Kansas' wise new sex-ed policy

The state board of education says children must get their parents' permission to learn about sex.


Farhad Manjoo
March 18, 2006 6:19AM (UTC)

Over on Planet Kansas, the board of education has ruled, in a 6-4 decision, that schools must get parents' permission before teaching children about the birds and the bees. Up to now, as in most states, most schools in Kansas had been offering sex education on an "opt-out" basis -- that is, parents would only need to contact little Mary's school if they did not want her to learn about why her body was beginning to change, or how to protect herself if she decided she really, really wanted to break her abstinence pledge, or why she should never, ever trust the boys who try to educate her on the benefits of "technical virginity."

Now, sex-ed in Kansas is opt-in. And, predictably, the move has upset many sex-crazed lefties in the state. They say that students will find it difficult to ask their parents to sign a form allowing them to learn about sex, and that many kids would, instead, just throw the form away. In fact, liberals in Kansas are so randy they're even try to push a bill through the legislature calling for mandatory opt-out sex ed in every school.

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But I think educators in Kansas -- as well as in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah, which have similar polices -- are on to something. It seems obvious that teaching kids about sex will only make them want to experiment with sex, because that's just how kids are. Whatever they learn in school, they're always looking to try it out with their friends. Just yesterday I saw some kids -- they really couldn't have been more than 12 years old, poor things -- in my own neighborhood trying to use a godless, obscure foreign theorem to determine the length of the third side of a triangle. And when I asked them where they'd learned that stuff, you know what they said? That's right: School.

It's time liberals faced up to a simple truth. Kids think school is cool. Our precious children consider their teachers "da bomb," especially the balding, big-bellied ones who seem to always be given the job of teaching sex ed (while alternating between gym and geography). If we don't want our kids to get the wrong idea about sex -- just like we don't want them to get the wrong idea about evolution -- we'd do well to follow Kansas's lead.


Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

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