Sex Education and Accelerated Christian Education!

Sex education with Accelerated Christian Education is… well, it’s bizarre. Biology 1107 is, to my knowledge, the only PACE which deals with human reproduction, and it manages to do so without ever once giving so much as a hint as to how reproduction might occur.

The nouns “egg” and “sperm” both feature, but there is no indication as to where these mysterious entities might be found (beyond “in the female” and “in the male”), and absolutely no suggestion as to how the two might come into contact.

Here are some nouns that I might expect to appear in an educational booklet about human reproduction: Vagina, penis, breasts, intercourse, erection, arousal, period, puberty. Combined number of times these words appear within ACE’s booklet: Zero. “Testes” does make an appearance, but they are not described, save to say that they “produce the male gametes.” Which is enlightening.

Students are given one clue as to how reproduction occurs, in the form of the following diagram:

Picture of a a chicken

This is what sex is, kids.

Well, I think they could work it out from that, don’t you?

So, students have absolutely no idea what sex is. I had a friend at school who was very curious about sex. Since I’d had normal sex education at my primary school before I started ACE, I assumed she knew what it was. Years later, she told me she had never known. When she reached 16, she realised that no one was going to tell her, so she plucked up the courage to ask her mum. I don’t know what her mum told her, but she became a single mother not too long after that.

Presumably ACE’s argument would be that it is the parents’ responsibility to teach sex education. In practice, this didn’t happen. Within a short time of my leaving the school at fourteen, four of my friends became pregnant. Not a huge number, but then there were only ten teenage girls in the whole school (By way of comparison, the average rate of teen pregnancy in my county at that time was 27 per 1,000).

Here is what ACE tells students about AIDS. Try to read this while bearing in mind that you have only the vaguest idea of what sex is. The previous paragraph is worth a read too (see the scan at the end). It tells us that AIDS can be transmitted by sharing drug needles, receiving infected blood transfusions, or “being involved in sexual activity with an infected person.” No definition for “sexual activity” is given, and I can think of quite a lot of kinds of sexual activity which don’t spread HIV or AIDS.

Thus ACE (this is among the finest paragraphs in the entire School of Tomorrow ouvre):

“The long-term results of the AIDS epidemic are unknown, but this disease may be to the 20th century was the bubonic plague, or Black Death, was to the 14th century, when half the population of Europe died. AIDS could have the same devastating effect on the world today and could change the course of history. Hospitals could become overcrowded with AIDS patients; the insurance companies could face financial disaster when they must pay the huge hospital bills of AIDS patients; government agencies could face the loss of tax revenues from AIDS victims as well as the drain on government welfare and health agencies; the government schools could become bankrupt from the loss of tax money and the flight of many of their students to Christian schools or home schooling to avoid being infected with the HIV virus; and business and industry could lose many of their young, productive employees to the HIV virus.”

This apocalyptic vision is frightening enough if you know what sex is. If you didn’t really know how AIDS is transmitted, just think of the terror. From this, you get the impression that AIDS can be passed on just from going to school with someone who is infected with HIV. Of course, there’s no discussion of contraception.

By the way, the refence to the 20th century above is not a typo. Even though it is now the 21st century, ACE have not bothered to update that sentence, and the latest revision of the PACE (2001) still reads the same.

And this, I remind you, is a science book.

Let’s look at the learning objectives for the PACE. Here they are:

When you have successfully blah blah…

To describe the steps of mitosis.

To explain the difference between mitosis and meiosis.

To tell why abortion is wrong.

To understand why physical traits are inherited.

Tu understand the processes of applied genetics.

To be able to refute the theory of evolution based on mutations.

To describe the steps in the development of a human embryo.

You can see how the religious component is simply slotted in alongside science, as though they’re all the same thing. Which, to the writers, they are. Abortion being murder and hair colour being a heritable trait are both, equally, facts. “Since a baby is a human life, abortion is murder,” says the year 10 science textbook.

Although the writers won’t tell you what sex is, they’re very happy to tell how, and when, not to do it. In a section entitled “Man’s Corruptions” we learn that sexual promiscuity, adultery, and homosexuality are all sins. And, to be fair, it’s not unreasonable to expect a discussion of morality alongside sex education (it may even be irresponsible to leave it out). It’s just weird that no discussion is permitted of what is moral, and no distinction is made whatsoever between the factual element and the values teaching.

STDs are all discussed, which is where the AIDS stuff comes in.

“Anytime that man willfully violate God’s laws and principles, consequences follow. These consequences are not a direct judgment of God, but are the natural result of violating God’s principles as found in His Word. There are several diseases that are a consequence of sexual sin.”

