Texas Still Refusing Reality-Based Sex Ed

The Texas Freedom Network sends along this information:

Texas has the third-highest teen birthrate in the nation. In fact, a Texas teen gets pregnant every 10 minutes, and teen childbearing costs the state’s taxpayers $1 billion annually. Yet at least twice in the past year state agencies halted efforts to apply for millions of dollars in federal Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) grants for teen pregnancy- and STD-prevention following discussions with Gov. Perry’s office. PREP’s purpose is to educate youth ages 10-19 on both abstinence and contraception for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. But Gov. Perry supports abstinence-only policies that are common throughout most Texas public schools.

But it gets worse:

Moreover, the state has now failed to follow through on at least two efforts to obtain substantial funding for evidence-based, abstinence-plus sex education:

In August 2010, the state Department of State Health Services (DSHS) drafted an application for $4.4 million in federal PREP funding for the state, but the application was pulled at the last minute. A DSHS official told the Texas Tribune: “The [Health and Human Services] Executive Commissioner [Tom Suehs] made the final decision, and the governor’s office was part of that discussion.” (Texas Tribune)

TFN has now learned that another state effort – this time by the Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) – to apply for PREP funding ended in April 2011. The OAG worked in collaboration with a number of other state agencies (including DSHS, the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board) and representatives from various private and nonprofit health organizations. On April 21, just as the PREP grant application appeared to be completed and following a meeting with the governor’s office, the OAG pulled the plug on the project. Documents obtained by TFN under the Texas Public Information Act indicate that the sudden decision to end the project dismayed staff members and individuals from the various agencies collaborating on the grant. The OAG has refused to release all documents related to the project, citing attorney-client privilege and exemptions for certain interagency or intra-agency memoranda under the state’s open records act.

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  • raven

    It’s just one of the more common and charming fundie xian rituals.

    Human child sacrifice.

    In this case, they are sacrificing their children’s futures and health on the altar of Oogedy Boogedy toxic xian death cults.

    Sometimes they do more than that and just kill them. By witholding medical treatment or just beating and torturing them to death.

  • otrame

    They don’t care about the evidence. They don’t care about the kids. They have sold their decency and integrity to a band of liars and thieves and their own children suffer for it and THEY DON’T CARE. I am not talking just about Texans, I talking about all of them. It makes me so sad and so mad.

  • danielrudolph

    To be fair, Texas opposes most forms of reality-based education.

  • Ellie

    So, personal responsibility is a good thing….except when it isn’t? Is there a handbook somewhere in Texas (and I’m sure it’s not just Texas) so people know when it’s a Good Thing and when it’s Evil?

  • rmw1982

    We had abstinence only sex-ed when I was in high school. It consisted of the disingenuous “contraception is not effective” and showing pictures of disease-ridden genitalia with the unspoken warning “If you have sex, you’ll get a horrible, nasty disease and you’ll deserve!” Unsurprisingly, my high school also had one of the highest student pregnancy rates in the state.

    Seriously, why do these people not see that lack of education leads to higher teen birth rates? Oh yeah, because comprehensive sex education will make kids have sex. /sarcasm

  • eric

    Let’s give credit where it’s due: Texas’ career civil servants aren’t opposing good sex ed. Quite the contrary, they are attempting to get money from the feds to implement it. It’s the political office-holders and appointees that are opposing it.

    And, being Texas, I would guess the civil service is pretty conservative too. This is not simply an example of conservatives ignoring reality. Rather, it’s an example of the difference between a 20-year, merit-based-job conservative outlook and a 2-year, election-based-job conservative outlook.

  • raven

    Another recent example of xian human child sacrifice.

    Did you know xianity is the source of all morality?

    Komo.com edited for length:

    Couple pleads not guilty in homicide of adopted daughter

    By KOMO Staff Published: Oct 6, 2011 Case file: Parents starved and beat girl, locked her out in the cold

    MOUNT VERNON, Wash. – The parents of an adopted girl who died of exposure in her own backyard after she had been starved and abused for months pleaded not guilty to the charges Thursday.

    Larry P. Williams and Carri D. Williams of Sedro Woolley were arrested last week and later charged with homicide by abuse and assault of a child in the first degree in Skagit County Superior Court.

    Hana Williams was found dead in May – naked, face-down in the mud in her own backyard – after she had spent much of a cold, rainy day outside as a punishment, according to court documents.

