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Testimony before VBA, Agenda item: FLE and ESSA

Testimony before Va Board of Education, Agenda item: FLE and ESSA

by FCTA's Fred Costello, 06/27/2017

When I looked over your proposed ESSA plan, I was struck by the number of Title-related programs listed on Page 5. These programs are intended to remedy student deficiencies or handicaps. They include homeless children, low-income children, and neglected and delinquent children. Do you realize that these handicaps have their roots in faulty family lives? Yet you do nothing to teach today's students how to be good, faithful husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, in stable marriages -- family lives that produce good, happy citizens. The average divorce rate is 50%. Do you know that there are large segments of society that have a divorce rate of 1%? Why are you not teaching the students the characteristics of those segments that have such a low divorce rate? Learn those characteristics and have them conveyed to the students. The students should be shown the happiness that stems from a good marriage so they will strive for such a life. It can be done. In high school, my wife and I were both taught the elements necessary for a happy marriage. Today is our 58th wedding anniversary. We consider our message tonight to be so important that we gave up our usual celebration.

Here in Fairfax County we have a program called Family Life Education (FLE). That is a complete misnomer. It should be called Pregnancy-free Sex at Any Age. I know personally one of its graduates who learned from FLE that family life is sex life. His one-year marriage ended in a fiercely bitter divorce, leaving him extremely angry and totally perplexed. His child is one of your problems. The FLE program needs to be re-designed to instruct not on sex but on good families and good parenting.

If you teach the students how to have a successful family life, your programs for homeless children, low-income children, and neglected and delinquent children will be of little or no need and many children will live happy lives. Teach marriage, not sex.