Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Arlington County: Hometown Heroes

Thanks to fellow Arlingtonian J for this!

Those readers who know me personally know I hail from Arlington County (known to those of us who are natives as "The ARL"), the smallest (and greatest) county in the United States. Across the river from Washington, DC, Arlington has fantastic public schools (gooo, H-B Woodlawn!) due largely to the insane number of yuppie douchebags who pay high taxes but don't have children. That means that kids like me who came from working class families got to go to well-funded, kick-ass magnet schools.

My first memory of learning that sex education was controversial was in 5th grade when Ms. Cook taught our mandatory "Family Life Education" and I knew all the answers already, because my mom had taught us a class at church*. I shouted out answers like "condoms!" and "erection!" and "menstrual cramps!" and Ms. Cook called my mom to express her concern about how I "knew so much" at such a young age.

But Virginia was, like most states, caught up in the Abstinence Only Education frenzy of the Bush years and our relatively decent Family Life Education was rejected in favor of disproven ideological nonsense. Until hero-cum-governor Tim Kaine rejected the funding in 2007, that is. Now every jurisdiction in Virginia is required to conduct a study of the effects of the policy and figure out what needs to be done. DC's public radio station, WAMU, reports the story.

Being a natural leader, Arlington is the first county to finish the study and their results are startling:
  • a 19% increase in chlamydia cases
  • a 200% increase in syphilis cases
  • more than half of 12th graders are sexually active but fewer than 2/3 of those use condoms
Obviously. Teaching people that condoms don't work is a great way to ensure that they won't use them. Now begins the work of relearning these people. I guess I oughta call up my colleagues at my alma mater UVA and see if they need any help.

Lord only knows those suthunas don't need to be spreading syphilis.

*Quaker meeting

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

yay quakerism!