Thursday, July 26, 2007

Obama and sex education


(Barack Obama with his then 6-year-old daughter Malia after his election to the Senate in 2004)

Hello. Just a quick introduction first -- I am Scott Elliott, the education reporter at the Dayton Daily News in Ohio and I'll be tracking Barack Obama as part of this project, both here and on my education blog, Get on the Bus. I would be grateful for any help readers could provide. If you see news anywhere about Obama and his education positions, please alert me via e-mail at selliott@daytondailynews.com.

To prepare for this assignment, I've just begun reading Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope, but I also noticed a little dust up last week, thanks to education blogger Alexander Russo, which had people asking is Barack Obama really in favor of sex education for kindergarteners?

It looks like the answer is yes, and no, depending on your definition of sex education.

Apparently, Obama supported a bill in the Illinois legislature that called for "age appropriate" sex education to be taught, even to kids as young as kindergarten. But what, exactly, is Obama advocating?

Not much, Obama says. He told a newspaper in 2004 that what he really intended was that kids be given accurate information. In his example, you don't tell a kid who asks "where do babies come from" that they are delivered by a stork. What exactly do you tell the kid who asks that question? That, he said, should be decided case-by-case at the local school board level.

Still it seems Obama has staked out a position that tilts toward "comprehensive" sex education and away from "abstinence only" programs favored by the Bush administration, which places a heavy emphasis on the virtue of abstaining entirely from sex until marriage and leaves out some of the detailed information in comprehensive programs.

(Image credit: AP)

1 comment:

Megan W. said...

Seems to me his intention was to give younger children the vocabulary and understanding of their bodies so that they can articulate better when it comes to protecting their personal space against predators, among other things. This is the sex ed equivalent of not talking "baby talk" to children if you want them to have a decent diction and vocabulary. To make a blanket statement in order to portray Obama as a pervert trying to show kindergarners how to use condoms is ABSURD. Only the most perverse of minds would take that leap. Do some research people!! Abstinence only does not work! Look at Bristol Palin!