Obama: Sex Before Reading?
A new John McCain ad belittles Barack Obama’s legislative achievements on education reform and includes this gem:
Obama’s one accomplishment? Legislation to teach “comprehensive sex education” to kindergartners. Learning about sex before learning to read?
TPM’s Greg Sargent finds the charge “false” and “pernicious.” He cites this passage from the bill, as circulated by McCain’s staff:
“Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades K through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV.”
Sargent notes that Obama camp’s explanation that the bill “would simply add instruction on disease prevention to already existing Illinois sex-ed standards.” Indeed, Team Obama is calling the charge “perverse.”
“It is shameful and downright perverse for the McCain campaign to use a bill that was written to protect young children from sexual predators as a recycled and discredited political attack against a father of two young girls – a position that his friend Mitt Romney also holds. Last week, John McCain told Time magazine he couldn’t define what honor was. Now we know why,” said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.
Taking legislative language and votes out of context to exploit cultural divides is so routine that it’s hard to get particularly excited by this. Indeed, the ad’s not totally unfair.
While I’m generally pro-sex ed, it strikes me as bizarre to mandate teaching kindergartners about STDs. Making them aware of sexual predators is, sadly, probably necessary. But are six-year-olds really having unprotected sex and sharing hyperdermic needles?