And this past Wednesday, the Assembly Education Committee passed AB 230 with a friendly amendment from Assembly Member Dina Neal (D-North Las Vegas). So another bill passed the first test at the Nevada Legislature this week. Why are we talking about this one today?
Here's why: According to the Guttmacher Institute, Nevada has the fourth highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation. And teen parents are more likely to drop out of school than their peers. And high school dropouts are less likely to earn living wages than their peers & more likely to need public assistance.
And we're incurring these costs now because we can't guarantee decent SexEd. Just providing proper SexEd can ultimately save our state loads of money while also saving many kids' lives and opportunities. Yes, this is what's actually at stake with AB 230.
But in case you need a better understanding of what's in AB 230 and why it's necessary, read this from Sin City Siren.
AB230 is not creating a new standard out of whole cloth. There is already an antique sex ed law on the books. It’s just bringing it from the tapedeck era into the blue-ray era. And don’t let the NIMBY’s fool you. According to a January 2013 poll, 67% of Nevadans are in favor of sex education in schools, including teaching age-appropriate information about birth control. And the majority — we’re talking above the 90th percentile — of parents nationwide support sex education. Plus, research shows that sex education is linked with delayed first-time sexual experience. The more kids know, the longer they wait! [...]
In fact, 88 percent of teens said they support sex education. And need I remind you, research shows that sex education is linked with delayed first-time sexual experience. So the truth is, talking about sex does the exact opposite of making kids have sex! Talking to them and giving them the information they need to make healthy choices actually does just that… helps them make healthy choices! It can also help prevent the spread of STDs and AIDS. It can prevent unwanted pregnancies. And it can potentially save someone from remaining in dangerous situations that can turn violent, or even deadly. Look, I don’t exactly look forward to sex talks with my kid. I have the same fears that many parents do that my kid might make bad choices or wind up in bad situations. But if she does, DEAR GOD I want her to be armed with knowledge and confidence to act on that knowledge! I want to give my child a full voice in her life and the power to back it up! Why would you want anything less for your kids? [...]
Nevada has the fourth highest rate of teen pregnancy. Our current law, which mandates abstinence-only education, is a failure at preventing unintended pregnancies as well as informing youth about things like rape, domestic violence, sexting, cyber-bullying, and much more. A Congressional study already confirmed that abstinence-only education does not work and the American Academy of Pediatricians has recommended a comprehensive sex education approach, which includes but is not limited to abstinence education. And, let’s face it, parents don’t know everything (don’t tell my daughter!). We get intimidated about talking about certain subjects. Or, in some cases, parents just aren’t equipped or emotionally available to have those conversations. Does that mean that kids should grow up ignorant just because some parents cop-out or don’t have the latest information? I’m sorry, but that’s just stupid.
Perhaps enough people in Carson City finally are. For everyone's sake, they must. We can either fix this problem now or continue to pay the consequences of the broken status quo. The Assembly Education Committee decided to finally fix it this week, and hopefully other legislators are paying attention to this.