Alix Kunkle: We've made too many rules

Alix Kunkle

You have to buy health insurance. You can't call it sex-ed anymore.

We've got too many darn rules. Whatever happened to our own common sense?

Now I'm not talking about our penalties for murder or requiring us to drive on the certain side of the road. It's the petty stuff that I'm talking about. I'll use education as an example, since I saw a few things come across my desk last week about this.

For example, Tennessee just passed a law requiring all sex-ed courses to be "abstinence-based," and that teachers cannot use any explicit language or props, and if a parent thinks a teacher used "explicit language," the teacher can face a $500 fine. In addition, everything has to be "medically or scientifically based," and high schools can't even pass out condoms.

Now, first off, correct me if I'm wrong, but it's kind of hard to teach a sex-ed course without using "explicit language or props." Secondly, kids are going to learn about sex-ed anyways. Wouldn't you rather they learn from a responsible person, such as a teacher, rather than from their friends, who might (and probably) aren't as knowledgeable about the subject? And do you really think a student is going to understand something if you're having to use medical and scientific terms? I don't think so. I'm 23, and I still don't understand a lot of medical and scientific terms. I don't ever want to, either.

Standardized testing and the No Child Left Behind Act is another example. We've become obsessed on making sure children are improving on standardized tests, and our school districts as well. If not? Well, you don't get funding.

But see, I've said this before, and I'll say this again — what our lawmakers don't understand is that all students learn differently. Some don't do tests. Others do better in a hands-on environment. But we're not allowing these kids to reach their full potential, because teachers are forced to teach to a strict, and sometimes rigorous, curriculum about things that our kids probably don't need to know. Instead, we're stunting them by making them take these tests that do nothing but show that a kid can fill in a bubble. Our teachers have no freedoms.

At this rate, two generations from now, no one will know what is right and what is wrong. They'll only know because the government tells us it's right or wrong. The government could tell us that going to college is a bad thing, and we could believe them because we don't know any better.

My point is, we're too focused on the petty stuff. We've got bigger things to deal with. Our economy is in the toilet, and we're more concerned with outsourcing jobs than helping our own people.

Let's be able to once again make decisions for ourself, and not have to have someone else make all the decisions for us.

Alix Kunkle is the news editor of the Leesville Daily Leader in Leesville, La. You may contact him at