The Corner 17 June 2016Family First Comment: No surprises. But the media may not report this one! Perhaps you could take the study and show the school nurse A new study by a pair of Notre Dame economists received some media attention this week. It found that school districts that instituted condom distribution programs in the early 1990s saw significant increases in the teen-fertility rate. This study fills an important gap in the existing research on contraceptive programs. There has been a considerable amount of academic research on Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs) and oral contraceptives. However, there has been almost no academic research on high-school condom-distribution programs.The study is very rigorous. The authors identified 22 school districts in twelve states that launched condom-distribution programs during the 1990s. Some of these school districts are among the largest in the country including New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Overall, the study analyzes teen-fertility data from 396 high-population counties over a span of 19 years. A range of demographic and economic factors are held constant. It finds that if 100 percent of high-school students attended a school with a condom-distribution program, the teen-fertility rate would increase anywhere from 10 to 12 percent. Furthermore, this finding was fairly consistent across school districts with condom-distribution programs.The researchers were unable to determine how exactly the condom-distribution program increased teen-fertility rates. There is a possibility that these programs reduced the usage of oral contraceptives which tend to be more reliable. There is a possibility that after condom-distribution programs were instituted, there was less emphasis on programs encouraging teens to delay sexual activity. Finally, there is a possibility that condom-distribution programs resulted in more teen sexual activity. Interestingly, the study finds sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) increased in counties with condom-distribution programs. While this provides evidence that condom-distribution programs encouraged sexual risk taking — the authors warn that this finding has to be interpreted cautiously.Thus study has received some coverage from some mainstream-media outlets such as Vox and Slate. However, their spin is that condom-distribution programs need to be coupled with either counseling programs or sex-education curricula in order to be effective. The study does find that counseling programs result in reductions in the teen-fertility rate. However, most of the regressions find these reductions fail to offset the increase in teen fertility associated with the condom-distribution program.Overall, the study adds to an impressive body of research which shows that efforts to encourage contraceptive use either through mandates, subsidies, or distribution are ineffective at best or counterproductive at worst. In many countries, increases in contraception use are correlated with increase in the abortion rate. Additionally, this study is very similar to a recent University of Michigan study which showed that increases in the price of oral contraceptives on college campuses resulted in less sexual activity among college-age women. Unfortunately, such research typically receives scant attention from the mainstream media.http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/436798/condom-distribution-programs-1990s-increased-teen-fertility-rateREAD MORE: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2794728Keep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.
Playing croquet with a belly full of beer isn’t necessarily the most ordinary time to hark on a new idea. Then again, converting a handicap short bus into a tailgate on wheels isn’t your run-of-the-mill plan either.About two years ago, Tom Best and his friend Silas Bernardoni, both industrial engineers at UW, were playing the infamous lawn game in the latter’s backyard when Best began mulling over in his head how great of an idea it would be to own a bus.”I always envied the bus driver as a kid because of the power symbol they had,” Best said.The idea finally hatched last spring when, in a similar environment as before, Best and Bernardoni, along with one of the other three co-owners, Matthew Kopetsky, decided a short bus answered their desires.Although everyone’s reason for wanting an Econoline van with a frame on top was different — Kopetsky loves Badger football and wants to go to all the games, Bernardoni is intrigued by the novelty of owning a short bus “for the weird looks” — the commonality of The Short Bus was that it represented something higher than a Taylor Mehlhaff kickoff and something deeper than any of Kyle Jefferson’s long touchdown receptions: It was a dream on wheels.Buying the bus was easy. Attaining the vision of making the mobile tailgate reality was not.In order to comply with state law, the Badger Brigade Short Bus founders had to fully makeover what used to be a special education bus. They changed the paint job from yellow and black to cardinal and white. They changed the foldout stop sign to a foldout “W.” And they changed the name of the handicap elevator to “The Keg-avator.” The five owners — Best, Bernardoni, Kopetsky, Reed Glodowski and Kyle Brown — also initiated a limited liability company titled Badger Brigade, LLC to reduce overall costs and disconnect their personal assets from legal problems the short bus might encounter.With the help of friends, family and Samba Brazilian Grill, in addition to 100-plus hours put in by each creator, the “Friendmaker 5000″ took off.”There’s definitely been help along the way in random ways,” Kopetsky said.Coming to a decision when there are five people equally invested in the same purchase is difficult. Through long clubhouse meetings and some serious consideration, the owners were able to come to a consensus.The matter of using the bus to go on road trips was never contested. Still, getting to Champaign, Ill., let alone State College, Pa., were ordeals in and of themselves. And then there’s the matter of Columbus, Ohio, this weekend.With over 185,000 miles on it, the 1989 Ford “Oswald,” as the owners have named it, wasn’t exactly well-equipped to travel to Illinois in 90 degree heat or to Penn State through the Appalachians.The coolant system, not the loss by the then-unbeaten Wisconsin, gave the BBSB headaches in Champaign, Ill. It ran dry faster than parched soil on a hot summer’s day. Happy Valley came next. Topping out at 65 mph (on level ground), the Badger Brigade rumbled across Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania for 16 straight will-testing hours. Through the Appalachian Mountains, the gas-guzzling hog, even when the pedal was floored, would decelerate. Finally, at 4 a.m. all 14 passengers pulled into “the middle of nowhere” in Pennsylvania and crashed with four to a bed in a random hotel. Before any exhausted body could turn over, they were up heading to the tailgate at 6:15 a.m.After the abysmal game during which the Badgers were thunderstruck 38-7, the party wagon prepared to make its way back home — following dinner and a trip to the bars. On minimal sleep from the night before plus a quick nap, Kopetsky got behind Oswald’s wheel and drove the hulking piece of metal back to Madison starting at 1 a.m. while everyone else minus Best slept.”I’m driving in the middle of the night slamming energy drinks, and needless to say, I was relieved when my shift was over to know that I hadn’t killed anybody,” Kopetsky said.Plus, at $3 per gallon of gas and 4.96 miles per gallon, it costs $.50 per minute to drive on the highway. Yet, the family of founders all agree that time and money are dispensable. “You can’t really quantify buying and paying to run a short bus,” Kopetsky said.To him, as ridiculous as it may sound, Kopetsky admits that a successful road trip is more important than just about anything else in the senior’s life right now.”If I do bad on an exam, it’s one thing, but if the road trip falls short, to me, that would be a lot bigger deal,” Kopetsky said. “I’m only going to be in college so long, so we kind of need to do these kinds of things while we can.”Generating dreams are easy, but the satisfaction of following through on them is something we can all relate to.The founding members of the Short Bus don’t contend that they are the biggest or most unique Badger fans. But they certainly want to get those who dare to dream up some crazy tradition onboard.After all, who doesn’t like a short bus?Kevin is a senior double majoring in journalism and economics. Share a crazy road trip experience by reaching him at email@example.com.