Look, it’s not like we want to be writing about politics. It’s not like we wouldn’t rather be talking about Ciara’s Vibe spread or how the Strokes’ modal songwriting is vaguely similar to Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, but no one seems to be talking about the details of the Campaign and how Effen Vodka misleading they are. So the knuck if you buck must stop here.
Case in point, John McCain’s recent add attacking Obama’s plan for Education. As our faithful readers will know, we here at Modern Jackass aren’t blind adherents to the unsubstantiated Gospel of Barack. We think he could do more. We even identify with certain principles of the Republican party (Gunz!). It’s not the ideologies that necessarily bother us but the libel the parties throw around disguised as legitimate debate. In McCain’s attack ad, which we won’t even link to because it contributes nothing to the conversation of education reform, he accuses Obama of helping to pass “legislation that would teach comprehensive sex education to…kindergartners.”
Wow, that’s a pretty powerful claim, we thought to ourselves, and so insidiously misleading that it can’t possibly be true. Sure, it’s not, but it also kind of is.
The legislation to which McCain’s attack ad is referring is Illinois S.B. 99, an amendment to the Illinois School Code’s sections on sex education and family life. The passages McCain indirectly cites read verbatim as follows:
Each class or course in comprehensive sex 14 education offered in any of grades K 6 through 12 shall 15 include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted 16 infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread 17 of HIV AIDS.
Where struck out characters are those to be omitted in the renewed school code and those underlined are to be added. So it’s true, Obama did support expanding “comprehensive sex education” to Kindergarten. HOWEVER, the bill goes on to establish the following criteria like ten lines down:
(2) All (1) course material and instruction shall 13 be age and developmentally appropriate.
So though it is shocking to imagine kindergartners exposed to “comprehensive sex education,” it’s more reasonable to think the purview was expanded because statistics in Illinois showed those children at risk for sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy were sexually active before the sixth grade. Why kindergarten was chosen as opposed to 3rd grade, we’re not sure, but we’re fairly certain the nightmare scenario McCain’s campaign is alluding to is far more benign in reality since all sex education material was made age appropriate, as the revamped school code specified.
We should also note the old school code contained only 3 elements of criteria sex education course materials needed to achieve for grades 6 to 12. They were:
(2) Course material and instruction shall teach 29 honor and respect for monogamous heterosexual marriage. 30 (3) Course material and instruction shall stress 31 that pupils should abstain from sexual intercourse until 32 they are ready for marriage. 33 (4) Course material and instruction shall include a 34 discussion of the possible emotional and psychological -3- LRB093 05269 NHT 05359 b 1 consequences of preadolescent and adolescent sexual 2 intercourse outside of marriage and the consequences of 3 unwanted adolescent pregnancy.
18 of the 19 circumstances under which it is unlawful for males to 20 have sexual relations with females under the age of 18 to 21 whom they are not married pursuant to Article 12 of the 22 Criminal Code of 1961, as now or hereafter amended.
Obama’s changes to the Illinois school code expanded sex education beyond 1950s rhetoric about abstinence and heterosexual marriage to address the contemporary concerns faced by changing demographics and social mores. It also expanded culpability of statutory rape to adult women and added education regarding the inappropriate nature of domestic abuse. He supported amendments that emphasized awareness, deterrence and personal responsibility, not just codified avoidance. This “comprehensive sex education” reform reached out to students, yes even as early as kindergarten, to develop the critical thinking tools to learn how to control sexuality and wield it responsibly, not suppress it. One notable passage added to the school code endorsed by Obama seems like it could have been authored by a Family Values republican advocating personal responsibility over Government support or edict:
27 (10) Course material and instruction shall 28 emphasize that the pupil has the power to control 29 personal behavior. Pupils shall be encouraged to base 30 their actions on reasoning, self-discipline, sense of 31 responsibility, self-control, and ethical considerations, 32 such as respect for oneself and others.
What a monster! Obama is wrong for your family! In the family life section of the bill, Obama and others seem to offer up the only reasonable method of addressing the universal ideal of legal, safe and rare abortions:
7 (a) If any school district provides courses of 8 instruction designed to promote wholesome and comprehensive 9 understanding of the emotional, psychological, physiological, 10 hygienic and social responsibility aspects of family life, 11 then such courses of instruction shall include the teaching 12 of prevention of unintended pregnancy and all options related 13 to unintended pregnancy, as the alternatives to abortion, 14 appropriate to the various grade levels
Before Obama and company redefined the school code the only sex education students were getting dealt with what to do after a pregnancy, not how to avoid an unwanted one. If that’s not responsible government and truly “comprehensive sex education,” then I don’t know what is. A pregnant 17-year-old in the White House, perhaps?