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Are Sex Education Standards Too Low?

Are Sex Education Standards Too Low?

Despite an increased focus on improving sex education programs nationwide, a report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that sex education standards are still too low nationally.

"When well-planned and implemented, sexual health education is associated with delayed sexual debut, fewer sexual partners, and more widespread and consistent use of condoms.17 Exemplary sexual health education (ESHE) is a systematic, evidence-informed approach to sexual health education that includes the use of grade-specific, evidence-based interventions,” the CDC said on sex education in its report.

The CDC has defined 16 HIV, STD or pregnancy prevention topics that should be present in a sex ed course for grades 6, 7, or 8. It found that a only a median of 17.1% schools across states teach all 16 topics. The topics range from how to obtain condoms to how HIV and other STDs are transmitted.

"Almost all surveyed schools covered subjects like the benefits of sexual abstinence and how HIV and STDs are transmitted. When the researchers looked at large urban school districts, the numbers were much better for high school (72% of these schools offered students information on STDs and birth control) but, at 31.6%, still wasn't great at the middle school level,” said the Oceanside Post.

The survey revealed some other startling trends, such as that “[o]nly 8 percent [of] middle schools tell their students where they can get condoms from” and a "majority of Georgia high schools and middle schools are not teaching all of the CDC's recommended topics,” the article said.

In order for schools to actively take on bolstering their sexual education programs, the CDC recommends well-qualified and trained teachers that use strategies "that are relevant and engaging, and [consist] of elements that are medically accurate, developmentally and culturally appropriate, and consistent with the scientific research on sexual health education.”

Taking into consideration all five of these measures, the median percentage of schools providing all five types of materials was "less than 50%, although the median percentage was higher among large urban school districts (64.7%). This may indicate that sexual health educators need additional support to provide [Exemplary Sexual Health Education] successfully."

Read the full report..

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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