    Although she died of hypothermia, there were other contributing causes to her death, including severe malnutrition and chronic gastritis, doctors said.

    Other punishments included locking Hana inside a dark closet for hours or days without food while the parents played the Bible on tape and Christian music for her while she was locked inside, according to court documents.

    A witness told investigators that the Williams got their ideas for the disciplinary measures from a book, “How to Train Up Your Child,” which recommends switchings with a plumbing tool, cold water baths, withholding food and putting children out in cold weather as forms of punishment.

    My note. Michael Pearl is a fundie minister. His book has killed several children.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Bravo to the Texas Freedom Network for wading into this hottest-of-hot-buttons educational fray!

    We can only hope that the National Center for Science Education, having finally expanded its scope beyond evolution to include global warming, will amass the guts and other resources necessary to follow TFN’s lead.

  • Ellie

    reaven @7 Why the odious, disgusting Pearls, who have been touting the criminal abuse of children for decades, are still walking around loose, is beyond me. Yes, I know they have 1st Amendment protection, but they teach child abuse. Shouldn’t that be against the law? I know their daughter has written an impassioned defense of them, but really? If your ten month old baby doesn’t come when he’s called…..get out the switch? Ten month old baby? But this is not advocating child abuse? Oh…because this switching isn’t punishment…it’s just to give weight to your words…to a ten month old infant. Not as bad I suppose, as switching a five month old babies legs for crawling up the stairs. Apparently baby gates are Bad Parenting, but beating babies is OK.

    Sorry for the OT rant. Mention of these people push my buttons. This won’t be the last child for whose death they are responsible.

  • ManOutOfTime

    Looking forward the the right’s upcoming aggressive “Guys: Keep It in Your Pants” campaign. Let’s get all unmarried Texas pols to sign on first!

  • jeevmon

    I haven’t lived here all that long, but I don’t think Texas promotes sitting indoors all day as a way of preventing auto accidents.

  • jameshanley

    a Texas teen gets pregnant every 10 minutes,

    Pretty good trick, considering gestation lasts 9 months.

  • jeevmon


    Actually, if you’re married to a Palin, the gestation period is considerably shorter.

  • slc1

    In order to understand the resistance of the born agains to non-abstinence sex education, one must understand that they consider pregnancy to be a just punishment for having sex outside of marriage.

  • ema


    Yes, but aren’t Texas’ career civil servants (as well as other voters, like the parents of those students) ultimately responsible for the disasters caused by the politicians they elect?

  • raven

    one must understand that they consider pregnancy to be a just punishment for having sex outside of marriage.

    Sure. Babies are very effective punishment devices.

    In the old days, it was once thought that they were actually people and would grow up and become adults.

  • eric

    Ema @15: Yes, but aren’t Texas’ career civil servants (as well as other voters, like the parents of those students) ultimately responsible…

    You can argue that voters are collectively responsible for the actions of their government. Do you really want to? That makes you responsible for our wars (no shirking – YOU are responsible).

    Its also the argument Al Qaeda uses to justify their attacks. I.e., U.S. civilians are directly responsible for the outcomes of U.S. international actions. Thus, voters can be legitimately attacked in response to those policies. This argument leads to the conclusion that every voter becomes a type of combatant by the nature of voting.

    Now, just because some whacko terrorists support an idea doesn’t automatically make it wrong. But it should make you pause and think – if you, as a voter, are unwilling to shoulder the blame for all the things your system hase done or does, then you should maybe cut voters in other systems the same slack you cut yourself.

  • lofgren

    if you, as a voter, are unwilling to shoulder the blame for all the things your system hase done or does, then you should maybe cut voters in other systems the same slack you cut yourself.

    Well the smaller the voter block the greater the responsibility of each voter. Sure I bear a fraction of the responsibility for the war in Iraq. It would be dishonest to deny that. I pay my taxes and I support the troops and I voted for Obama instead of some looney fringe candidate who would have ended the war immediately and also disbanded the army and made it a requirement for everybody to wear pants on their heads.

    Responsibility is varied, multileveled, and distributed is what I am saying. I think I bear less responsibility for the war in Iraq than somebody who voted for Bush, but more than most US citizens who were 17 in 2001.

