An article of faith among the American religious right, and the Bush Administration which represents them, is the value of abstinence-only "sex education". If you tell teenagers not to have sex, get them to take "chastity pledges" and wear wierd jewelry, they'll resist their natural urges (not to mention the example of thousands of generations of teenagers before them) and not do it - with a consequent reduction in teenage pregnancy, abortion, and STIs.
There's just one problem: it doesn't work:
A survey of more than 2,000 teenagers carried out by a research company on behalf of Congress found that the half of the sample given abstinence-only education displayed exactly the same predilection for sex as those who had received conventional sex education in which contraception was discussed.
Mathematica Policy Research sampled teenagers with an average age of 16 from a cross-section of communities in Florida, Wisconsin, Mississippi and Virginia. Both control groups had the same breakdown of behaviour: 23% in both sets had had sex in the previous year and always used a condom, 17% had sex only sometimes using a condom; and 4% had sex never using one. About a quarter of each group had had sex with three or more partners.
Not that this will convince the Bush Administration - a hallmark of Bush's Presidency has been a complete disregard for facts in favour of their ideological preconceptions. But it might help convince policymakers here to stand up to pressure from our local religious lunatics and keep this bullshit out of our schools.