Who’s right when it comes to Sex Education?

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In Ross Douthat’s column in The New York Times today, he discusses the issue of whether sex education should be a state’s right or a federal right.  This issue has become even more of a hot-button issue after last week’s report of a rise in teenage pregnancy for the first time in over a decade.  Liberals argue that abstinence-only education is to blame for the rise; conservatives rebut that abstinence-only funding has been in place since the Clinton administration in the 1990’s, so if you’re going to blame it for the increase, you also have to credit it for the success in years prior.  Is there a right answer?

Douthat broadens the scope of the argument, saying that sex education is not so much a political issue as one of a cultural one.  “What is taught in the classroom is vastly less important than the matrix of family, culture and economics: the values parents impart and the example that they set, the friends teenagers make and the activities they join, and the cross-cutting effects of wealth, health and self-esteem,” he writes. 

What do you think?  How should we proceed from here, when no data clearly supports either abstinence-only or comprehensive sexual education as being the silver bullet?  Read the full column, “Sex Ed in Washington,” then start or join the discussion by commenting below.

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