My Local Teen Pregnancy/STD report card and why it matters

These are the 2008 numbers for Charlotte County FL, an average-in-every-way-middle-class-sleepy-Gulf-Coast-community.

County Population: 165,827
Number of Teen births, Girls Age 10-19: 130
Reported Chlamydia Cases in 15-19 year olds: 82
Reported Gonorrhea Cases in 15-19 year olds: 11
Average Number of Reported New AIDS Cases: 18
Average Number of Reported New HIV Cases : 27
Number of Reported Chlamydia Cases: 227
Number of Reported Gonorrhea Cases: 46
I happen to think these numbers are horrific!  And let me tell you, for what we Floridians pay for Sex-Ed it should be a heck of a lot better!  But guess what, America?  You all chip in an average of $4 to FL for every $1 we spend on our Sex-Ed.  So you’re paying for this too!  As this report explains:
Beginning in 1981 under the Reagan administration, the federal government increasingly put its support and money behind abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. Today, there are threeseparate funding streams supporting these programs, including the Adolescent Family Life Act(AFLA), the Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage program, and Community-Based AbstinenceEducation (CBAE) funding.
Currently about 1/2 of the states have figured out that this crap fails kids and have actually chosen not to take any of this money and instead fund medically accurate and comprehensive Sexual Health Education.  An estimated 80% of these states that backed out cited well researched evidence as their reason and have come from a broad spectrum of the country.
Florida, meanwhile, is actually putting in more state money than the federal government requires!  We are second only to Texas in dollars taken in from these 3 programs, as well as state funded contributions.
Since 2003 Florida has spent over $15 million in this abstinence only education programs.  In 2009 alone, the rest of you sent us $13 Million to fund this! Thanks America!
All this money is going to 33 entities in the state:
  • one private school,
  • three crisis pregnancy centers (a little late, eh?)
  • five community health clinics or departments, and
  • 24 community-based organizations (including 16 faith-based groups.)
Meanwhile Florida currently has no statewide standards for teaching sex education. A recent University of Florida study identified the following inadequacies in sex education in Florida:
  • Sex education is rarely afforded an effective amount of time.
  • It occurs too late in students’ academic careers (usually in 9th or 10th grade).
  • There is little uniformity or standards (in terms of training or quality assurance).
  • Sex education is not accessible to all students (especially Latinos).
  • It fails to adequately address students’ needs.

The net effect is a sort of sex-ed by proxy.  Again, from the report:

Though no school systems are direct recipients of federal funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, it is not surprising that these programs have worked their ways into public schools in theform of speakers, courses, curricula, student clubs, and after-school programs. Such services are undoubtedly very appealing, as the federal money allows grantees to provide them free of charge.

Well, the results must be great then right?  I mean, this Red State of Small Government – Control Spending politicians wouldn’t keep investing in it otherwise would they?
Sadly, the results are not good.  Our young people are as sexually active as anywhere else, but we have more teen pregnancies  and more sexually transmitted diseases.

In my next post I will discuss what Florida, and the rest of the 1/2 of America that participates in this fraud, can do about it.

7 Responses to My Local Teen Pregnancy/STD report card and why it matters

  1. Buffy says:

    “Abstinence-only” sex education is child abuse, plain and simple.

  2. John H. says:

    Funding the abstinence-only approach to sex-ed is like the war on drugs: a futile enterprise, and also the only approach the fundies can live with in their “moral/ethical” framework. Yeah, it’s actually neither one of those, in practice.

  3. littlez2008 says:

    I have taught in “at risk” youth programs in Los Angeles, and I wonder if we are taking that fed money, too. Our health textbooks are mostly about abstinence. Most of our kids are pretty much past that point. I remember one girl in my class got pregnant, and I just came out and asked her girlfriends, “How does this happen? There’s so much information about birth control?” The girls answered, “You know, miss, sometimes you just trust a guy.” I was confused. “Trust him to what?”

    They were talking about the withdrawal method (if you can call it a method). I got the point after a bit, but they were too shy to really discuss the whole thing. I was appalled that they didn’t know the basics and clearly weren’t learning at home or at our school. I later made an attempt to add assignments to that class at another school, but I no longer work in the classroom, so I’m not sure how it’s going.

  4. JonMcP says:

    I’ve read through this twice and fail to see where your “red state” comment comes from?? What does small government have to do with parental involvement or the fact that the federal govco funds this bullshit? I think that once you stop letting a love of big leftest government interfere with your logic you’ll be even better off. Jesus-fucking-Christ I am so sick of this false assumption that skeptics must be liberals by default. This has to be the most retarded entry I’ve read on this blog to date.

    • Jason says:

      JonMcP,

      1. Florida IS A RED STATE. We elected a Republican governor, and the State Senate and House are both run by Republicans.
      2. Republicans here run on Small Government and Controlled Spending. I made a dig on them for not living up to their own standards.
      3. This post is about a cavernous vacuum in Health Education, what filled that vacuum and the consequences. You focus on one sentence.

      You assume a lot buddy! You ASSUME to know my politics, you ASSUME I love big government, and you got a bunch of sand in your crotch ASSUMING I think skeptics have to be liberals. BTW You’re wrong on all counts.

  5. Tessa says:

    I am from Germany – and therefore always stunned when I read about “abstinence-only”-sex-ed. Because I grew up in a rural, very Catholic and very conservative area in Germany – and I can’t remember ever being told personally that the best way prevent pregnancy / infections is to not have sex. Not at my church (Lutheran), nor during the Catholic church services at school, not during our mandatory religious education lessons at school.

    Of course the Catholics here all know what the Pope is actually saying, and they consider themselves to be true Catholics (going to church every Sunday, following most rules) – but concerning this topic they just shrug their shoulders and tell their kids / pupils everything they need to know about the pill, condoms, STDs.

    And at the end of the day we have in Western and Central Europe (with the exception of that strange island in the North) low teenage pregnancy rates, relatively low abortion rates (lower than in the US), less HIV-infections… I would say Science beats Religion / personal opinions here fair and square.

  6. Adam says:

    Abstinence-based education leads to reduced teen sexual health issues as effectively as abstinence-based approaches to drug-use lead to fewer ODs and actual usage. When will they learn?

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