Election 2012

GOP Platform on Education: More Choice, More Accountability, Much Less Sex

|

Romney and schoolkids

In the newly released GOP platform, passages endorsing abstinence education are wedged inappropriately between the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program and teacher accreditation standards in the education planks. Because sex is fun and interesting (unless done outside the confines of marriage, because values, etc. etc.) most of the coverage has focused on that totally unsurprising yet still controversial stance. 

But actual education policy is fun and interesting too! Well, not so much "fun" as a complete freaking mess. First, some (old) bad news about how public schools have been doing so far. (Note that these failures stretch over decades and both parties are responsible):

Since 1965 the federal government has spent $2 trillion on elementary and secondary education with no substantial improvement in academic achievement or high school graduation rates (which currently are 59 percent for African-American students and 63 percent for Hispanics). 

In other words, this:

While this won't be news to people who are following education policy (and to be fair, people who are following education policy may be the only people who read the education section of the GOP platform), the numbers are and should remain shocking. More than 40 percent of black students in America do not graduate high school.

One more time: More than 40 percent of black students in America do not graduate high school. We need to do something about that.

The Republican platform generally emphasized choice and accountability as solutions. This list of "consumer choice" option is pleasingly broad, though apprenticeships and vocational schools go unmentioned: 

We support options for learning, including home schooling and local innovations like single-sex classes, full-day school hours, and year-round schools. School choice – whether through charter schools, open enrollment requests, college lab schools, virtual schools, career and technical education programs, vouchers, or tax credits – is important for all children, especially for families with children trapped in failing schools.

Direct pokes at union eyeballs are kept to a minimum—unions are mentioned by name only in the context of the congressional fight over the D.C. Opportunity Scholarships—but this passage hits the anti-union high notes:

We support legislation that will correct the current law provision which defines a "Highly Qualified Teacher" merely by his or her credentials, not results in the classroom. We urge school districts to make use of teaching talent in business, STEM fields, and in the military, especially among our returning veterans. Rigid tenure systems based on the "last in, first out" policy should be replaced with a merit-based approach that can attract fresh talent and dedication to the classroom.

But once we're done loosening up, providing more choices, and being "the party of fresh and innovative ideas in education," the GOP lowers the hammer with some English-only and abstinence education planks.

In other news, the bigotry of low expectations has gotten more hardcore since George Bush's day. It is no longer "soft." The 2012 platform decries the "crippling bigotry of low expectations"

NEXT: Police Chase Suspect, Take a Moment To Shoot Dog

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. How about we have absolutely no sex education in schools of any kind? Just tell parents that if little snowflake gets knocked up it is their problem not the government’s.

    1. If the government schools doesn’t teach kids about sex, no one will.

      1. And….here comes Joe to illustrate your point.

        1. I like sex ed in schools. It’s the quickest and surest way for kids to learn that authority is staffed by idiots.

          Except the fat ones, who never learn.

      2. This is certainly true for some students. Not everyone has effective, knowledgeable parents.

        1. “Not everyone has effective, knowledgeable parents.”

          Not every class has an effective, knowledgeable teacher.

        2. So what? Since when does the existence of bad parents justify trampling on the rights of all parents to education their children as they see fit?

          1. So what? Since when does the existence of bad parents justify trampling on the rights of all parents to education their children as they see fit?

            Because parents may teach something that they do not agree with. OR may not teach them anything at all. We must destroy the family to protect the children.

            Did not the Jesuits say “give me the boy, and I’ll give you the man.” Same thing.

          2. Do you feel the same way about child abuse? Incest?

            1. So teaching your kids not to have sex and suffering some increased risk of pregnancy is the same as raping them or abusing them?

              That is totally dishonest on your part. The point is that whatever harm is done here, assuming there is any, doesn’t justify trampling on people’s rights. The burden is on you to show great harm not just point to something else that is a great harm.

            2. Don’t be an idiot, Derider. You know goddamn well that we are talking about parents educating their children, not about parents abusing their children. You’re question is disingenuous, an attempt to provoke emotions, and deflect reasoned argument. If you can’t argue in good faith, please leave.

              1. That was very polite of you – I’d have been tempted to just stick with “fuck off, slaver”.

              2. Well he is named The Derider afterall.

        3. Why should those people be allowed to be parents?

          Shouldn’t the children be taken away?

