Worth the Wait, DISD's Potential New Sex Ed Curriculum, Teaches Some Really Weird Stuff

rapmusic.jpg
Illustration by Dan Zettwoch
See more incorrect ways to have sex here.
This year, a group of parents and administrators at the Dallas Independent School District embarked on pretty much the most thankless task there is: finding a new sex ed curriculum for the district's students. The job is thankless in large part because no matter what they do, someone's going to get pissed off. Also a problem: the Texas education code, which requires sex ed to emphasize abstinence as the first and best choice. The state's health code is also problematic. It still erroneously says that homosexuality is a "criminal offense," and that students must be taught that gayness is "not an acceptable lifestyle choice."

All of this adds up to an environment that doesn't really lend itself to teaching sex ed in a particularly forward-thinking fashion (if that's your thing). In this week's cover story, we outlined DISD's hunt for a new sex ed curriculum, as well as a few details on their current frontrunner, a program from Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Texas called Worth the Wait.

The program, which is in the process of changing its name to Wellness and Sexual Health, promises medically accurate information on condoms and STDS, as well as all the state-mandated emphasis on not getting it on before marriage. Worth the Wait was created by an OB-GYN named Patricia "Patsy" Sulak, and it does indeed have a bit of accurate information on STD rates, contraception and the like. There's also a lot of emphasis on drugs, smoking, obesity and a bunch of other things those crazy teenagers typically get up to.

Some of the information is pretty straightforward, and seemingly accurate. Other pieces, though, are profoundly and unsettlingly weird.

The 2008 curriculum of Worth the Wait, the most recent version we were able to view in full, is filled with bizarre, moralizing tidbits. Among them: how rap music will lead inevitably to pot smoking and unsafe sex, why condoms don't actually work and ruminations on why the sexual revolution of the '60s was pretty much the worst thing ever.

There's a reason for the program's ideological bent. Sulak, the doctor who created Worth the Wait, is a member of the Christian Medical and Dental Association, an organization that considers safe sex to be "a myth" and opposes homosexuality, claiming that it's a "voluntary" behavior that can be "cured." Sulak's work as a physician and researcher, paired with her apparent religious beliefs, creates a peculiar tension in what the program teaches.

After one phone conversation, a program manager with Worth the Wait didn't respond to repeated follow-up calls from the Observer. We wanted to see their most recent program in full, and we wanted to know whether the program has truly shifted from being abstinence-only to "abstinence-plus," as they claim. Although Worth the Wait became very shy about returning our calls, we were still able to obtain the 2008 curriculum, as well as a contraception PowerPoint presentation, written in 2011. Here's the weirdest information we found.

Baby Boomers are hard-working, while Gen Xers are pointless disaffected sexually perverted layabouts.

Worth the Wait's intro contains a history lesson of sorts. It says that Generation Xers, born in the '60s and '70s, "do not have a very good reputation," adding that they've been described as "a splintered and alienated youth culture in which social rules seemed pointless." The reason Gen Xers are so worthless? The Sexual Revolution, of course! The teacher background materials for this section states that before the Big Bad '60s, "sex was a private matter that usually occurred only in the context of marriage." People didn't get divorced, couples on TV slept in separate beds, and "products were not sold using sexual connotations." The Sexual Revolution (always in caps) led to birth control pills, divorce, promiscuity, abortion and general heartache, which presumably didn't exist back when TV couples slept in separate beds. The solution proposed is, of course, a return to 1950s sexual morality.

Safe sex doesn't exist. The 2008 curriculum encourages teachers to explore with their students whether "safe sex or protected sex actually exists." Spoiler: They don't think it does. "Safe sex" is never referred to without quotes around it. A 2011 PowerPoint presentation on contraception warns, "Condoms cannot protect your feelings."

Watching rap videos will lead to sluttiness, pot smoking, binge drinking, general ruination. A section on "risky behaviors" claims that exposure to "sexually degrading music" will likely lead teenagers into having multiple sexual partners. The most sexually degrading music is, predictably, rap, which WTW claims that it has "more sexual content than other genres of music and often shows women in a sexually degrading manner." (Unlike, say, those gentlemen in Mötley Crüe, who really know how to treat a lady.)

