Obama Sex Ed: McCain right, Behar wrong?

A couple of days ago, John McCain appeared on the always-execrable morning program, The View. During his visit he had to endure Whoopi Goldberg asking him if she – under a McCain presidency – would have to “worry about being a slave again?”, he also had to deal with Joy Behar declaring that McCain was “lying” in campaign ads that suggested Barack Obama voted in favor of legislation to approve sex ed in Kindergarten.

Behar didn’t ask him, in mannerly fashion, if he had a basis for making that claim; she clearly could not trust his answer. Instead, she simply told McCain that he was “lying.” And in the manner of that program, the overtalking was continuous and loud, so his answer was drowned out. McCain’s answer was, “it’s not a lie.”

Curious about it, Amy Proctor went to the McCain/Palin website and rather quickly found a wealth of links concerning Obama and Education, including this:

The SEICUS Guidelines For Children Between The Ages Of 5 And 8.

* The Full Text Of S.B. 99 Included Changes That Would Offer Sex Education To Children Beginning In Kindergarten. “Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades K through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV.” (S.B. 99: Illinois Senate Health And Human Services Committee, Passed, 7-4-0, 3/6/03, Obama Voted Yea) -[emphasis mine-admin]

My question, and perhaps the answer is in front of me, but it’s late and I’m not seeing it: Are these guidelines in the pdf. the exact guidelines that Obama voted for in 2003? If they are then McCain’s camp certainly is not lying. But they may want to re-do their ad to make the truth plain.

The Obama camp claims that the curriculum Obama voted on limited Kindergarden sex ed to concepts of “good touching” and “bad touching” – things that will help them recognise sexual predators. If this pdf represents Obama’s vote, it goes far beyond that. Read the guidelines for Level 1 (Kindergarten through 3rd grade).

We hear often from educators that “children learn differently” and that every child cannot learn the same material in the same way, and one of my problems with sex ed is that the “different learners” theory is tossed out the window when it comes to that subject. Suddenly every child is “ready” to learn a very delicate curriculum in precisely the same way, at the same point in their growth and maturity. I ask which is it, do they all learn differently, or do they all learn the same way? It can’t be both.

Moreover, it seems that this curriculum goes far beyond protecting children from predators. Most of what it covers is not so much “objectionable” as seeming – to me at least – to be the stuff a parent can best judge when to discuss with their child. In our family, one of my sons wanted lots of detail, and I answered him simply and honestly, until his questions ran out. The other son didn’t want details, and was satisfied with age-appropriate, minimal information expanded on over time. My knowledge of my kids helped me to discern what they were ready to hear about, and capable of processing, at any given time. No teacher – no matter how gifted – would be able to tailor a delicate curriculum to the appropriate sensibilities of each student.

In some public school districts, it is difficult for parent to even learn what their children will be taught in sex ed. A few years ago a parent I knew was livid to learn that students were not allowed to bring home material from the sex ed classes. The school seemed to think the parents could not be helpful to them.

And perhaps this is the real problem with sex ed in the schools; parents are not included or consulted about the curriculum. They’re simply told what it is and denigrated if they request participation in the formulation of lessons, or opt their kids out of the classes. Perhaps if schools involved a cross-section of parents in the planning, there would be less overall contention on the issue.

I’m not against a comprehensive and sensible sex ed program in schools; I think some sort of program is necessary, but that they’re not particularly effective in their current forms (and those participating in my utterly unscientific and random poll seem to agree with that). And too, I will always believe that the best place for children to learn predator awareness and healthy attitudes about their bodies and sex, is at home. This isn’t 1950 anymore, and I simply don’t believe that most parents are cringing in anticipation of having “the talk” with a child (and in truth, it’s never “a talk” it’s an ongoing dialogue), or flailing about stupidly trying to use euphemisms…but then again, I’m not the most social of creatures; I could be wrong.

In any case, if this guideline linked to at the McCain/Palin site is representative of what Obama consented to, then Joy Behar was wrong, and so are all of the pundits and talking heads repeating her claim. I won’t hold my breath waiting for any of them to admit it.

O/T but interesting: Clarice Feldman on Obama’s lost years. He doesn’t get questioned on this stuff, so we may as well learn as much as we can without the MSM, right?

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  • Gina

    That McCain didn’t wig out while being interviewed by those Marxist harpies is as much proof as anything that his reputation for a temper is undeserved. No wonder Elizabeth Hasselback, in every clip I see her in, looks like she’s in a bad mood.

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  • http://conblogeration.blogspot.com Pastor_Jeff

    The connection to Obama is this: In 2007, Romney challenged Obama on the bill. MSNBC reported:

    Obama spokesman Bill Burton tells First Read: “You can teach a kid about what’s appropriate and not appropriate to protect them from predators out there.” In addition, he issued a document showing that the Oregon Department of Education has guidelines for sex education for children in grades K-3 (which includes understanding the difference between a good touch and a bad touch), and that the Sexuality Information And Education Council of the United States has curriculum for those in kindergarten.

