|Back to April Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 219||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||APRIL 2004|
|Bush Seeks Double Funding for Abstinence Education|
President Bush has called for increasing federal spending on abstinence education to $273 million in the 2005 fiscal year. In his January 20 State of the Union address, the president said, "We will double federal funding for abstinence programs, so schools can teach this fact of life: Abstinence for young people is the only certain way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases."
His proposal would also move the programs into the same agency within the Health and Human Services Department that oversees religious-based programs and his proposal to promote marriage. The administration's 2005 budget proposal, released in February, followed up on the State of the Union promise.
The teenage birth rate has fallen by 30% in the past decade and is now at the lowest level ever recorded. Critics of the Bush proposal assert that both abstinence and contraception are responsible for that shift and that abstinence-only programs may not work.
Newark gives it a try
The program, using interactive videos and hip-hop music, was created last year by Kathy DiFiore of Bergen County, N.J., who runs four homes for pregnant teenagers, and was first used in Catholic schools. A $2.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funded the program's launch in Newark public schools. Districts in Ohio and Chicago have signed on to use the program. (bergentowns.com, 10-6-03)
National 'Day of Purity'
Gay activist groups were not amused. "The word 'purity' in this context is morally self-righteous," said Alice Leeds, spokeswoman for Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. "It's redefining it in their context to conform to a frankly bigoted agenda." (lasvegassun.com, 2-13-04)