The "Evidence-Based" Curricula with a Government Stamp of Approval

Yesterday, in my home state, VPR (Vermont Public Radio) did a show on Sex Ed. Of course they didn’t know longstanding Vermonter ME has been offering the Sexual Ethics for a Caring Society- Curriculum (the SECS-C) for years, most recently, as you know, to an AFS school in Monterrey, Mexico. Someone on the show said the state uses what the government suggests. And a commenter said, well, not really. You’d think so, but the sex ed students get is pretty pathetic. Sadly, even in the liberal state of Vermont, this idea that if the government slaps an "evidence-based" sticker on a curriculum it's a good one. Why in the world would we trust the government to tell us which Sex Ed curriculum to use???? Our students are more sophisticated than ever. Does the standard curriculum address this? Does it teach about pornography? media objectification? sexting? #metoo? Of course not. It's as if learning about anatomy and condoms and consent (making consent the be all and end all of ethical sex) make someone a "good"l sexual partner. The OWL has many of these topics but years ago when I tried to get my own son into an OWL class I was turned away. It's a UUA thing but you can buy their curriculum for $$$$ not the small donation SECS-C asks for. And, of course, we at SECS-C teach the applied philosophy necessary to get under the ethical skin of our students.

So what’s “evidence-based”? I hear that term a lot in academia as people test their various psychotherapies they’ve invented or re-invented. Evidence-based means that after the school delivers a curriculum they measure two or three things: was pregnancies decrease? STI’s? and did they have better attitudes about using contraception? Sure these are important. But as with psychotherapy approaches, just about ANY psychotherapy will produce positive results. So in sex ed, I’m arguing that basically ANY sex ed curriculum (except Abstinence Only) will produce results. These minimal results can be gotten in 2 or 3 health class lessons. SECS-C, though, is about deep change, asking students to think about who they want to be as sexual people in the years ahead, what they care about in society, what’s right, wrong, and in between about all sorts of things they’ll encounter that have to do with sex. And don’t get me started on those who boil ethics (right and wrong) down to consent. We need so much more than asking students to practice getting and giving consent. It’s a start. But, to repeat myself, we need so much more.

Listen to our new Sex and Ethics Podcast on Sex Education and hear me repeat myself. :) : https://sexandethics.podbea...