    So Obama’s own spokesman held up this very SIECUS curriculum as an example of “age-appropriate” sex education. Everyone with a strong stomach should read through the material. 5-8 year-old are to be taught about vaginal intercourse, sexual orientation, gender identity, same-sex partnerships, masturbation, unintended pregnancy, STDs, transmission of and medical complications associated with HIV, sexual abuse (good touch/bad touch), and gender roles, among other things.

    Obama defended “age-appropriate” sex education to a Planned Parenthood gathering. Maybe all this isn’t what Obama really wants for kindergarteners. But it is what his campaign held up as an example of age-appropriate material for kids.

    If they’ve read the SIECUS material and know what’s in it, they’re being intentionally deceptive.
    If they haven’t read the material and they’ve jsut taken SIECUS’ word for it, then they’re unbelievably naive and foolish.

    In any case, they’re stirring up phony outrage against McCain and calling him shameless and dishonorable, when McCain’s assertion is 100% accurate.

  • Acer Palmatum

    Obviously it is appropriate to teach young children to be safe against inappropriate touching or sexual advance. Teaching young children about sex before 4 and 5th grade seems very questionable to me. I have read Illinois Senate Bill 99 and I can understand why some people would have concerns regarding its scope.

    One of the issues Barack Obama and Joe Biden support is teaching kindergarteners about same sex relationships (they said so during the Democratic debates). Now personally, my wife and I have done this ourselves (we have friends or fellow parents at school who are same sex partners with kids and of course our children are curious why someone would have two mommies or two daddies). We just say they happen to have two mommies or two daddies and that answers the kids’ question. That is something to obviously discuss in a general way with young children that does not have to get into the mechanics of sexuality. I resent when liberals assume that we are all ignorant hicks (anyone who has the termerity to support McCain-Palin or who is not a member of the Democratic Party) who will lead lynch mobs against such families (while there are isolated examples of prejudice and bigotry, that is absolutely not the case 99.9% of the time).

    Isn’t dealing with these issues something best left for parents to deal with as a primary matter, followed by local schools? Do we need the federal or for that matter state governments even addressing this? I question Illinois Senate Bill 99 because it is too broad and ambiguous. When you have guys like ex terrorist and unrepentent radical Bill Ayers involved in influencing educational ciricculum in Illinois, I question that bill too.

    McCain needs to be ready to explain this if challenged. The McCain campaign ad may be a bit broad too, but there is enough here to raise this as a legitimate question. Barack Obama’s legislative history in Illinois is very thin and when he did act it was carrying water consistently for the Democrats. But of course Barack Obama does not want to really get into this either, because he fears it will trigger a new front on the culture war and a harder view of lack of leadership in the legislature. It is much easier just to yell liar, liar, liar and hope it sticks.

  • http://amykane.typepad.com/ Amy Kane

    Let’s talk about sexual education in kindergarten. Thank you, McCain, for raising some objections. But it’s nothing new.

    My eldest daughter, now a college sophomore, was offered a sort of sexual predator awareness training in kindergarten in Chapel Hill, NC. Parents got a note at home about the program, which would be presented by grad students from the local university (strangers to the children). With the aid of puppets they would introduce the concept of “good touch” and “bad touch,” emphasizing that bad touch could come from ANYONE, including friends, relatives and parents, and that it was up to the kindergartner to decide what was “bad touch.” And then report it to a “trusted adult,” like “a teacher or police officer.”

    “Don’t you think it’s a little young for them to assume that responsibility, let alone be able to understand any of it?” I asked the principal, when I met with her to seek more information.

    “Maybe,” she said. “It depends on the child. But if we can prevent just one child from being sexually abused, it’s worth exposing all of them to this.”

    I said I thought she was just scaring them and robbing them of their innocence, and anyway it was adults’ responsibility to protect the children. She said, “You can opt your child out, if you like.” I did. My daughter and one other child were the only ones who didn’t see the puppet show. That girl’s mom and I discussed how we felt “under suspicion” for opting our kids out, although she did have an explanation of being a born-again Christian and I did not.

    On through the years, my daughter rebelled in “Lifeskills” class, on her own, and I would hear about it later. For example, when it was time (6th or 7th grade) for a discussion of menstruation, my daughter asked the Lifeskills teacher if the boys could go into a separate classroom from girls so everyone could be more open and less embarrassed discussing the subject.

    The teacher refused, saying, “It’s good if you learn it all together because someday you’ll grow up and get married and you should all know about each others’ bodies and you should all know the same things.”

    My daughter’s reply: “I may get married someday, but it isn’t going to be to any of THESE boys.”