          Why even let them reproduce?

          Why not just give children a parenting test as they approach reproductive age, and sterilize them if they fail?

          1. Because forcing their kids to go to school infringes on their rights a lot less, and solves a lot of the problems, and thus is better policy than mandatory sterilization.

            1. But why should potentially bad parents be allowed to reproduce?

              How fair is that to the children?

              Taking the children away from their parents hurts the children, but so does having idiots for parents.

              Best solution is to outlaw unlicensed reproduction.

  2. Abstinance-only education contributes significantly to the dropout rate.

    “About 70 percent of all students who drop out of school early, do so because of teen pregnancy.”
    http://www.teenpregnancystatis…..teens.html

    If we refuse to teach young people about pregnancy and effective methods of contraception, we’ll never significantly reduce the dropout rate.

    1. For the non-believers:

      Abstinence only education is positively correlated with teen pregnancy rates.

      http://www.plosone.org/article…..ne.0024658

      1. sing the most recent national data (2005) from all U.S. states with information on sex education laws or policies (N = 48), we show that increasing emphasis on abstinence education is positively correlated with teenage pregnancy and birth rates.

        Because correlation equals causation. Is there any junk science you won’t buy, provided it tells you what you want to hear?

        We had no sex ed or abstinence only sex ed for hundreds of years in this country. Yet, unmarried teen pregnancy rates were pretty low for almost our entire history.

        1. Unmarried teen pregnancy is subsidized. And we all know what happens when you subsidize something. That’s right. You get more of it.

        2. You realize that your last paragraph presents a rough correlation as a causal relationship, right?

          1. No. That is what it claims but if you read the paper, it does no such thing. First it assumes all teen pregnancies are equal and unplanned which is not true. And the correlation is only as good as their assumptions about the effects of the other factors and their ability to account for all contributing factors.

            It is cargo science written to tell people like you what you want to hear. And in the end sex education is nothing but a culture war fought between two totalitarian factions intent on using the government to shove their view of culture and morality down everyone’s throats.

            1. a culture war fought between two totalitarian factions intent on using the government to shove their view of culture and morality down everyone’s throats.

              This is true of most of the shit that passes as political thought today. Nothing really unique about it.

            2. No, you’re not getting it. You said this:

              “We had no sex ed or abstinence only sex ed for hundreds of years in this country. Yet, unmarried teen pregnancy rates were pretty low for almost our entire history.”

              Which is presenting a correlation as causation.

              1. At best your paper says it is statistically signficant. But it never translates their numbers into numbers of increased pregnancies. How many pregnancies are we talking about preventing here? The study never says. It pulls a dishonest slight of hand by assuming that all statistically significant correlations are equal. They are not. There could be a statistically significant correlation of two more teen pregnancies a year in each state. That would might be statistically significant, but it would hardly justify trampling people’s moral views on the subject.

                1. You’re the only one talking about moral views. I’m suggesting that the abstinence only plank in the republican platform increases teen pregnancy, and that teen pregnancy is the number 1 cause of dropouts.

                  1. “I’m suggesting that the abstinence only plank in the republican platform increases teen pregnancy”

                    HEY EVERYBODY! JOE JUST TOLD US A PLANK IN THE GOP PLATFORM KNOCKS UP SCHOOLGIRLS. A FUCKING PLANK!!!

                    Comedy gold.

            3. Do you have any empirical evidence that suggests that abstinence only education is effective?

              1. Yes.

                Not a single teen who has practiced what they’ve learned in their abstinence only sex ed class has ever gotten pregnant.

                And this is from a guy who believes abstinence only education is stupid. But none of that is for government to decide.

            4. ” And in the end sex education is nothing but a culture war fought between two totalitarian factions intent on using the government to shove their view of culture and morality down everyone’s throats.”

              The American Civil Liberties Union on Monday issued a report to the Department of Education asserting that numerous single-sex education programs in public schools are unlawful. Furthermore, the report calls for the department to rescind its regulations enabling these single-sex education programs.

              Part of the ACLU’s “Teach Kids, Not Stereotypes” campaign, the report presents findings on the scope and characteristics of single-sex education programs in 15 states. The ACLU states that a significant percentage of the schools surveyed base their programs on discredited sex stereotypes.

