Educational Editorial: Family Life Education

By Dr. Bill Bosher, NBC12 Educational Specialist

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Family Life Education, or "sex ed," is a topic of discussion in the Virginia Senate again.

Proposed legislation (Senate Bill 967) would require each school division to train its teachers to deliver the state's program or one that meets its guidelines. It also requires that the curriculum be clinically based and "shall have the goals of reducing the incidence of pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, and substance abuse among teenagers."

The compelling issue is whether or not family life education actually reduces sexual behavior and disease. Teenage pregnancy is on the increase again, and after years -- more that 15 in Virginia -- of teaching young people about the "birds and bees."

Well some challenges persist. First, data collected from middle school and high school students is typically inaccurate, intrusive, and suggestive.

Second, young people probably do not get pregnant because they do not know how it happens.

Third, we give young people terribly confusing messages: do not have sex until you are married…but if you do, this is how you should protect yourself.

Why not teach values and consequences? Respect for road signs, like stop, may mean more to driver's education than teaching a young person how simply to operate a car.

One more puzzling question, it's called "Family Life Education"… I wonder why the government takes responsibility for it?

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