"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Condoms in High School: An Example of the Potential Problems of Common Core Standards?

School officials in Monadnack Regional School District in New Hampshire quickly back pedaled a decision made to pass out condoms to high school students. The situation became a public relations nightmare for the school district when parents found out their students were receiving candy along with condoms and flavored lubricant without parental knowledge or permission:

When some parents learned about the distribution of the kits, they complained to the school administration, school board and AIDS Services.

"The biggest issue among parents and some staff is that AIDS Services for the Monadnock Region distributed sexually enticing products," said parent Brandie Roof.

Roof said she was also offended that as a parent, she was not notified of the visit from AIDS Services, the distribution of the kits, or given a chance to have her children "opt out" of the day's events.

You can watch a youtube of parent reaction here.

The distribution of the condoms in safe-sex kits was in conjunction with Worlds AIDs Day presentation. It was developed by AIDS Services of the Monadnock Region, a nonprofit that provides client services, community education and outreach, and housing for AIDS patients. Director Susan McNeil said this about distributing the condoms:

MacNeil defended the need for safe-sex kits in high schools and said officials at Monadnock Regional High School had given written approval for their distribution.

McNeil has visited other New Hampshire High School and made presentations and given bags to students:

..AIDS Services distributed all its 200 kits at Keene High School in November before Principal Alan Chmiel called a halt to the distribution. She said a team of Keene teachers approved the distribution, and the two-day program continued.

A Monadnock school board member responded in this manner:

...school board member Bruce Barlow said the board is revisiting its policies to make sure nothing similar happens in the future.

The preceding sentences encapsulates the important issue in the article as it concerns common core standards and the autonomy of local school boards. Presently school boards still have the authority to make such decisions if "curriculum" decisions are deemed to be inappropriate. They can reflect the social mores of the community they serve. With the adoption and implementation of common core standards, this ability is lost. The following comments are from other education officials in the state:

Across New Hampshire, each school district decides whether to distribute condoms or not, said Deputy Education Commissioner Paul Leather.

"I don't believe it's a wide practice, but I don't know," he said. He said school boards should have policies in place to deal with such issues.

Condoms aren't distributed in Manchester, the state's largest school district, said Superintendent Tom Brennan. He said Manchester schools focus on abstinence, and West High School even invites in an educator from Catholic Medical Center to discuss abstinence with students, he said.

The school district also teaches from textbooks that explain sexual activity and contraception, he said. Brennan, a former administrator in Jaffrey-Rindge and Kearsarge districts, said neither of those districts allowed condom distribution when he was there.

"I just don't think it's appropriate for schools to get into the situation where they're taking on the responsibility of parents," Brennan said.

I have a question: What will happen in the future when common core standards are in place for your state, and your consortium deciding curriculum in health possibly decides distributing candy and condoms to your 12 year old is part of an "appropriate education"? You or your school district will have NO POWER to change this curriculum.

This is a possible scenario and question to ask your legislators regarding the wisdom of agreeing to common core standards. Your school district is becoming increasingly powerless to decide what its students should learn. Our senators on the education committee seem to agree with relinquishing state responsibility and authority to set standards. Read "Educated Citizenry 2020".

State educational decisions are being handed over to an unknown consortium with an unknown agenda. We've signed away Math and Communication Arts standards; Science and Social Studies are next. Does that raise a red flag in your mind? Even charter schools so heavily touted in this plan are subject to common core mandates. Parents can't put their children in charters and expect a high quality education if they are operating under the same standards as public schools. Ask your legislators about this bit of information that is not addressed in the plan.

1 comment:

  1. I am a believer that kids should be aware of sex education, but isn't this going a bit over the edge? Way to encourage the kids to have sex by giving them a reason to, free condoms.


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