Here's what Obama said and ABC reported about the legislation in 2007:
"Keep in mind: I honor and respect young people who choose to delay sexual activity," Obama continued. "I’ve got two daughters, and I want them to understand that sex is not something casual. That's something that we definitely want to communicate and should be part of any curriculum. But we also know that when the statistics tell us that nearly half of 15 to 19 year olds are engaging in sexual activity, that for us to leave them in ignorance is potentially consigning them to illness, pregnancy, poverty, and in some cases, death."
When Obama's campaign was asked by ABC News to explain what kind of sex education Obama considers "age appropriate" for kindergarteners, the Obama campaign pointed to an Oct. 6, 2004 story from the Daily Herald in which Obama had "moved to clarify" in his Senate campaign that he "does not support teaching explicit sex education to children in kindergarten. . . The legislation in question was a state Senate measure last year that aimed to update Illinois' sex education standards with 'medically accurate' information . . . 'Nobody's suggesting that kindergartners are going to be getting information about sex in the way that we think about it,' Obama said. 'If they ask a teacher 'where do babies come from,' that providing information that the fact is that it's not a stork is probably not an unhealthy thing. Although again, that's going to be determined on a case by case basis by local communities and local school boards.'"
In addition to local schools informing kindergarteners that babies do not come from the stork, the state legislation Obama supported in Illinois, which contained an "opt out" provision for parents, also envisioned teaching kindergarteners about "inappropriate touching," according to Obama's presidential campaign. Despite Obama's support, the legislation was not enacted.
Pretty shocking stuff:
Local school board autonomy for content
Local school board autonomy for when the education gets introduced
The content is not about explicit sex
Intended to curtail teen pregnacy
Intended to educate kids about inappropriate touching
Parents could opt-out of such material
The legislation might have benefited Sarah Palin's daughter.
But that's not the whole story. Obama explained to the Christian Broadcasting network the deeper concern:
We have a existing law that mandates sex education in the schools. We want to make sure that it's medically accurate and age-appropriate.
Now, I'll give you an example, because I have a six-year-old daughter and a three-year-old daughter, and one of the things my wife and I talked to our daughter about is the possibility of somebody touching them inappropriately, and what that might mean.
And that was included specifically in the law, so that kindergarteners are able to exercise some possible protection against abuse, because I have family members as well as friends who suffered abuse at that age. So, that's the kind of stuff that I was talking about in that piece of legislation.
So the larger issue is:
Educating kids to recognize inappropriate touching by others and to avoid it and report it.
Readers of this blog know that I am a staunch advocate of building children's character when it comes to values issues. Adults and schools cannot shelter children from the monsters and monstrosities of society - the porn, the predators, the hucksters, thieves, and bullies. But we can build up their character and resolve to resist, avoid, and report the inappropriate. But first they must know that their sensibilities are calibrated to recognize these situations.
On PBS Newshour last night, McCain education adviser Lisa Keegan asked the public to read the SIECUS Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education: Kindergarten-12th that are the basis of the legislation Obama endorsed. Presumably she believes that the subject matter intended for older students will be mistaken as being aimed at the youngest students.
She thinks we're stupid.
Here's what the Guide says:
Life Behaviors: Life behaviors are essentially outcomes of instruction. For each of the broad categories identified as a key concept, the Guidelines note several life behaviors of a sexually healthy
adult that reflect actions students will be able to take after having applied the information and skills.
For example, life behaviors under Key Concept 3: Personal Skills, include: “Identify and live according to one’s values”; “Take responsibility for one’s own behavior”; and “Practice effective decision-making.” (A complete list of life behaviors appears on page 14.)
Why the McCain/Palin team are seething against identifying and living according to one’s own values, taking responsibility for one's behavior, practicing effective decision-making, and avoiding exploitative or manipulative relationships to name a few may be little more than a smokescreen to divert attention from McCain and Palin's own family's inability to recognize and effectively avoid drug habits, teen sexuality, multiple infidelities, and more.
But what becomes very clear in their attacks is that they have no problem allowing young children to fall prey to predators out of ignorance rather than educate these kids to protect themselves. To me that violates childrens Fourth Amendment Rights to be armed with enough knowledge to defend themselves.
It also makes the McCain/Palin education policy an advocate for encouraging acts of pedophilia through ignorance, silence, and helplessness of the victims.
Shame on McCain! Shame on Palin!
On this education issue, Obama gets an 'A' while McCain and Palin are busy comparing body parts behind the school - an 'F' for misguiding their own constituents.
Update! The Washington Post analysis of McCain's ad agrees that it FAILS THE PINOCCHIO TEST!
The Pinocchio Test
Nobody expects television ads to be fair and objective analyses of public policy. Almost by definition, the ads are partisan sales pitches, designed to promote one political brand while running down the rival brand. But they should not misrepresent the record of the other side and should clearly distinguish quotes from non-partisan news sources from standard political rhetoric. The McCain "education" ad fails this test.