The "evidence" for these claims looks scientific enough, at first glance: The curriculum links to a study that purports to show the disastrous effects of rap music. In fact, a look at the actual study shows that it focused on a small group of low-income African-American girls in a high-crime neighborhood "characterized by high rates of
unemployment, substance abuse, violence, and STDs." Maybe, just possibly, the rap videos weren't the problem?

Ecstasy addiction will make you pawn your baseball cards and all your CDs. "Before you know it, you find you have to take about three pills a day just to function; otherwise you feel so down you cannot even get out of bed."

Couples who live together before marriage don't really love each other. Cohabitation means you "value marriage less," don't "want to be responsible" for your partner, aren't as happy, are more likely to cheat on each other and a whole bunch of other stuff that's not backed up with any evidence. But it's certainly something to consider the next time you're picking up your boyfriend's socks from the bathroom floor for the thousandth time: Perhaps he just doesn't value you as a human being.

The 2008 curriculum is, incredibly, a bit of an improvement from older versions of the program. The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), a non-profit that focuses on encouraging evidence-based sex ed, reviewed a version of the program from 2005. It contains a lengthy, tortured metaphor about a beautiful golden statue, one which turns a "putrid shade of green" after the townspeople handle it too much. The story is, of course, turned into an analogy on sex: "Sex is special. When someone is able to save this gift for his/her wedding night, it is a gift that is irreplaceable. However, if a person has had numerous partners and numerous sexual encounters, sexual activity loses its special quality."

In summary: Rap music will make you hopelessly slutty, and everything was better in the '50s. If Worth the Wait becomes DISD's new curriculum, let's hope they've brought things up to date a little. Or at least made them less weird.



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36 comments
JohnWileyPrice
JohnWileyPrice

As long as Sandra Fluke gets her free birth control pills what difference does it make?

roadsidecouch
roadsidecouch

"Baby Boomers are hard-working, while Gen Xers are pointless disaffected sexually perverted layabouts."

DUH!  I thought everyone knew that!

"The Sexual Revolution (always in caps) led to birth control pills, divorce, promiscuity, abortion and general heartache, which presumably didn't exist back when TV couples slept in separate beds. "

Yep, pretty much true except there for the general heartache.  There has always been general heartache.

"Safe sex doesn't exist."

True if you don't want to play Russian roulette with a six shooter for pregnancy and even worse for STDs.  12% to 15% of Couples using condoms over a year get pregnant.  Considering the AIDS virus is much much smaller than a sperm, the odds there are also pretty darn high.

"Watching rap videos will lead to sluttiness, pot smoking, binge drinking, general ruination."

Well considering it take little talent to talk instead of  sing, it would not surprise me if people with good taste turn to doing other things in order to ignore the noise.  And remember the first point, Gen Xers are pointless disaffected sexually perverted layabouts.  What else are they going to do?

"Ecstasy addiction will make you pawn your baseball cards and all your CDs."

Yep, pretty much any drug addiction will do that to ya. Especially if your a pointless disaffected sexually perverted layabout to lazy to have a job.






bealotcoolerifyoudid
bealotcoolerifyoudid

I googled Sexual Anarchy and there is a book by E. Showalter with this excerpt:

In the late twentieth century, too, threats of sexual anarchy have
generated panic and backlash against the sexual liberalism of the 1960s
and 1970s. Concerns about the sexual abuse of children and the
increasing frequency of occurrences of rape have focused on censoring
art and banning pornography rather than on examining the social
construction of male sexual violence. Fears about the drastic changes
in women's sexual choices have taken the form of anti-abortion cam-
paigns rather than plans for child support, parenting leaves, or daycare.
Anxiety about women's educational and economic advances and the
effects of women's paid labor on traditional marital structures have
led to a renewed idealization of the family, domesticity, and maternity.
The AIDS epidemic has fueled homophobia and an emphasis on mo-
nogamy and celibacy rather than a commitment to sex education and
information about safer sexual practices.

amie83
amie83

People need to be proactive about this...attend your school districts local SHAC (student health advisory council) and make a difference in what our kids see.  This is not a right or left thing or a religious not religious thing, it is a public health concern that we should all share.  If you dont like it do something about it!  Go to the state board of education meetings and make some noise about how stupid they are.  

sherilenoir
sherilenoir

As a participating member of Gen X, I have to say.....whatever, nevermind.

bealotcoolerifyoudid
bealotcoolerifyoudid

Anna, check penal code section 21.06.  While the law making homesexuality has been over turned by the US Supreme Court, it is still on the books.  So, it's not just the health code that's problamatic.

