Ken Paxton

What's p.a.p.a. All About?

What does p.a.p.a. stand for?

Well, p.a.p.a. stands for Parenting and Paternity Awareness, which is why the curriculum was written in the first place. Also, it first started in 1995, and after all this time it's branded as p.a.p.a. The 2008 edition is new and improved, naturally.

Is it true the state passed a law that says I have to take this as part of health? Why?

Yes, that's true. House Bill 2176, passed by the 80th Session of the Texas Legislature, said that the Office of the Attorney General and the State Board of Education were to develop a program to be used in high school health, and that it had to be in place by the 2008-2009 school year. The reason is pretty simple: four out of five kids will grow up to be parents, so doesn't it make sense to get some parenting and relationship skills beforehand?

Can't I learn to be a good parent simply by observing good parents?

That's a big part of it, true. But you also observe a lot of stuff in the world that's not so good. This curriculum helps you think through it all based on your own personal goals and plans. Videos of parents who had their kids when they were in school tell you what it is really like to be a teen parent. You have a chance to interview people, and do research on marriage and budgeting and real world issues. It can even help you in your current relationships.

Since the Attorney General's Office wrote this, it's bound to be about child support stuff, right?

Frankly, our ultimate goal would be that parents stay together so that we don't have to collect child support! But yes, the legal information about paternity and child support establishment and enforcement is part of the curriculum. And we also show you how to budget and figure out the real costs of raising a child.

What can I expect to actually do in this class?

Here's what you will do: think; express your opinions out loud and on paper; listen respectfully to other people's opinions; analyze relationships; learn about the different ages when children do things; learn a lot about the law; look at videos and talk about them; go shopping; do internet research; interview people; have fun.

Here's what you won't do: fill in worksheets; sleep in class; sit in one place all the time; keep your mouth shut; keep your opinions to yourself!