Mr. Teacher wrote awhile back about a proposal to teach FOUR-year-olds about sex in Great Britain as a means to prevent abortion, pregnancy and disease:
"This has been a contentious issue in education for a long time and it is one that I have strong feelings about. I agree that more needs to be done in order to cut our relatively very high abortion rate as well as our relatively very high number of STD's among teenagers. I do not agree, however, with the idea of placing the onus of resolving this problem entirely on to schools and teachers.
Those of you who read this blog on a regular basis will already know that I am angered and frustrated by the growing number of selfish, incompetent parents who view their children as an inconvenience and who do not equip them with the requisite behavioural and social skills to be able to cope well at school, or indeed any public environment, and thereafter contribute positively to society as well-mannered, successful adults. And when I say parents, I am not so out of touch with present reality as to assume that every child is living with a mother and a father. I am very much aware of the varied dynamics of the houses - not always homes - that many of my students come out of in the morning. This certainly makes things complicated and more difficult- not impossible.
Making it compulsory for schools to deliver sex education to students at such a young age would serve only to further shift the responsibility away from parents, many of whom are already failing to properly fulfil their roles. I do agree that some level of sex, sexual health and relationship education should be a part of the school curriculum. However, I also believe that the majority of the input and information - the core guidance - should come from the home. "
Mr. Teacher teaches students near London, but we have the same sorts of problems with parents here in America. MORE sex education isn't really the answer, just as feeding low-income children breakfast at public schools isn't going to help these families parent more effectively. MORE options at public schools for "latchkey" children isn't going to help families become stronger; it's going to foster dependence on the system. And it's going to reinforce the notion in EVERYONE'S mind that such things are the school's job.
I suppose schools are responding to market forces. Parents want the latchkey care and there's a large clamour, so the schools provide it. Parents want their children to have an opportunity to have a nutritious breakfast AND lunch, so the schools provide it. I knew folks who had very little money who were struggling but making it before schools provided breakfast years and years ago. But once programs like this are in place, it's very difficult to take away "from the children." I could very easily see the same families freak out if they HAD free breakfasts for their children, and then it were "taken" from them.
It's also becoming increasingly difficult to enforce parental rights in schools with this sort of attitude. I homeschool my middle two boys, but I also have two older boys in Junior High and High School. I have yet to receive a form asking my PERMISSION to talk to my sons about condoms, homosexuality and contraception. The school simply assumes permission is given and as the parent, I have to opt my children out of such teaching EVERY semester with EVERY individual teacher. The school refuses blanket opt-out forms and assumes you're ok with whatever is on the curriculum. Now, you know as much as I love my boys, I can't research and read EVERY book that they'll be studying. I know to look in the "health" department for problem areas, and I peruse some of the literature selections. I'm probably not the most effective parent in this regard, but apparently I'm the ONLY one that opts her children out of the portions of health class dealing with "sexuality."
But it's difficult. Do you think I like emailing Mr. R or Mr. S and writing the word "sex" to him personally and emailing it? It's one thing for me to talk about such things in general terms on my blog to a general "y'all." It's another to send a *personal* letter to a *man* and use the word "sex" inside it. OK, I'm squeamish about the whole thing. At first, I called, but it's even MORE difficult to SAY the word "sex" to a man alone on the phone than it is to type it. I want to hide.
But anyway... my kids, my responsibility. So I type the word, cringe, and hit "send." Welcome back to a new school year!