Sex Education and No Child Left Behind

Since The Sex Ed Chronicles is fiction based around sex education politics in the past, I was compelled to look at how No Child Left Behind affects sex education in the present.The most obvious impact is that there is less time to teach sex education; emphasis on language arts and mathematics skills and tests has taken class time from all other subjects. I imagine there is less time for sex education taught in public schools in 2007, just as there is less time for recess. We need more of both in our schools.When I researched sex education policy for The Sex Ed Chronicles, I read transcripts from state board of education hearings from 1980, the year that mandatory sex education, politically known as Family Life Education, passed in New Jersey, my home state. Those transcripts explained an overlap between sex education and health/physical education, home economics, biology and social studies. With less time available to teach these subjects, there is also a possibility that the units related to sex education get the short shrift. There is also a good chance that there is less oversight over sex education; politicians have a natural tendency to ignore policies that they cannot afford to enforce.I cannot say that the legislative architects of No Child Left Behind saw a connection between their motives and cutting back on sex education. I have seen no evidence in the press and I was not around when the policies passed Congress. However, in states with abstinence-only or abstinence-until-marriage sex education policies, the public schools could technically out-source sex education to outside organizations, such as True Love Waits, or anti-choice groups–and comply with state education laws.Outsourcing sex education in abstinence-only or abstinence-until-marriage states is not impossible for me to believe; community and faith-based groups receive more federal funds to promote abstinence-until-marriage than state governments by a ratio of approximately three to one. The school boards can hire outsiders to deliver their message and be compliant, without hiring certified sex educators, and they spend the money they would allocate for sex education towards something else.This gives age-appropriate, medically accurate, sex education the short shrift. State governments, like New Jersey’s, that have adopted a more comprehensive approach to sex education, a more balanced approach (abstinence and contraception, for example), have been given the short shrift by the Bush Administration.In New Jersey, Governor Jon Corzine refused to accept federal money for abstinence-until-marriage programs last November. Community and faith-based groups in New Jersey can still apply for federal funds through a different budget line to teach their message. Garden State residents, legislators, sex educators, parents and students, however, must pay more to get the sex education they want; they must fund the programs, pay the educators, and confront the competing words of the messengers who have been aided by our president.That is sticking it up the buttocks, or whatever medically accurate name you prefer to call a backside. Not to mention the confusion it causes for parents who want their children to learn sex education in school.While I would bet that conservatives would love to see all sex education confined to the outside instructors or home schooling, that is unrealistic. It denies parents and children the information they really need to know.