It goes on to describe syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes (without really explaining what genitals are), and AIDS. We know that these are spread by “sexual contact”, but we are not told what sexual contact is. We are especially not told that there may be ways to reduce the risk of catching these diseases.

Right, I’m sick of people thinking I’m making this stuff up, so here are some scans from the booklet. Click to enlarge.

Postscript: I’ve been accused of attacking ACE without offering a better alternative. Though lacking in specifics, this post has some beautiful ideas about what sex education should be. Thanks to Donald Miller for the tip.

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About Jonny Scaramanga

I grew up as a Christian fundamentalist in the UK. Now I am writing a book and blog about what that's like, and what fundamentalists believe.

Posted on July 6, 2012, in Accelerated Christian Education, Christianity, Education, Faith Schools, Fundamentalism, School of Tomorrow and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. [What follows is a rather trivial attempt to make any comment that consists of anything but blind rage.]

    I was struck by this from the piece you quoted:

    the flight of many of their students to Christian schools or home schooling to avoid being infected with the HIV virus

    And then your later comment:

    From this, you get the impression that AIDS can be passed on just from going to school with someone who is infected with HIV.

    What struck me was that the impression you gained is more likely to be borne out in reality at the very Christian schools they assume will be a bastion against the spread of the disease, as they’re the very schools where kids have had zero real sex-ed.

    ——————————————————————

    An analogy I made a while back:

    *Passenger lifts are bad because there’s no decent braking system for lifts, so deaths occur when the cable snaps.
    *If someone invents a decent braking system, (i) continue to class passenger lifts as bad, and (ii) vilify the braking system for promoting the safe use of passenger lifts.

    Obviously, that’s crazy. But substitute ‘promiscuity’ for ‘passenger lifts,’ ‘STDs and unwanted pregnancy’ for ‘deaths’ and ‘contraceptives’ for ‘braking system,’ and we have the religious view (generalisation, I know) of sex in a nutshell.

    • I guess I should also have mentioned the myth, constantly reinforced in ACE schools, that non-Christian school kids are constantly engaging in sexual activity and drug use. There’s a steady stream of propaganda to terrify kids into keeping away from non-Christians.

      I think your analogy works. It’s been reported that Christian teens who make virginity pledges are more likely to indulge in anal sex (because then you don’t lose your virginity, see?). For example: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/21606.php

  2. The thing I never understood about virginity pledge drives, is why adults would take comfort in the promise of a teen. I mean, teens say they’ll brush their teeth, take out the garbage, and clean up their rooms…but they don’t, even though they’ll insist that they are living under slave like conditions if you actually make them follow through on their promises.

    Why would a promise to remain chaste until marriage be any different? Especially if you have kept them under-informed, like the examples given in this post. All you’ve given them is how bad and terrifying sex must be…and then they experience a little taste of it and go wild without realizing that while incredibly pleasurable, they may want to consider some of the possible outcomes (pregnancy, STD’s). Awfully hard to do if you’ve been kept in the dark by your “educators”.

  3. In practice, parents do not teach their kids sex education… No word of a lie!

    From my own experience as a Christian homeschooled kid, I had zero sex education. I was a very naive girl when I graduated from high school. Good job I went to Bible school and not uni after graduating or I might have been one of those teenage mums.

    We did have a few of these teen mums in our church. From my perspective, the girls were ostracised by the church when it was the church that should have been penalised.

  4. Growing up in a Christian home, you’d think that sex wouldn’t be mentioned but it actually was and still is. Of course, my parents discouraged me from sleeping around but they also told me that nothing they could do would stop me from making my own decisions… Which I took advantage of. Thanks to a really douchey guy, I made a decision to remain pure til marriage.. Because I realized that no matter how much he may have said he loved me, he wouldn’t be capable of the love that I would want to accompany intimate relations…

    I must thank my parents and *insert name of certain teenage guy* for doing what ACE never did and saving me from being another statistic. Unfortunately, I know a number of girls that went through ACE and have narrowly escaped from being a teen mom. They continue on their self-destructive path of promiscuity, self-hatred, and insecurity thanks to ACE and parents that don’t really care.

