Jonathan Zimmerman, a professor of education and history at New York University, worries that many adolescents are learning about sex via pornography on the Internet. Whether or not there was a statewide mandate, an individual district might do a good job or bad job with its course, she said. Two years later it was replaced with today's abstinence-only policy. Many of the parents attending the meeting were black or Hispanic, reflecting the fact that racial minorities comprise about 70 percent of the school district's students. Choosing the Best, Inc. The school district conducted a telephone survey of about 1, parents last year, and reported that a sizable majority supported adding those topics to the curriculum. But discrepancies persist across communities over the responsibility of providing meaningful sex education.
In addition, they say, all states should have or adopt certification requirements for teachers of sex education and HIV and STD education. According to the CDC , teens who identify with LGBTQ communities can be at higher risk of contracting STDs, but safeguarding against transmissions becomes difficult when states prohibit teachers from discussing sexual orientation in class. Gwen Easter, a black woman who runs a community center and preschool program, assailed the proposals to teach acceptance and understanding of gay and transgender youth. States plan to use their funds to support media campaigns, public education efforts, mentoring and counseling activities and curriculum development in addition to school-based programs. The message many students are getting, says former sexuality education teacher Diane Burger of Pennsylvania, "is that sex is bad for your body and dangerous. Online porn and misinformation can best be countered by accurate online information , said Zimmerman, who praised initiatives that enable teens to ask questions and get answers from health educators via text message. According to SIECUS, more than local disputes over sexuality education occurred in all 50 states between and Granger said that in order to be comprehensive, sex education programs have to consider the whole student. In other states, including Nebraska, it's generally up to individual school districts to decide what form of sex education, if any, is offered. According to dozens of sexuality education proponents interviewed for this report during the latter half of and in early , the push for abstinence-only education is only the most visible element of a larger conservative strategy to eliminate more comprehensive programs. In several California communities, for example, parents and teachers have successfully opposed efforts by conservative, anti-sex-education school board members to implement an abstinence-only curricula or otherwise undermine sex education. Its latest report, with data from , suggests that programs in a substantial majority of school districts stress the benefits of sexual abstinence, while a smaller portion offer instruction in high school about usage of specific contraceptive methods, including condoms and emergency contraception. It can take years for policies to change, even in the most progressive states. Topics for 4th graders include puberty and how to stay safe from sexual abuse; by middle school students are learning about methods of contraception. Forrest JD and Silverman J, , op. In it a student declares, "Safe sex isn't working anymore. Their supporters "promise school boards and parents that if schools let them come in and teach an abstinence-only curriculum, children will not have sex," reports Debra Haffner. What feels like progress at the state level can be seen as mere catch-up to the policies of other developed nations that require teachers to discuss sex ed as early as kindergarten. Theresa Granger says that comprehensive sex ed goes beyond the biophysical aspects. She currently practices in Washington, one of few states that allows minors to seek testing and treatment for STDs , as well as contraception, without consent from a parent or guardian. There's no detailed nationwide breakdown of how the 13, school districts in the U. Just say no' campaigns clearly do not provide such information. Classroom Consequences The perception among teachers that they lack support for their work—as well as their lack of training—affects what happens in the classroom, sex education proponents report. In a novel approach to this issue, Washington State permits parents to remove their child from mandated AIDS education classes, but only after the parents have attended a program offered by the school district on weekends and evenings to review the curriculum and to meet the teacher. Although undergraduate programs for aspiring teachers generally have at least one course on sexuality education or health education, many of these schools do not require prospective teachers to take such a course. The states share the blame for this problem, because few require that teachers of sexuality education or HIV and AIDS education teachers be certified in a relevant subject, such as health education.
Video about controversial issues in sex education:
U.S. Sex Education Debate- Part 1: The Students
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