Also, do you know if Worth the Wait is planning on teaching the pull-out method?  I know it's a little riskier, but it's still a method.

Chris Morgan
Chris Morgan

Want a good reason to raise and educate your own children instead of relying on the state to fill your role as a parent? Here you go.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

Thing Ive learned this week, abstinence ONLY people are fucking whackos, at least the ones that have commented here.  Im willing to bet, these abstinence only parents truly have no idea if their kid is out there fucking in high school or pre-marriage.  I know damn well if my parents were like that, Id have told them what they want to hear just like every other time teenagers when their parents try to tell them to do this and not that

Daniel
Daniel

Mock these warnings at your own peril, young lady. Let me let you in on a little secret. As a youth, I myself was a  pointlessly disaffected, sexually perverted layabout. And I'm here to tell you: my pecker turned a putrid shade of green. 

It had lost its special quality.

(FADE TO BLACK)


NewsDog
NewsDog

return to 1950s sexual morality...   which leads us to... 'Ward, weren't you a little hard on the beaver last night?'...

I know, I know, it was actually the early '60s.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@bealotcoolerifyoudid Right. The education code, the health code and the penal code all still state that homosexuality is illegal. There's been attempts to get those laws off the books before, but they've been unsuccessful. There's another bill trying to do the same thing this session. Some lawmakers seem to want to hold onto that stuff. I guess for sentimental reasons.

The contraception PowerPoint from Worth the Wait does list pulling out as a method, but says, correctly, that it's not a great plan. 

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

I want to read the D.O.'s Sexual Anarchy Manifesto. I think DISD kids do, too.

Daniel
Daniel

(Why the font is boldfaced, I do not know. I authorized no such formatting. But it makes me sound all stentorian, like Moses. Of course, he'd be warning about not getting circumcised, I guess.)

markzero
markzero

@everlastingphelps I guess if you really want to defend marriage you need to let more gay couples marry, then. Many of them have been cohabiting for years, even decades, and are still fighting for it.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

I've tried it both ways and cohabitation has been a much better experience than marriage. Marriage is for kids, and hopefully we outgrow that too.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@everlastingphelps Well shit, if some couples married ten years or less admitted in a phone survey to having ever "contemplated divorce," or said it was a possible option, then clearly cohabitators are a bunch of slutty, commitment-less reprobates!  

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@MaxNoDifference son of bitch, I feel like a failure this week!  Everyone making zingers off my failed comments!

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Is whacking not a violation of the Abstinence Doctrine?

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Daniel I thought you were just begging to get noticed, so you too could be tagged a "top commenter"

FreewheelinFranklin
FreewheelinFranklin

@ScottsMerkin 

Now I remember why I have no account -- or, rather, why I apparently created one last July but have not used it: No name even approximating "Daniel" -- no alternate spelling, no second initial, no permutation of caps-and-lower-case, no addition of a numeral, no FIRST initial -- is available.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Daniel Its pretty hard not to notice, the whole tag is bigger than the font of our names.  I enjoyed the dick joke.  Dont be lazy, get an account then you can have an avatar of your kid that no one gives a shit about

Daniel
Daniel

@ScottsMerkin @Daniel   PLEASE NOTICE MY DICK JOKE AND REWARD ME. Actually, I don't have an account and so cannot be thus tagged. I post "anonymously" because I'm lazy. You know, Gen X and all. For this reason (I think), I can't use HTML tags, which makes the boldface all the odder. 


Are you sure you're not just begging ME to notice that YOU have been tagged a top commenter?

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