    • “…parents that don’t really care”

      To me, this is a bigger problem than ACE. If parents are not involved in their children’s lives, no matter what education, social environment, etc. their children are involved in, than the parents are just as much to blame, in my opinion, for poor choices made by the child. ACE is definitely destructive, but if the parent continues to allow their children to be indoctrinated with it’s destructive teachings, than the parents are to blame for their children’s eventual bad decisions based on misinformation or no information. “Knowledge is power” is a truth. If you deprive a child (or anyone for that matter) from knowledge, than decisions based on the lack of that knowledge are your fault. If the knowledge is known, however, and that person makes poor decisions, than the responsibility lies with them.

      And my two cents on sex education: it absolutely should happen at home. It sickens me that because of a failing of parenting the state has taken up this personal education role. My wife and I will not be one of those parents. I won’t allow a little temporary discomfort of discussing sex with my child keep me from informing her of an important fact of life.

  5. ‘To be able to refute the theory of evolution based on mutations.’

    I hadn’t realised that they were that blatant about nonsense.

  6. So, to the author of this website – Your website is hilarious! LOL – I will give you that much! I would be ashamed if I were you… I am sure your parents raised you right, you just rebelled and turned your back on them and God in general, and are bitter and thus, created this website. It takes more faith to believe in a false THEORY of evolution rather than scientific FACTS. So, you can continue to illegally scan snippets of “booklets” (called PACEs) and you can continue to attempt to undermine, make fun of, and take copyrighted material out of context, that is up to you. However, I hope your spree is shortlived. I am an employee of Accelerated Chrisitan Education, in the copyright division. I can easily submit your website to the review of a lawyer, and you can be taken to court for copying our copyrighted material from our curriculum, ACE inc., and be punished to the fullest extent of the law. So, if I were you, I would watch what I post. ;)

    Have a great day, and God bless you!

    • “In modern science, the term “theory” refers to scientific theories, a well-confirmed type of explanation of nature, made in a way consistent with scientific method, and fulfilling the criteria required by modern science. Such theories are described in such a way that any scientist in the field is in a position to understand and either provide empirical support (“verify”) or empirically contradict (“falsify”) it. Scientific theories are the most reliable, rigorous, and comprehensive form of scientific knowledge, in contrast to more common uses of the word “theory” that imply that something is unproven or speculative. Scientific theories are also distinguished from hypotheses, which are individual empirically testable conjectures, and scientific laws, which are descriptive accounts of how nature will behave under certain conditions.”

      -Wikipedia

    • I think this is a typical response from the type of individual that would be willing to work for ACE. Why is it you don’t want the general public to see what ACE is promoting and publishing on a public website but are perfectly willing to subject children to it on a daily basis? Could it be because children don’t have the right to disagree?
      Have a great day and God bless you!

    • [Comment removed by moderator]

      • Hi vicedevice,
        I appreciate you defending me, but please read my comment policy. I insist upon courtesy in all comments on my blog, and I will remove comments which do not live up to this. I can understand why you feel angry towards ACE, but this is not a forum for abuse. You are welcome to comment here as long as your tone is civil.

    • how are you going to say “i would watch what I post” which is clearly a passive aggressive and somewhat threatening statement, then follow with “Have a great day, and God bless you!” – Behavior like this, and people like you are what turns people off from religion. Perhaps you should spend more time in those Paces, or in your Bible. Christians are supposed to strive to be Christ-like, be an example, lead by example….that doesn’t seem to be what you’re doing here. As Christians we are supposed to love one another and be kind to each other. One of the beautiful things God included in man when he created him was giving the gift of free will. We are all free and entitled to feel, think, and have opinions about whatever we want. What sets good people aside from the bad, is what we do with those gifts. How about we just let those have their opinions, and show them the light of God through our actions and words? The Bible says be slow to anger and quick to forgive……You have a great day, and God bless you!”

    • Oh look, somebody not willing to even post who they are is threatening and yelling from their “high horse”. You are despicable, sir or madam. IF you are indeed an employee of ACE and part of the legal division, and your claims have ANY merit, you should have no issue with posting who you are so that the author of this site and know who his accuser is.

  7. Hi jonnyscaramanga, I am sorry:(

    • That’s OK. I don’t know if you need to apologise to anonymous or not; he may not have seen your comment before I removed it. But in any case, no hard feelings from me. I’m glad you’re here.

  8. Dear Anonymous, My comment in no way reflects jonnyscaramangas’ opinion or any other users of this blog. I alone take responsibility for my comment. Only because I respect jonny will I apoligize to you…whoever you are. Sorry.

  9. As a parent I was a little niggled by the way sexuality was depicted in the ACE curriculum, I am sure this subject could have been explained in quite a scientific and educational way whilst keeping the Godly influence in place…for goodness sake, the Big Guy dished out the penises and vaginas to populate the planet!!!

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