If you have been hoping that our public schools have been doing a better job of teaching students about the ways to prevent pregnancy and spreading STDs, then I’m sorry to tell you that this does not seem to be the case.
As reported by The Huffington Post, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study of the data from public high schools in 45 states. This was part of the organization’s biennial School Health Profiles. The organization found that between 2008 and 2010, 11 states saw decreases in the number of schools that taught this information to middle school students. There were no states that saw in increase in the teaching of these important topics.
The findings were a little bit better for high schools. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that only one state had a decrease in schools that were teaching important sexual heath topics to students in the 9-12 grades. What’s even more exciting, there were two states where the percentage actually increased.
What the schools actually teach tends to vary. In Hawaii, Indiana, Nevada, New York, and Rhode Island, more than 90 percent of the schools reported that they taught about “how HIV and other STDs are transmitted.” Sadly, in Alaska, Arizona, Missisippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Tennesse, less than 70 percent of the schools taught about this subject.
“Secondary schools can increase efforts to teach all age-appropriate HIV, other STD, and pregnancy prevention topics to help reduce risk behaviors among students,” according to the authors of the study.
It seems odd that the U.S. is so shy about talking about this subject with our children. I have been living in Europe for the past 7 months and I teach in a middle school. My students already know all about sex, pregnancy prevention, and how to prevent transferring STDs. In the UK sex-ed is required. As a result, they have a lower teen pregnancy rate and are also more comfortable asking their parents for advice and help if/when they decide to become sexually active.
In my opinion, schools state-side are doing their students a disservice by not properly educating them about sexual health and reproduction. I think that abstinence-only education is a joke and that we have a long ways to go before we can consider ourselves leaders in this education area. But that’s just my opinion. What do you think about this controversial subject?