RH Reality Check notes that the Bush administration chose Friday — the traditional day to release news that you’d rather the public not hear about — for releasing a new, thorough, Federal study on the effectiveness of abstinence-only education. And they released it without issuing a press release or advisory. (The report is available online as a pdf document).
These abstinence-only programs cost taxpayers $87.5 million dollars every year. So how much of a difference are they making? I think the pictures tell the story. The blue columns show how the kids in abstinence-only programs did. The white columns show a control group.1
No effect at all. None. Other than the fact that $87 million a year has disappeared from our collective pockets just as surely as if the money had been thrown into a furnace, the abstinence-only classes might as well have not existed at all.
No wonder the Bush administration is trying to bury these results.
- “The rigor of the experimental design derives from the fact that, with random assignment, youth in both the program and control groups were similar in all respects except for their access to the abstinence education program services.” [↩]