According to a Washington Post editorial, “Open to Vouchers?” Michelle Rhee, the head of the Washington, DC public education system recently testified before Congress that “she could not in good conscience tell a parent today to put his or her child in a traditional [Washington, D.C.] public school.” So, who could possibly criticize President and Mrs. Obama for choosing a prep school for their daughters? After all, implicit in Ms. Rhee’s statement is the suggestion that if you have the wherewithal to get your kids out of the D.C. public schools, you have a parental obligation to do it.
But don’t worry, David A. Catalina, the chairman of the D.C. Council Committee on Health, is on the job working to improve education in the District. According to the Post article, “D.C. Students say School’s Sex Education is Antiquated,” Mr. Catalina held a hearing yesterday as part of the Youth Sexual Habit Project.
D.C. public high school students who participated in focus groups on sexual health said they were unimpressed with the District’s sex education curriculum, do not trust the school nurses who are charged with counseling them about disease prevention and disdain the brand of condoms distributed by schools.
The students, particularly girls, said they were too suspicious or embarrassed to talk to school nurses about sex or ask about condoms. “It’s like talking to your mom,” one student said.
Those were some of the findings of a survey conducted by the Youth Sexual Health Project, funded by the D.C. Council Committee on Health, whose chairman, council member David A. Catania (I-At Large), had a hearing on the issue Wednesday.
“This has never been done by a committee,” but “it’s been an elephant in the room, an unaddressed issue for years: What are we doing with respect to the sexual health of our children? No one wanted to tackle it,” Catania said.
The article proceeds to spell out the complaints in more detail:
Health officials said frank discussions about sexual relationships are the foundation of sex education. But students surveyed said the instruction they get doesn’t address the real-life situations they encounter, such as how to talk to a partner who constantly pushes for unprotected sex.
Girls said they were unlikely to carry condoms for fear of being labeled promiscuous.
Students had another reason for passing up the free condoms available at school. Durex condoms, the brand widely distributed by the Health Department under a contract, are considered lame and more likely to pop or break, students said. They said they prefer Trojan or Magnum.
Youths “have very strong opinions about particular brands of condoms,” the researchers wrote. “These opinions . . . factually correct or not, play an important role in a youth’s decision to use a product.”
Students in the survey also said that school nurses were “judgmental and untrustworthy,” making it unlikely that teens would seek their advice.
One suspects that he nurses were accused of being “judgmental” because they might have hinted at the truth: that teenaged girls who carry around condoms really are “promiscuous,” although one also suspects that the children in the D.C. public schools have more colorful vernacular to describe the phenomenon.
Which makes you think that Ms. Rhee knows what she is talking about. And, that, when it comes to their daughters, the Obama’s know what they are doing. It’s another matter altogether for those lacking wherewithal to escape this insanity.
Update: As a guy who regularly gets mail addressed to Keith Paulishek, or Pavlicheck, or Palishak, or Pavilschek, or Pavlicik and every other misspelling you might imagine (not to mention the frequent misspelling of Keith—”I before E except after C” and all that), I should probably be particularly careful when it comes to making sure I correctly spell the names of others.
So, shame on me for incorrectly spelling the name of D.C. council member David A. Catania. The fellow who is working so diligently to determine the right brand of condoms to be distributed to Washington, D.C. public school children is not David A. Catalina, it is David A. Catania.
My apologies to Mr. Catania, but also to any David Catalina’s out there who might have been unfairly tarnished by my carelessness.