Opinion/Todd Cohen on change – Wrong signal to donors

By Todd Cohen

Critical to cash-strapped public schools struggling to improve student performance is private support from corporations, foundations and individuals.

But school officials put that philanthropy at risk when they blur their focus on performance with misguided flirtations with social engineering.

In Raleigh, N.C., the Wake County school board is poised to force the teaching of sexual abstinence, and to bar honest discussion about birth control and homosexuality.

While schools already have a tough time teaching kids to read, write, calculate and think, it is appropriate to teach them about sexual activity to help them lead healthy lives.

But the proposed policy, with its underlying and arbitrary assumptions about which behaviors are morally correct, perverts the role of public schools.

Moralizing is the job of parents and religious leaders, not public schools.

What’s next? Will the school board dictate which political ideas can be taught and which cannot?

Fixing our schools depends on collaboration among educators, parents, government, business and private philanthropy.

To keep from putting at risk the support it needs, the Wake school board should abstain from sticking its moral judgments where they do not belong.

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