We are seeing more evidence every day that policy-makers are finally waking up from the nightmare that is abstinence-only sex education. The latest case-in-point: Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst will deliver the keynote address at the Oct. 26 state conference for the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. This is significant because the Texas Campaign is a leading proponent of evidence-based, comprehensive sex education (i.e. teaching students more than just abstinence). It’s right on the group’s homepage:
- The most effective health and sexuality education is abstinence-first, age-appropriate and comprehensive.
- The use of evidenced-based, effective curricula and programs reduce teen pregnancy.
If Dewhurst’s appearance at this conference isn’t proof that responsible, comprehensive sex education has entered the mainstream, we don’t know what is. Add this to recent decisions by a number of Texas school districts to boot their abstinence-only programs in favor of curricula that includes information about contraception… and the TFN Education Fund’s recent statewide poll revealing that 80% of likely voters in the state favor “teaching about contraception, such as condoms and other birth control, along with abstinence, in high school sex education classes”… and you are left with a provocative question:
Could Texas finally be nearing a tipping point in the struggle to move beyond our failed abstinence-only policies?
We’ll get a definitive answer to that question in the spring when lawmakers return to Austin for the legislative session. Previous efforts to change the abstinence-only focus in the state’s education code have been blocked by nervous politicians who fear a backlash from conservative constituents. But it is becoming clear that the overwhelming majority of Texans are ready to move past those failed policies that have consistently made Texas one of the worst states in the country when it comes to the teen birthrate. Let’s hope more politicians follow Lt. Gov. Dewhurst’s example.
If you are interested in helping TFN make the case for common-sense sex education policy, here are a few easy ways to get involved:
- Sign our “Education Works” petition calling on lawmakers to change our state’s policy on sex education policy,
- Join our effort to improve sex education in local school districts by volunteering to serve on a local School Health Advisory Council,
- Read the TFN Education Fund’s report on sex education in Texas public schools,
- Donate to the Texas Freedom Network and support our work for responsible, evidence-based sex education in public schools.
And register to attend the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy’s conference in Austin in October. A great group doing excellent work.