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Let’s talk about sex education

We’re not good at it.

Rep. Mary Gonzalez

A Democratic state lawmaker is looking to bolster high school sex education requirements in hopes that Texas can lower its teen birth rates.

Rep. Mary González, D-Clint, filed House Bill 1547 to require sex education classes to include “medically accurate, age-appropriate” human sexuality education. The bill would allow students to be excused from the course with the written request of a parent or guardian.

“It’s deeply troubling that Texas has one of the highest teen birth rates in the nation,” González said Tuesday. “Our young people deserve to have correct, accurate information.”

Teen birth rates in Texas are among the highest in the country. According to a 2014 report from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the teen birth rate among Texas women ages 15 to 19 was nearly 40 in 1,000 girls. The national birth rate in 2015 for teenagers of the same age was 22 births per 1,000 girls, according to the agency.

González filed the bill on the heels of the Texas Freedom Network’s most recent report that found that more than 80 percent of the state’s public school districts are not teaching sex education or exclusively teach abstinence-only birth control.

The study found that the number of school districts that do not teach sex education has increased to more than 25 percent in 2016 from 2.3 percent in 2008.

The group also found that another 58 percent of school districts took an abstinence-only approach to sex education last year. Those districts did not include information about condoms or other forms of contraceptives.

“All of these findings make clear that policy makers need to create common-sense, very necessary solutions,” González said.

That would be nice, wouldn’t it? For lots of things. There are lots of reasons why this would be a good thing for the Lege to do, and at least as many reasons why they won’t. We’re going to need a different Lege for that. The Trib and the Observer have more.

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13 Comments

  1. Joel says:

    “Rep. Mary González, D-Clint, filed House Bill 1547 to require sex education classes to include “medically accurate, age-appropriate” human sexuality education. ”

    the fact that this needs to be made a law says it all. why would a teacher or superintendent ever want to teach something that ISN’T medically accurate? oh yeah, they are being required to do so by the lege.

    no wonder so few districts offer sex ed. leaving it out is better than being required to teach lies.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    Has anyone considered the fact that teen birth rates are higher here correlates perfectly with the fact that Texas has plenty of undocumented immigrants here, more than the average state? Poor uneducated kids getting pregnant is the way it was done in the old country, why would anyone think they wouldn’t bring that culture with them?

  3. Ross says:

    It’s not just the undocumented having babies. Lots of citizens are having them too, and at young ages. It’s like they never learned that you can, in fact, get pregnant the first time. or the second time, or any time there after.

  4. Paul Kubosh says:

    Let’s be real…Sex education classes are a joke and a waste of time. This should be a chapter in 6th grade health classes. Just be a parent and don’t take the philosophy well they are going to have sex anyway.

  5. C. L. says:

    Really, Bill ? You may have just taken race baiting to the next level.

  6. Paul A Kubosh says:

    C.L.

    How is that race baiting. That is how it was done in America for years. How old was you great-great grandmother when she got married? My great grand-mother was 15 and she married a 23 yr. old in the late 1800’s. Both families were Catholics and no one batted an eye.

  7. Intervenant says:

    @Bill:

    If we follow that logic, other states with high numbers of illegal immigrant should also have the highest teen pregnancy rates.

    Here are the top 5 states harboring illegal immigrants (from Pew) and the teen birth rates for each given as # of births per 1000 girls (from the National Campaign to End Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy):

    California/19, Florida/21, Illinois/21, New Jersey/12, New York/15 and Texas/35.

    As you can see, these numbers don’t support your theory.

  8. Paul Kubosh says:

    Sex education classes in school are for those parents who don’t have the courage to parent.

  9. Bill Daniels says:

    @Intervenant:

    From your own link.

    http://thenationalcampaign.org/data/landing

    ” The teen birth rate among non-Hispanic white teens was 16 births per 1,000 in 2015; a 14% decline from 2013 and a 63% decline from 1991.
    The teen birth rate among non-Hispanic black teens was 32 births per 1,000 in 2015; a 18% decline from 2013 and a 73% decline from 1991.
    The teen birth rate among Hispanic teens was 35 births per 1,000 teens in 2015; a 16% decline from 2013 and a 67% decline since 1991.
    The teen birth rate among American Indian or Alaska Native teens was 26 births per 1,000 teens in 2014; a 17% decline from 2013 and a 69% decline since 1991.
    The teen birth rate among Asian or Pacific Islander teens was 7 births per 1,000 teens in 2015; a 21% decline from 2013 and a 75% decline from 1991.”

    Would you disagree with my supposition that poor and uneducated girls would be more likely to get pregnant? Your link doesn’t break things down between citizen girls and undocumented immigrant kids, and also doesn’t break down the numbers associated with citizen daughters of the undocumented.

    I do agree that Texas seems to be doing poorly in discouraging teen pregnancy, though.

    @Paul:

    While I agree with you in principle, the fact is, plenty of kids have crappy parent(s), and they won’t have a real shot at the American dream without the intervention of schools, who necessarily must be in loco parentis. The part that compounds this tragedy is, they people who really don’t have the wherewithal to raise kids properly are the ones most likely to have a bunch that they not only cannot pay for, they cannot participate in raising them.

    When I was a kid, I got help from both of my parents with homework. Lots of parents cannot do that, even if they wanted to. Those kids need the schools to provide whatever they are going to get, because they aren’t getting anything at home, and that includes lessons on how not to get knocked up, and more importantly, WHY they should not get knocked up.

  10. Intervenant says:

    @Bill:

    Yes, you are correct that the National Campaign to End Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy doesn’t break down citizens/non-citizens and that the birth rate is higher among Hispanics (and similarly high in non-hispanic blacks). I do agree that teen pregnancy rates are higher in families where the mothers are also teen moms and that being raised in poverty is associated with higher teen pregnancy rates. These trends look to hold even in white, citizen populations too. However, I was making the point that higher illegal immigrant populations in a state do not perfectly correlate to higher teen pregnancy rates.

    I think we are both on the same page though. There is something going on in Texas, and it will likely require a public health initiative to address as there are some things that these families aren’t able to or won’t provide for their kids.

  11. Bill Daniels says:

    @Intervenant:

    Yes, we agree that a public health initiative is necessary, for reasons we both have stated. It should be fairly easy to figure out exactly how much teen pregnancy costs the taxpayers of Texas, and spending money to reduce those numbers will no doubt yield a good return on investment, by saving the taxpayers having to pay to raise those kids.

    Save more than we spend…..taxpayer win.

    @Paul,

    This is how you need to look at this issue, from a fiscal conservative point of view. If you could spend $ 10 now, and save $ 2,000 over the next 18 years, wouldn’t you spend the $ 10 now, even though you find it distasteful to even have to spend that $ 10?

  12. paul a kubosh says:

    Bill,

    I don’t think there is any amount of money that can keep a young testosterone boy from chasing a young fertile girl. Spend all the money you want to prevent it from happening and it will not happen. In my opinion.