Monday, September 1, 2008

Sex Education Began In the 1960s

The Vision of the Anointed, Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy
By Thomas Sowell

The relevant part I quote from comes from pages 15-21, and it is entitled “Sex Education”. You can find it on Google books at the link above.

Sex Education

Sowell talks about the origin of sex education in public schools, tracing the origins back to the 1960s. In 1968, “fertility rates among teenage girls had actually been declining for more than a decade since 1957. Venereal disease was also declining. The rate of infection for gonorrhea, for example, declined every year from 1950 through 1959, and the rate of syphilis infection was, by 1960, less than half of what it had been in 1950. This was the “crisis” which federal aid was to solve.”

And how did that work out?

“As early as 1968, nearly half of all schools in the country—public and private, religious and secular—had sex education, and it was rapidly growing. As sex education programs spread widely though the American educational system during the 1970s, the pregnancy rate among 15- to 19-year old females rose from approximately 68 per thousand in 1970 to approximately 96 per thousand by 1980. Among unmarried girls in the 15- to 17-year old bracket, birth rates rose 29 percent between 1970 and 1984, despite a massive increase in abortions, which more than doubled during the same period. Among girls under 15, the number of abortions surpassed the number of live births by 1974. The reason was not hard to find: According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the percentage of unmarried teenage girls who had engaged in sex was higher at every age from 15 through 19 by 1976 that it was just five years earlier. The rate of teenage gonorrhea tripled between 1956 and 1975. Sargent Shriver, former head of the Office of Economic Opportunity, which led the early charge for more sex education and “family planning” clinics, testified candidly to a congressional committee in 1978: “Just as venereal disease has skyrocketed 350% in the last 15 years when we have more clinics, more pills, and more sex education than ever in history, teen-age pregnancy has risen.”

I had to type that all myself. Two paragraphs shouldn't get me hit with a copyright violation. It is on Google Books anyway. Check out the whole section, or indeed the whole volume.

He made the same points more succinctly in his book “Inside American Education”:

p. 63
“Teenage pregnancy was declining, over a period of more than a dozen years, before so-called "sex education" programs spread rapidly through American schools in the 1970s. Teenage pregnancies then rose sharply, along with federal expenditures on "sex education" programs and "family-planning" clinics, many located in schools. The pregnancy rate among 15 to 19 year old females was approximately 68 per thousand in 1970 and 96 per thousand in 1980.

.....Fertility rates among teenage girls had been declining since 1957, long before the massive, federally funded programs of the 1970s and before Roe v. Wade made abortion legal in 1973.”

Outside of the crack epidemic and AIDs, it seems as if every bad trend in America started in the 1960s. Does it surprise anyone that a government program to reduce pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases was followed with more pregnancy and more sexually transmitted diseases?

You also have to add in the fact that great society programs started to expand welfare in the 1960s, giving a financial incentive from the government to become a single mother. That may have had a bigger impact than sex education. Not only do you get what you pay for with government, whatever you pay for you get more of?

And what did we do when these programs showed negative results? The answer is obvious, they must have been underfunded. Nothing says job security like a failed government program. Sphere: Related Content

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