Vote no on R-90
Marty Trillhaase’s Sunday editorial promoting Washington Referendum 90 was a font of bad information. The basic purpose of the measure is to shift control of sexual health curriculum away from local school districts, giving more to Olympia.
Trillhaase’s problem with the current system lies in the opt-out available to those local districts. He asserts that the current participation rates in the state (64.7 percent in K-5 classrooms, 86.1 percent grades 6-8 and 75.2 percent for high schools), “can’t come close to being good enough if you’re concerned about stopping child abuse, teen pregnancy or abortions.”
Says who? Raw participation numbers alone are not sufficient; educational outcomes need to be assessed as well. Obviously a 99 percent effective curriculum reaching three-quarters of the population is more desirable than a curriculum that reaches 99 percent of students but is only 60 percent effective. Where were those numbers?
And it’s not like Washington is awash in abuse and dysfunction. Safeathome.org rates it 14th best in the nation for child safety. World Population Review pegs its teen pregnancy rate at a low 15-20 per 1,000. Those are solid if not perfect numbers.
Not only did he fail to make his needs case, Trillhaase is selling readers a pig in a poke since the measure includes developing anew “a list of comprehensive sexual health education curricula.”
Trillhaase’s faith in the state makes Mikhail Bakunin look like a piker but applying an unknown fix to a system that ain’t broken is dangerous zealotry.
Vote no on R-90.
Thomas A. Hennigan