    But I think I bear considerably more responsibility for the results of the last alderman race in my city.

  • Aquaria

    Texas Still Refusing Reality-Based Sex Ed

    I live here and I’m stunned at how stupid people are to elect such morons to government.

    But it’s like George Carlin said, in response to people thinking we could have better politicians: “When you have stupid, ignorant voters, you have stupid, ignorant politicians. This is the best we can do!”

    And Texas has way too many stupid ignorant voters, as our representation demonstrates, so well.

  • Aquaria

    Yes, but aren’t Texas’ career civil servants (as well as other voters, like the parents of those students) ultimately responsible for the disasters caused by the politicians they elect?

    I know a lot of hard-working and intelligent people who work for the state of Texas, throughout the state and especially in Austin. You want to talk about a shitty job? They have it.

    They’re treated like crap, their qualifications and work are held in contempt, and they live with the constant threat of losing their jobs when the state decides to cut their department’s budget and/or staff by 20%–50%–more (and the cuts always come, sooner or later). The state nickles and dimes everything about the things the civil employees need to do their jobs, right down to the paper clips; there are constant shortages and sometimes the state won’t even pay more than X amount for air conditioning IN TEXAS IN THE SUMMER. Oh–and their supposed union apparently exists to be the scapegoat for the latest legislative fuckup.

    So fuck you for thinking they’re too blame. That they get as much done as they do astounds me.

  • davidct

    If Perry can do this much to make things worse in Texas, just imagine how bad his approach could be for the country. This is not the kind of the hell with the facts kind of leader we need.

  • ema

    Eric @17,

    What I’d like to argue is that someone is responsible for this sad state of affairs.

    Since politicians aren’t accountable — legislation/funds allocation detrimental to the public interest, squirreling public funds to defend laws they know to be flawed, lying with impunity and, when caught, just poofing the lie away from the record, etc. — the voters are it when it comes to accountability.

    Aquaria @20,

    Fine, voters are doing a remarkable job despite the obstacles thrown their way by the politicians they elect; they’re not to blame. Politicians are also not to blame since competence is not a job requirement.

    So, in order to identify the problem and try fix the system, blame Canada?

  • ema

    Ugh, “try *to* fix”.

  • Francisco Bacopa

    25 years ago it wasn’t like this. I had high quality sex-ed in my suburban Houston school district. Two sessions in 5th grade, mostly about impending puberty, two weeks in 7th grade that was mostly biological facts, but we did have a brief rundown about birth control and a few non scary mentions of STDs. 10th grade was the whole deal, and even acknowledged that some students might be having sex.

    I also have to point out that some school districts have declined some of this funding and still mostly teach the kids what they need to know. HISD, the largest district in Texas, does a short abstinence program just to get a few bucks, but mostly teaches the real deal. Not sure what my native CFISD, which stretches from inside the Houston city limits to the Waller County line and is now the second largest district in Texas, does for sex education. They were pretty liberal back in the day, but now they are the reddest part of Harris County.

  • sosw

    Why does abstinence even need to be mentioned? It should be obvious, given proper education on how pregnancy actually works, which should be one of the most key issues of sex ed.

  • eric

    Lofgren @18: Sure I bear a fraction of the responsibility for the war in Iraq.

    Maybe 1/300,000,000th of it? Purely coincidentally, the number of bullets bought and used by DOD for the Iraq war is about 300 million per year. I very much doubt you would accept receiving 1 bullet per year in return. Very likely, you would say your role in our government should not reasonably result in any physical harm to you because you are a noncombatant.

    Pragmatically, I think most people do or want to recognize a qualitative difference between voting participants in democracy and democratic policy makers, and would not (as you both do), hold voters so directly responsible for the actions of their political leaders. When it comes to our enemies, we demand they recognize a qualitative difference and we think it’s highly immoral when they don’t. But what’s sauce for the goose…

    Ema, I am curious why you say politicians aren’t accountable. That is exactly where the ethical and political accountability lies. Or were you simply saying that while they have this responsibility in principle, they shirk it? I would agree that many do that.

  • lordshipmayhem

    The amusing thing to me is that we have an excellent example in the form of Bristol Palin in the effectiveness of abstinence-based sex education.

    Of course she is but a single data point, but when coupled with the stunningly high rates of teen pregnancy, it certainly is illustrative.

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