are based in) is specifically enshrined in the American constitution; medical freedom is only a "derived" right that could be struck down at any time. So *legally* there is more grounds to object to sex ed than to mandatory vaxing (personally I think they should *both* be stringently protected, but I'm talking about what the law currently *is*)

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Choosing to conflate health and education, I again agree with you to a point. However, you have to ask yourself what the alternative is. Without public schools, what happens to those children whose parents can't, won't or don't have the resources, capabilities or money to school their own? For all our decrying (a la Holt and Gatto) the state, purpose and methodologies of public schools, what precisely would you consider the alternative to be? There are also many (at least 80% of families with school aged children in our city) who don't agree with this and think their children can and should receive a quality public education.


That's a good question, and I'm not really sure. I know there are some families for whom homeschooling is absolutely not an option. But I see it as similar to breastfeeding vs. formula--formula was invented for babies whose mothers were *not able* to breastfeed, and for those mothers it's necessary. The problem came when formula started to be considered the norm, the default, instead of a satisfactory substitute for when the norm wasn't an option. I think it's the same way with schools--our culture has come to see schooling as the norm, and hs'ing something that is done if there is some problem with the school system. I think it should be the other way around.

I'm still not sure there's a need for *public* schools, though, anymore than there's a need for taxpayer-funded formula. Ideally I think that the public education (k-12) should be abolished and parents who need financial help would be eligible for vouchers for the private school of their choice or subsidies to offset the costs of homeschooling. I know there's no political will for this though. I'm just running my little subversive revolution here, changing minds one at a time.
post #139 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoHiddenFees
It's not the same kind of data, but it can be done. The problem is we don't have sufficient data at present. After Columbine, bullying was the topic du jour and there were a number of studies done on the subject of bullying. IIRC, it was found that bullies tend to be from middle class families and don't have much in the way of supervision from their parents.
Okay, but it's still not hard facts. I admit I tend to be very skeptical of the social sciences in general, and when the studies are done by politically motivated agencies my skepticism increases.

Quote:
But as your question. Americans are bombarded with sexual messages on a daily basis. Our family doesn't watch commercial TV or listen to radio, have Maxim or the like in the house, but there's no way to avoid billboards of scantiliy clad women preparing to fellate beer bottles. More and more I notice pictures objectifying and sexualizing women (probably because I have daughters). I think blaming sex-ed for the young children's sexually oriented behaviour is like blaming a person who left a tap dripping on a boat for it sinking when there's a big hole in the bottom of the boat. But as much as this bothers me, I'm much more concerned about images glorifying violence and aggression.


Right. I am *not* letting pop culture off the hook here. But I think that, first of all, they're related--teachers and curriculum writers are influenced by the culture at large and are probably going to reflect it's values. The society and the curriculum feed off each other. The curriculum is also based on certain cultural assumptions, such as the idea that it's inherently undesirable to have children while young. Contraception-based sex ed assumes that students will have sex no matter what (i.e. they are incapable of sexual self-control) and that they should avoid becoming pregnant while doing so. Abstinence-based sex ed assumes that all students have the same values about sexual ethics, assumes that all students will make the same choice (abstinence) if they're lectured enough, and still assumes that pregnancy is inherently undesirable (since the whole curriculum is based on "if you have sex you could *gasp* get pregnant!"). I think all of these are flawed assumptions.

I also think that, especially with young children, it really does make a difference hearing these messages from an "authority figure." Many of the ads and other things are sort of self-consciously naughty, not necessarily advocating free love as a lifestyle (not that I'm justifying them, far from it, but I still think there's a difference). My kids giggle when they see billboards like that--"mama, that lady doesn't have a shirt on!"--because they know at some unspoken level that it's not acceptable. I think that a teacher, an authority figure, in the context of a class, is going to make more of an impression on their values, what they view as normal and acceptable.

Quote:
I do know that the rates of physical and sexual abuse is very high in children who are the instigators of child-on-child sexual abuse. Because these incidents are even now unreported (so neither child receives adequate therapy or other help) and have traditionally been so, it's not clear exactly how much the rate is increasing, if at all (though I suspect it is). Reported incidents are increasing, but then we live in a society that will harshly punish children for schoolyard transgressions that would hardly have drawn any attention even 30 years ago... so it's no big surprise that something serious like sexual abuse would be reported more often.


The rates of physical and sexual abuse are very high in society in general. But I see kids who I know have not been abused, at least no more so than any other mainstream-raised child, doing these things. And I'm not really even talking about things worthy of being reported--elementary school kids taunting each other, pulling at each others clothes, things like that. I heard a 7 yr old describe someone as "gay"--I didn't know what that meant until I was a teenager (granted I was pretty sheltered, but still). Kids teasing each other on the playground--"oh she's a slut, she did [whomever]"--where are they getting this stuff? At the very least, I think the parents, teachers, whoever's supposed to be supervising, are guilty of negligence.
post #140 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brigianna
I'm not familiar with that particular program, but there is Pagan influence (I don't know about occult) in a lot of educational materials. References to "Mother Earth," "universal spirit of nature," etc. Maybe that's what she was referring to.

Can you give any examples? because i would be interested in finding educational materials with that kind of thing in them, but have never seen any.
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