Friday, January 13, 2012

New National Standards Address Sexuality Education for All Grades

This from Curriculum Matters:

A new set of standards outlines the minimum that students should learn about their sexuality from their earliest years in school until they leave high school.

The standards, developed over the last few years by dozens of health and education experts, say that by the end of 2nd grade, students should be able to use the proper name for body parts, including male and female anatomy. By the end of 5th grade, they should be able to define sexual abuse and harassment. By the end of high school, they should be able to describe common symptoms of and treatments for sexually transmitted diseases including HIV, according to the standards released today with the backing of four national health education groups.

Three groups—Advocates for Youth, Answer, and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States—led creation of the standards. At the time the project was conceived, the hope was that federal spending on abstinence-only sexual education would eventually be extinguished (which isn't yet the case ) and something would be needed to teach sexuality, comprehensively. Still, despite the federal government's continued support for abstinence-only sex education programs in schools, a growing number of states are opting to go beyond abstinence-only and take a more-comprehensive approach to sex education in public schools. For example, many Texas schools have shifted away from an abstinence-only approach.

A 2007 congressionally mandated study found no statistically significant beneficial effect on the sexual behavior of young people participating in abstinence-based programs...

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