              “All meaningful studies of these programs show that they don’t improve academics, but they do foster stereotypes and do a disservice to kids who don’t fit these artificial distinctions,” said Amy L. Katz, cooperating attorney with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project. Beliefs in the differences between genders with regard to math and science achievement, literature preferences, and competitiveness are all cited as spurious stereotypes. Some recent studies have cast similar doubt on single-sex education.

              http://dailycaller.com/2012/08…..z24xMqBZZg

      2. In addition that study does not take into account teens who get married and get pregnant. Teen goes to 19. In some places people still get married at 18.

        1. You mean they wait that long?

          /hindu

      3. Correlation is not causation you disingenuous stool sucker.

    2. And absence only education increases teen pregnancy? Citation please.

      1. Correlation is causation.

        Derider told me so.

        1. If you have a better explanation for the correlation, other than a causal relationship, please state it.

          1. The rooster crows every morning before the sun comes up. So the rooster crowing causes the sun to come up.

            If you have a better explanation for the correlation, other than a causal relationship, please state it. /Joe

            1. Jeez WTF, you can not even get causation correct. Everyone knows it is the fact that the sun is approching the horizon that causes the rooster to crow. No wonder we can not teach people this stuff.

              1. I was using Joe ‘logic’.

            2. See, in this case, the better explanation would be that the sun coming up causes the rooster to crow.

              I don’t think there actually IS another explanation for why abstinence-only education is correlated with higher teen pregnancy rates. The only explanation that makes sense is causal.

              1. “I don’t think there actually IS another explanation for why abstinence-only education is correlated with higher teen pregnancy rates.”

                So, teaching a teen the only 100% effective way to not become pregnant causes teen pregnancy. And teaching racial tolerance causes bigotry too. Teachers must really suck

                1. It’s only 100% effective if kids do it correctly every time. That’s actually quite hard when you’re talking about abstinence– and data shows that even if you teach them this 100% effective method, kids do not implement it with anywhere near 100% effectiveness.

                  Think about it like this. Lets assume abstinence is 100% effective, but kids only implement it correctly 50% of the time. Lets assume Condoms are 90% effective, and kids implement them correctly 60% of the time.

                  The effectiveness of abstinence is 100% X 50% or 50%
                  The effectiveness of condoms is 90% X 60% or 54%

                  In this case, condoms would be more effective.

                  1. “Think about it like this. Lets assume abstinence is 100% effective, but kids only implement it correctly 50% of the time.”

                    LMFAO…explain how abstinence can be implemented incorrectly. You’re either abstinent or you are not.

          2. See my 11:54 comment.

          3. And look at the paper itself. This is as strong as it gets

            After accounting for this influence, the level of abstinence education still had a significant effect on teen pregnancy (F = 2.839, p = 0.049) and teen birth rates (N = 43 states: F = 7.782, p

            1. Cue Joe with fingers in ears yelling: “LA LA LA LA LA can’t hear you!!!”

            2. Fuck reason squirrels. You ate half of my post. I never tells up what the F number means in actual increased pregnancies. How many pregnancies are we talking about? Enough to justify telling the majority of people to fuck off we are teaching their kids about sex whether they like it or not? Doubtful.

            3. I didn’t immidiately know what F meant, either.

              http://wed.siu.edu/Faculty/JCalvin/shorthand.htm

              F test from Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)

      2. I did.

    3. If male-female couplings include unprotected vaginal intercourse, the odds of pregnancy are extremely high.

      Teaching kids to NOT engage in that activity, seems like a sensible idea.

      What’s your problem with that, Derider?

      1. That’s a silly question.

        The problem is who supports it, not what is being taught.

        If the left supported it then it would be a good idea.

        Principals, not principles.

        1. Abstinence-only sex ed answers that question, so I can see why the left is against it.

      2. “Teaching kids to NOT engage in that activity, seems like a sensible idea.”

        If you fuck, you might get pregnant and drastically increase the chance your family will live in poverty. End of lesson

        1. Depends on which hole you fuck.

          1. Abstinence-only education prohibits teaching students that fact.

            1. No, it doesn’t. Teaching kids to not engage in “baby-making” sex is a solid concept. Why are you against it?

              1. I’m saying, abstinence only education laws as written do not allow teachers to present anal or oral sex as alternatives to vaginal sex.

