WHY WAS SOME MATERIAL REMOVED FROM THE
CHOOSING THE BEST CURRICULA?
As we said eariler, many of the activities in Choosing the Best are so objectionable that they have been removed from the course by the Cedarburg School District. This may lead parents to believe that what is left is better or at least okay. However, the underlying messages that shaped the activities--that suggested to the creators of Choosing the Best that they would be appropriate activities--remain throughout, both in the teachers' scripts and in the less "jaw-dropping" activities.
For a complete list of the words and activities removed by the Cedarburg School District, click here. Please note these if you have an opportunity to review the Leader Guides. In the meantime, below are some of the activities that have been removed.
Choosing the Best Path (8th grade)
The Tape Activity:
"Illustrate how repeated sexual encounters can make it difficult to maintain lasting relationships because it becomes harder to bond emotionally. Ask for a male and femal volunteer. Take a long strip of clear, wide packing tape and place it on the guy’s arm. Place a second strip of tape on a girl’s arm. Suggest that this tape represents a relationship between two people who are having sex for the first time. Ask the class if they think this relationship will last all the way to marriage. (“Probably not.”) To simulate the couple’s breaking up, quickly rip the tape from each person’s arm. Say that pain occurs when the attachment is broken. Ask the class if they think each person is likely to establish another relationship. (“Probably yes.”) Place the guy’s tape on the arm of another girl and the girls’ tape on another guy. Ask the class if they think that these rleationships will last until marriage. (“Probably not.”) Pull the tape off again.
Repeat the process two more times. After the tape is pulled off the last two couples, ask the class if they notice anything different about the tape. (“It’s no longer sticky;” “it has lost a lot of its bonding ability.”) To see why it will not bond, hold up the two pieces of tape. The original clear pieces of tape have become dirty with particles of hair and skin. Finally, stick the adhesive strips together to represent two people who get married later in life after having several ‘bonding’ experiences with others. Pull the tape apart.
Say: Although there is a bond, it’s not very strong. A relationship that begins with a weak bonding may not survive the normal pressures that occur in any married relationship. Contrast this with two fresh strips of adhesive tape that you put together. Show how hard it is to separate these strips. This represents the greater bonding potential of young people who wait until marriage to have sex” (Choosing the Best Path, Leader Guide, Third Edition, p. 7).
A Rose with No Petals:
"Hold up a rose. Talk about the petals and how they add color and fragrance to the rose. Hand a rose to a student, asking that student to pull off a petal and pass it to another student, who also pulls off a petal. Continue passing the rose around until there are no more petals. At the end, hold up the rose.
Say: The rose is similar to someone having casual sex. Each time a guy or girl has casual sex, they are giving away a very personal part of themselves. Ultimately, this may cause a person to lose their sense of personal value and self-respect." (Choosing the Best Path, Leader Guide, Third Edition, p. 7).
The Peppermint Pattie Activity:
"Hold up a York Peppermint Pattie.
Ask: How does a peppermint pattie smell? How does the smell make you anticipate the taste?
Say: I can’t really smell the pattie because it’s wrapped in foil.
Slowly unwrap the pattie and let several students smell it. Continue to comment on the good smell as you remove the wrapper completely and hand it to a student. Let students pass around the pattie as they smell it. Be sure everyone holds and smells the pattie. Prior to the lesson, recruit one student who will pretend to sneeze on the pattie as it is being passed around. Once it is returned to you, offer it to another student to eat. Offer it to others if the first one refuses. (No one will want to eat it).
Ask: Why is this pattie no longer appealing?
Say: No one wants food that has been passed around, and neither would you want your future husband or wife to have been passed around.
Ask: What is it called when you choose to save yourself for marriage? (Abstinence).
Ask: Is there any way to make the food usable again? (Put it back in the wrapper, refrigerate it, and the bacteria will die. [NOTE: This is biologically inaccurate]. It will be almost like new.) Say that this is similar to renewed virginity, when a person who has been sexually active decides to be abstinent until marriage. Say: It’s one thing to be curious. It’s another to act on that curiosity when it is unhealthy for you, misuses another person, and may end in irreversible consequences." (Choosing the Best Path, Leader Guide, Third Edition, p. 25).
The Goldfish Bowl Activity: NOTE: This activity will still be done in class, but without using the live fish and fishbowl.
"To illustrate the need for boundaries, use this exercise.
Display a live goldfish in a bowl.
Say: This goldfish looks out of its bowl every day, wondering what it would be like to be free from its glass boundaries. Once the fish is free, he could go anywhere and do anything he wants. Well, today I’m going to make this goldfish’s dream come true.
At this time, use the fish net to remove the goldfish from the bowl and place it on the desk. The fish will probably flop around on the desk. Students maybe vocally attacking you for taking the fish out of the bowl. After a brief period of uneasy tension, scopp up the goldfish and return it to the bowl….
Ask: Why are boundaries important? (They can be protective; they allow a lot of freedom within a defined space; they make it easy to know what you’re going to do and how you’re going to act).
Ask: How does this exercise apply to sexuality? (Boundaries protect from STDs, pregnancy, and emotional pain; they provide you freedom to reach goals; they allow you to reach marriage with a unique experience to share with your spouse.” (Choosing the Best Path, Leader Guide, Third Edition, p. 35.)