Fatal System Errors in the US Education System

7 Reasons the U.S. Education System Is Failing!Recently, today actually, I saw a post of a video on Facebook that detailed simple questions posed to university students regarding BASIC social and historic facts, events and the people who govern our country. The results were astounding to say the least! Abject failure and an inability to name or identify ANY of the people, places and events. Let me repeat… NONE.The formal education system in the U.S. was designed to meet the demands of the industrial revolution by providing basic education to the masses. Pretty simple right? So why is it that we fail to recognize or refuse to acknowledge that the demands are different today? There has not been a calculable redefinition or evolution of the educational system since. This is scary as it will define the failure of our country step-by-step and bit-by-bit until we are reduced to a social collection of ignorance.Let’s examine the cause and solutions.1. Closed for Business!Schools find their existence tied to community standards and financial restraints based on the community support… or lack of. The result is that schools are closing at an alarming rate across the country. The decision to close a school rarely reflects the needs of a community or, more importantly, the needs of the students!There seems to be less concern for the needs of the communities children’s education than the economic demands of the location of the school or the resources available. Where is the federal government when this happens? Well, they are partially to blame. The government rhetoric details the need for affordable, quality education while they demand that school systems adhere to specific federal mandates that tie the school administration’s hands to comply with political wants. So much for federal support.2. Two-Gallons of milk in a one-gallon jug!So, how many kids can you cram into a classroom and still teach effectively? That depends on whether you are looking to teach the children or be a daycare service. I know, pretty harsh but look at the function of schools today. They take your children and house them and feed them for about 6-7 hours a day. Mostly providing them with basic discipline and food that they rarely get a t home! Oh yes, admin it. Teachers are required to discipline your children in a crowded atmosphere where safety is no longer guaranteed and education takes a back seat to providing basic needs that parents are unwilling to, uneducated to or unable to provide. Wait, what about education? Well, there is so little time for that that caring for them takes priority over teaching them.Secondarily, because of the constraints of federally-mandated guidelines, the children are taught in a cookie-cutter style standard of personality-limiting, creative-minimizing and individually-restrictive processes to get them to their adulthood. Basic education with basic performance that aligns children to basic standards that align with everyone else’s basic needs. Sad because it is done in crowded classrooms where teachers are forced to “teach” more children than one person could attend to. How effective is that?3. If You Do What You’ve Always Done… You’ll Get What You’ve Always Gotten!How can we expect our children to excel when their parents are minimally educated. One must understand that this cycle of poor education will produce more poorly educated children who will produce more poorly-educated children and so on and so on. Parents are so busy struggling to make a living today because of a poor economy or a lack of opportunity that there is little time to attend to their children’s education at home let alone at school. Involvement is also critical especially when the parents are minimally educated because they lack the foresight and experience to guide a young person to the right path. The result is a continually-repeated system that fails students and undermines this country’s future. It matters not whether you are poor and struggling to make a living that doesn’t allow for time to teach your kids at home OR whether your well off and struggle to maintain a career that doesn’t allow for time to attend to your kids at home. Either way, the education suffers.4. Once Stated Always Abated!I was once told that I was stupid. I was told that I could never learn because I lacked the basic ability to understand or comprehend anything that a normal person was expected to know. Can you imagine? Well, today I am in pursuit of a doctorate in education. Highly educated holding several degrees and formally recognized for my teaching abilities and performance as an educator. So there, take that!If a child is to be challenged then the child has to recognize their worth and value as an individual. EVERY child is talented and gifted in something and should be recognized for it immediately and consistently. Oh yes, failure happens but that is part of the lesson as well. Individualized learning platforms and initiatives are crucial to the support and future of educational success. The talented and gifted programs require that a child be recognized and advanced because of their special gift instead of the initiative being available to ALL students. I believe that EVERY child has the opportunity to reveal their gift if given the opportunity to allow it to reveal itself. Why limit other children’s opportunity to excel because someone didn’t recognize their talents? Beyond me.This lack of diversity in basic education is driven by personal prejudices and the nuances of social conformity and economic availability in a school district. Shameful that every student doesn’t have the same opportunity to be recognized for their inevitable contribution to society.5. There’s a Step to the Prep!According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Education Department, 80% of all high school students graduate and student graduation rates are at an all-time high. This sounds great doesn’t it? Well, no it doesn’t because about 80% of high school seniors cannot pass basic proficiency exams or read at a basic level. The fundamental and core foundation for a successful future lies in their ability to read and comprehend and it is failing miserably. Because of a politically-correct mindset and an unwillingness to admit that we are failing we are passing kids without prejudice. What is the dynamic here? Money, acknowledgment, standards, social constraint?With fewer than 40% of graduating students able to perform basic reading and math skills, what will their future look like? Poor at best because they are set up for failure and aren’t educated enough to know it. They are not prepared for any part of life let alone future education without the basic skills to learn. It seems a path to socialism.6. Teacher to Preacher!With the lack of people who are willing to sacrifice their future for low-paying academic careers there is little to choose from in the way of well-educated teachers. Enter teachers. As student education becomes more technology-supported so must teacher innovation education. A once-proud career, teachers are opting for more industrial careers using their basic educational achievements because it pays more and is less restricting. A lack of qualified teachers translates to a lack of quality education from under qualified teachers. The cultural shift in classrooms demands an academic shift in recognizing and utilizing qualified teachers who must meet higher-level standards before being allowed to teach.Alas, distance learning take the personalization from the process, individualism from the practice and allows for lesser-educated teachers to perform office-like academics instead of teaching-like practices. Poorly educated teachers who are not held to the highest standards will produce poorly-educated students who will perpetuate the same. Pay teachers better and demand more from them and we will produce quality educated people. There is something askew when ball players make millions and teachers make nothing! Time to rethink this one.7. Girls Will Be Girls and Boys Will Be Boys!Or will they? There is a huge nationwide divide in the gender makeup of the student population today in schools. The STEM program is experiencing a narrowing range of student diversity as of recent examinations of student diversity in education. Formerly male student dominated academics and careers are changing to a more female dominated academic showing. Women are now able to perform as well or better than their male counterparts in science, technology engineering and math… previously neglected and they have always had the ability but unrecognized or acknowledged.A globally competitive market demands equal and qualified individuals to perform and defend the right of opportunity regardless of gender, race, creed or social standing. As we develop our more-diverse communities, so should we develop our academically-driven future with better-educated people… no matter what!By Dr. Mark Zupo

Health and Fitness – Alcohol Does Serious Damage!

Life is a precious gift and all through our growing years parents lovingly tend and nurture life, giving us strong healthy bodies that are bursting with vitality. Then we grow up and go off to do our own thing that includes being hell bent on destroying the health and fitness we enjoy. Alcohol is a killer, make no mistake about that! It is wonderful to party and get drunk and we tell ourselves that we are young and life is to be enjoyed. This article covers the repercussions of serious drinking on well being.Medical research has indicated that a glass of wine or beer or one hard alcohol drink every day is good for the body. Who really stops with one drink? The reason being, alcohol is extremely addictive and once you get caught in its grip, getting out takes some serious effort. Society is plagued by alcoholism, even the young and the saddest part is that the numbers are on the rise, even among pre-teenagers.You would be hard pressed to find few if any parts of the body that are not negatively affected by the effects of alcohol. Going into the details of every one of the side effects caused by alcohol on health and fitness will take forever; this article covers a few of the scarier aspects of alcoholism. There are short term effects of alcohol like ruined relationships, dysfunctional family life that involves abuse, driving impairment and negative reactions to prescribed medication. In the long term the problems that develop affect health in myriad ways by breaking down the body’s defenses and organ functions leading to serious and even fatal health consequences.The liver is one of the primary organs that is affected by alcohol very negatively. Inflammation of the liver leads to Hepatitis which includes abdominal pains, fever and jaundice. Prolonged abuse unfortunately can be fatal, the good news however, is that when you stop the effects are reversible. Cirrhosis of the liver, which is scarring of the organ is the ultimate result of the abuse and cannot be reversed and may require a liver transplant as a last resort.The pancreas is the organ that regulates your body’s blood sugar levels through the production of insulin and it also helps in digesting the food you eat. Inflammation of the pancreas through alcohol abuse leads to severe abdominal pains and weight loss that can eventually result in death.Alcohol heightens the risk of various cancers attacking the body and the correlation between alcohol and cancer has been medically proven. Women can develop breast cancer in addition to cancers of the mouth, throat, liver, pancreas and colon.Now that you are suitably enlightened on the dangers of alcohol abuse it is best to stay away from something that can fatally damage your health and fitness.