                1. “I’m saying, abstinence only education laws as written do not allow teachers to present anal or oral sex as alternatives to vaginal sex.”

                  And it leaves out fucking sheep and using fresh fruits as an alternative also. That penis…you didn’t control that.

                2. I’m saying, abstinence only education laws as written do not allow teachers to present anal or oral sex as alternatives to vaginal sex

                  What about warm apple pies?

                  1. I don’t have kids, but if I did, I wouldn’t want them learning about ass-sex from their junior high teacher. That’s what the Internet is for.

      3. I am advocating teaching kids not to engage in unprotected vaginal intercourse. Republicans suggest in their platform that the most effective way to do this is to teach kids not to have sex at all. Data shows this is ineffective. I suggest teaching kids to put on a condom or to get hormonal birth control if they’re going to have sex. Data suggests this is more effective.

        1. I’m no Republican (or Democrat), but seems to me the sensible approach is for kids to NOT FUCKING ENGAGE IN BABY-PRODUCING SEXUAL ACTIVITIES.

          Shit, this ain’t rocket surgery.

          1. Well, no shit.

            But HOW do you get kids not to engage in baby producing sexual activities?

            1. But HOW do you get kids not to engage in baby producing sexual activities?

              Well, it used to be that social mores were a lot more strict regarding teenage sex and pre-marital sex in general. If you knocked up your girlfriend, you were expected to marry her, or at least get a job to support the baby, and the social stigma remained until you proved to the community that you could be responsible parents.

              In our current society, it’s damn near impossible to impose those kinds of social shaming tactics because 1) society has become a lot more solipsistic and 2) people not feeling shame for anything outside normal social conventions is not only accepted, but actively encouraged in popular entertainment and media. Children are exposed to sexual imagery on a scale these days that our grandparents could never imagine, and it’s naive to think that this won’t have subsequent impacts on their perception of what is considered acceptable behavior.

              1. You tell them “if you have kids you can’t afford, you’re going to be a leech the rest of your life”?

        2. I am advocating teaching kids not to engage in unprotected vaginal intercourse.

          I agree. Every parent needs to teach their child this fact. Schools, not so much.

          1. Parents are not government. Therefore, they are incapable of raising children.

            1. Some parents are better than others. Many parents are better than government at teaching their children about sex. Some are not.

              1. Some parents are better than others. Many parents are better than government at teaching their children about sex. Some are not.

                Does not change the fact that schools should not be teaching it.

          2. I agree. Every parent needs to teach their child this fact. Schools, not so much.

            You don’t understand! If the government doesn’t teach this to children, NO ONE WILL!

            1. t is easy to understand why the law is used by the legislator to destroy in varying degrees among the rest of the people their personal independence by slavery, their liberty by oppression, and their property by plunder. This is done for the benefit of the person who makes the law, and in proportion to the power that he holds.

              If you wish to prosper, let your customer prosper. When people have learned this lesson, everyone will seek his individual welfare in the general welfare. Then jealousies between man and man, city and city, province and province, nation and nation, will no longer trouble the world.

              Here I encounter the most popular fallacy of our times. It is not considered sufficient that the law should be just; it must be philanthropic. Nor is it sufficient that the law should guarantee to every citizen the free and inoffensive use of his faculties for physical, intellectual, and moral self-improvement. Instead, it is demanded that the law should directly extend welfare, education, and morality throughout the nation.

              – Bastiat

        3. How about not forcing any regiment of sex ed on any students and allow parents to do what fucking parents are supposed to do?

  3. Since 1965 the federal government has spent $2 trillion on elementary and secondary education with no substantial improvement in academic achievement or high school graduation rates

    Something about the phrasing of this statement bothers me, but I can’t put words to it.

    Like, if you want to discuss a change in one rate, shouldn’t that be compared to a change in another rate, not to a static sum? “Since 1965, despite average annual funding increases of X, the rate of graduation has remained unchanged.” Something like that?

    1. It is very lazy.

      I’d bet dollars to donuts that the %GDP we spend on education has gone up at rate X, while every significant measure of primary education has either gone down, stayed the same, or gone up at rate Y which is substantially lower than X.

