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Author Topic:   Texas makes changes to health textbooks

Posts: 257
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 11-06-2004 06:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gloworm     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
i'm sure some of you may have already heard or read about this but i thought i would open up the topic for conversation here.

i saw a clip on headline news about this issue but i have had a hard time finding lots of information about it online.

here is one article from
No Same Sex Marriage in Texas Textbooks

basically, the board of education decided to remove any "asexual language" concerning marital relationships from all health textbooks used in Texas public schools. They will only allow texts that define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
This article talks mostly about this issue and I thought it was very relevant considering the recent results from election day and the ban on same-sex marriage in 11 states.

Furthermore, the article states that this change could spread to other states as well because the publishers and suppliers of these textbooks also service other states. (i think McGraw-Hill was among the publishers). Apparently, Texas has a LOT of clout with textbook publishers because they are such a major customer. So you can see how this could become a major issue..

What the article does NOT mention, but the clip on headline news did, was also the fact that the textbooks are increasingly moving towards only promoting abstinence as an affective form of birth control and disease prevention. they are phasing out information on birth control methods and disease prevention information.

i find this so disturbing. coming from a VERY conservative state (which is in the "Bible Belt" no less), i can see actions of this nature infiltrating our education system as well. i'm fairly conservative in my personal life but i just can't believe the extremes this country is going to. this is the reason why this web site and forum are CRUCIAL to getting the word out on sexual education and information.

i just think about all the misinformed people that post on this board and all of the myths and misconceptions they bring to the forums. i am so thankful for Miz Scarlet and all of the sexperts, advocates and other members who so graciously set the record straight. people like those who approved this textbook reform in Texas are the reason why there are young people out there who are so completely clueless about their own bodies, their sexual health and well being, and totally uninformed about proper care and protection. it really breaks my heart to think about people like a good friend of mine who had an incident several months ago where he got a girl pregnant. he honestly thought that as long as he "pulled out", they would be fine without a condom. he's 23 years old! and he didn't know better! how sad is that? and apparently the girl didn't know better either! and how many more young people out there are just as misinformed? you tell me, you read these boards too!

*sigh* it just really makes me upset so i wanted to share and get some more reactions from the fine folks at this board. again, i am so grateful for Miz Scarlet and everyone who keeps this place running. it may be up to us to change how the world thinks about sexual health.

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Miz Scarlet

Posts: 19846
From: Minneapolis
Registered: May 2000

posted 11-06-2004 06:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Miz Scarlet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gloworm: save the kudos to us (and thank you), what you've posted here, with a little finessing, would be an EXCELLENT letter to send to the Texas Board of Education.

I'd encourage you to do that. Really, young adults advocating for themselves and their peers is sometimes even more powerful and heartfelt than adults doing it for you.

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Posts: 195
From: Laguna Niguel, CA, USA
Registered: May 2004

posted 11-06-2004 11:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for coolestdesignz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree. Clean that up and send it in.

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Posts: 257
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 11-07-2004 03:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gloworm     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
thanks for your kind words.

i would send it in but since i don't live in Texas*, do you think the board of education is even going to bother to read it? i'm also out of college if that makes a difference.

*sorry if i didn't make that clear in my original post.

I am from Alabama (yeah, several years ago it was in AL that they added the preface in the biology books about the big bang theory being a load of bull... *sigh*) so i can totally see my state jumping all over this one in agreement.

Are there any Texans on this board that have thoughts on this?

[This message has been edited by gloworm (edited 11-07-2004).]

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Posts: 5788
From: UK
Registered: May 2002

posted 11-07-2004 08:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for logic_grrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
so i can totally see my state jumping all over this one in agreement.

In that case, might be a good idea to see what is happening with textbooks in your state ....

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Posts: 3154
From: Clear Lake City area, Texas
Registered: Jun 2000

posted 11-07-2004 10:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lemming     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I do, in fact, live in Texas, and when the grad school/GRE insanity is over I'll certainly be doing some letter writing.

However, I think it's valid to point out that this is NOT a new thing. Not by a long shot. Texas and California have always been the main players in the textbook content game, with Texas being the most important. And when you consider the prevailing politics in Texas, this isn't really a shock; we have abstinence-only "sex education" in the public schools, till recently we had sodomy laws, and you can't buy a vibrator or a dildo here unless it's for novelty purposes only. So.

My health class in a Texas public high school was useless, too, and that was 6 years ago.

I'll be writing some letters.

Laurel Lemming
Scarleteen Advocate

"And when the answer that you want/Is in the question that you state/Come what may..." - Coheed and Cambria, "Blood Red Summer"

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Posts: 257
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 11-07-2004 03:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gloworm     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lemming, I agree that the sex education classes when i was in jr high/high school were also pointless. In fact, all I really remember is the creepy girl's gym teacher showing us pictures of boils and lesions caused by stds, i guess to freak us out and deter us from having sex (didn't work for many, i'm sure).

In fact, it's really sad but i have learned so much more from this web site than i ever learned from school or my parents. of course, i learned a lot of myths and misconceptions from classmates and television. it's so sad, really.

if i was a parent (and may be someday), i would want my child to have all the information available instead of just scaring them by telling them they better not have sex until they are married and leaving it at that.

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Posts: 380
From: Up North, Wisconsin
Registered: Sep 2004

posted 11-08-2004 01:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Barbarosa     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As an aside, and perhaps already noted, of the 4 books adopted, 3 mention NOTHING about contraception, and one mentioned condoms only in passing...

What is more frightening is what the publishers left out, much to the chagrin of the idiots in the TBOE…

Board member Terri Leo, a Republican, said she was pleased with the publishers' changes. She had led the effort to get the publishers to change the texts, objecting to what she called ``asexual stealth phrases'' such as ``individuals who marry.''

Neither publisher added all the changes Leo initially pushed for. For instance, one proposed passage in the teacher's editions read: ``Opinions vary on why homosexuals, lesbians and bisexuals as a group are more prone to self-destructive behaviors like depression, illegal drug use, and suicide.''

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Posts: 25
From: mass and ny
Registered: Oct 2003

posted 11-10-2004 12:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ChitarraRegazza     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Slightly OT, but I think showing pictures of pus-oozing lesions and the like would actually make the teens who have sex less likely to use condoms. If you've been shown graphic pictures of STIs, you're probably going to think that if your partner has one, there's no way you're going to miss it. After looking at those pictures, I would be willing to bet that a lot of kids thought, "Hey, my partner's genitalia aren't covered in warts or oozing pus! Why bother with a condom, s/he clearly has no diseases!"

Aargh. Why do these people think that a little knowledge of reality is such a bad thing? I knew what a condom was and why it's important to use one fully ten years before I had sex. My decision not to have sex at the numerous opportunities that presented themselves in that time period came not from terror at possible pregnancy or infection (WHY is our society convinced that this is the way people should feel about their sexuality?!?), but from the simple fact that it was just not the right time yet. Schools and texts should just give this information as impartially as possible. If there are "morality" lessons to be given, they should be coming from the home.

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