The Progressive Case for “Age-Appropriate” Sex Ed
posted at 8:45 am on July 12, 2010 by Diane Suffern
Last November, two enterprising teachers were unjustly fired after maintenance staff saw them clearly “rehearsing” their sex ed presentation. Linda Waite, the New York High School Superintendent, stated that Cindy Mauro and Alini Brito were found in a classroom at 8:50 p.m. “naked,” with one “on her knees” and one “lying on the floor,” reports United Press International and NBC New York.
This sort of puritanical misunderstanding is outrageous. These two progressive educators should be commended for their innovative approach to sexual health by endeavoring to engage their students through performance art. This is high school. Statistics show that modern teens are indeed sexually active (ask them about those colored Jelly bracelets) and could benefit from a creative explanation of their sexual “options.” Relax, parents. No teacher would recommend this type of mature demonstration to, say, elementary school children.
Not that educators shouldn’t instruct their kindergarten classes in proper anatomical terminology, or first graders about sexual orientation and gay slurs, or fifth graders about various types of…penetration. In fact, the recent hullabaloo over Helena, Montana’s new sex ed program for grades K-5 is absurd. Anyone accusing these administrators of nefarious intent is pathologically prudish. Helena brought the best minds of the community to the table to revamp the curriculum. I mean, they had a “committee,” and conducted an “intense review,” utilizing the…
…best practices and research-based information from state and national health organizations, Burson said, and the draft incorporates the district’s philosophy of teaching to the whole child. (Emphasis mine.)
I really don’t think you people want a bunch of six year old “half” children walking around saying words like “wee wee” and “pee pee,” do you? Cultural nightmare!
Indeed, these officials are working tirelessly to educate the whole American child from cradle to college coed. Sure they have some kinks to work out, like “accidentally” authorizing condom distribution to first graders in Provincetown, Mass. Whoops! Just a procedural error. School superintendent Beth Singer (author of the district “condom policy”) assures us that no more condoms will be available to younger children, and that the policy will be “age-appropriate”— they’ll wait until, like, fifth grade.
State officials’ acknowledgment of “age-appropriateness” should certainly assuage any remaining parental fears, even the President himself recognizes the need for “age-appropriate” curriculum. After all, he personally selected Kevin Jennings as Safe-Schools Czar with this very issue in mind. Jennings understands the delicate balance between respect for childhood innocence and fomenting adolescent lust which is precisely why he waited until children were 14 to tell them how to properly “fist” someone. That level of moral discernment should dispel any residual concern about educational intent. Likewise, no parent should doubt whether children need this instruction. Of course they do.
After all, children will have sex. It’s an inevitability. We should give these little sexual beings all the tools necessary to make informed decisions, the younger the better! To deny their sexuality almost seems, I don’t know, a hostile act against their personhood—a bourgeois power play, even. Perhaps a history lesson (content warning) from Germany would be instructive:
Sexual liberation was at the top of the agenda of the young revolutionaries who, in 1967, began turning society upside down. The control of sexual desire was seen as an instrument of domination, which bourgeois society used to uphold its power. Everything that the innovators perceived as wrong and harmful has its origins in this concept: man’s aggression, greed and desire to own things, as well as his willingness to submit to authority. The student radicals believed that only those who liberated themselves from sexual repression could be truly free.
To them, it seemed obvious that liberation should begin at an early age. Once sexual inhibitions had taken root, they reasoned, everything that followed was merely the treatment of symptoms. They were convinced that it was much better to prevent those inhibitions from developing in the first place. Hardly any leftist texts of the day did not address the subject of sexuality.
For instance, “Revolution der Erziehung” (“The Revolution in Education”), a work published by Rowohlt in 1971, which quickly became a bestseller, addresses sexuality as follows: “The de-eroticization of family life, from the prohibition of sexual activity among children to the taboo of incest, serves as preparation for total assimilation — as preparation for the hostile treatment of sexual pleasure in school and voluntary subjugation to a dehumanizing labor system.
Well, maybe that’s a tad extreme. Admittedly, European leftists really went that extra mile. No worries, though. American culture and educational philosophy is quite impervious to European influence. No similarities at all, moms and dads!
You can sleep soundly knowing the State will tenaciously, relentlessly seek out pioneering new ways to do more age-appropriate things to more children, earlier…with or without your consent.
Cross posted at Newsreal Blog.