      1. Spending on education in inflation-adjusted dollars has just about tripled since the 1970’s, with no increase in educational achievement.

      2. I think the %GDP may have gone down due to the tremendous amount of growth seen between 1980 and 2000.

  4. A comment war between John and joe will be like Alien vs. Predator, in that it will be so contrived and pointless that even contemplating it will damage your brain.

    1. Then don’t read it and go fuck yourself or something.

      1. The best response would have been:

        You are one ugly motherfucker.

        1. delivered in Dennis Reynold’s DannyGloverVoice.

  5. One more time: More than 40 percent of black students in America do not graduate high school. We need to do something about that.

    Sorry KM-W, but we do not need to do anything about that. You can do something, say volunteer your time to start a tutoring program to help black students get up to their appropriate grade level, thus encouraging them to “ride out” their high school education. But, as a libertarian, I think that black student graduation rates are a matter to be dealt with by those students and their families.

    1. I would say black students in America are the ones who need to do something about that. They are human beings who can make different choices aren’t they?

      1. clearly, these low graduation rates are NYPD’s fault.

        lets’ recap

        a)according to crime victims (who are disproportionately minority btw), blacks commit substantially more part I and part II crime in NYC.

        b) NYPD stops blacks disproportionately to their representation in the population, but proportionately to their crime occurrence rate AS measured by those crime victims above. ditto for gender disparity.

        this is clearly RACISM

        C)blacks don’t graduate nearly as often as whites.

        this is PARENT’s fault, and the kids fault

        clearly no institutional problem there

        note the interesting dichotomy

        note : there are disparities in demographics. in all sorts of things

        the disparity in oow birth rates, for example are also extremely large

        the disparity in armed robbery rates between men and women are extremely large

        but clearly it’s RACISM when one of those disparities is considered, even though (again) the stop rates correlate nearly perfectly with the offender rates PER crime victims (not cops)

        this is a great example of how metanarrative determines how you look at things

        the left, who ALSO blames racism for a large part of the graduation disparity points to differing suspension rates , in class discipline rates, etc. because it must be racist teachers who are TREATING certain race kids differently .

        the reasonoids don’t buy THAT racism argument , but they buy the cop one

        1. I got no problem with your argument. It seems like smart policing to me. I would venture to say that NYPD is not doing stop and frisks on 53 year-old black guys, sporting $3000 worth of Hugo Boss, walking into The Four Seasons on East 52nd St. for a corporate lunch. Instead, they are stopping young blacks wearing the “uniform” of thugs. Shit, I live in Long Beach, CA and I can tell who the good guys are from the bad guys. I would hope a cop can, too.

          1. You would hope, but would be wrong to do so. First rule of police work, Cover Your Ass.

        2. Oh shut the fuck up, asscunt.

    2. Ding! I don’t need to do anything about black teenagers graduation rates, or asian, hispanic, white, or martian teenagers graduation rates.

      If you want to start proposing some ways to get the federal government in particular and governments in general out of the education business, I’m all for it. But if graduation rates are a problem, maybe parents need to step up and take some responsibility for their offspring.

      Maybe we need to quit warehousing people for 12 years and start pushing tehm out a little earlier, kind of like the Brits do.

  6. Their platform sounds exactly like I expect the next 10 years of my life to be.

  7. Rigid tenure systems based on the “last in, first out” policy should be replaced with a merit-based approach that can attract fresh talent and dedication to the classroom.

    Isn’t this gonna create something of a dead sea effect? If you’re job security and pay is dependent on student performance, are you going to want to teach the honors track, the regular track, or the basic skills track? So the kids who most need superior teachers (the ones lagging behind) end up with the worst teachers.

    1. Yes, this is one of the problems that Unions point to with frequency.

      1. Funny how they never point to that rubber room thing.

      2. Ah right, I keep forgetting there are only two positions on any given issue, so any criticism of Red Team’s position must mean you support Blue Team’s position.

  8. Didn’t we already point out that they ignore their platform?

  9. “Isn’t this gonna create something of a dead sea effect? If you’re job security and pay is dependent on student performance, are you going to want to teach the honors track, the regular track, or the basic skills track? So the kids who most need superior teachers (the ones lagging behind) end up with the worst teachers.”

    Depends on how performance is measured and if you maintain that there should be different tracks.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.