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On April 20,the U.
Department of Health and Human Services announced that the Teen Pregnancy Prevention TPP Program—a grant program created by the Obama administration in to reduce teen pregnancy rates in the United States—will provide funding only to organizations promoting abstinence-only approaches. While the American public is demanding ways to tackle teen pregnancy and other issues such as unhealthy relationships, 4 the federal government is reducing access to critical intervention tools—an important one being comprehensive sex education.
Sex education across the country is being underutilized and even misused.
Adolescents receive information about sex and sexuality from a multitude of sources, including the media, school, religious organizations, family, and peers.
And as the sources of sex education become even more diverse and are presented in ways that may be inconsistent, confusing, or misleading, educators must leverage these sources and align messaging to help young people determine how best to engage in positive, healthy relationships.
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State sex education standards in public schools vary widely. According to a study from the National Institutes of Health, only about half of adolescents receive school instruction about contraception before they first have sex. The Center for American Single in saudi analyzed state laws in the 24 states—and the District of Columbia—that mandate sex Columbi in public schools and found that few states address the topics of consent and healthy relationships in sex education.
Rhode Island, 9 West Virginia, 10 and the District of Columbia 11 provide clear and detailed state standards that address aspects of sexual health and clearly categorize topic areas by age group. These standards address age-appropriate topics related to sexuality and sexual relationships that students may be beginning to explore.Mature Amateurs Swingerss Female Fantasy
While Hawaii, 12 Maine, 13 Maryland, 14 New Mexico, 15 North Carolina, 16 and Vermont 17 do not gandicapped such curriculum requirements, they have recently changed their health standards to address either consent or healthy relationships.
Limited sex education requirements allow instruction in these states to vary drastically from school to school. California, New Jersey, and Oregon, meanwhile, have served as model examples of teaching healthy relationships as part of sex education.
All three states require educators to use materials that are medically accurate and include hansicapped related to healthy relationships or consent. The California Healthy Youth Act, for example, was enacted in InOregon updated its standards to include specific mention of consent and establishing personal boundaries, beginning in kindergarten.
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Not only do the comprehensive state regulations in New Jersey, California, and Oregon ensure that sex education is uniform and consistent across school districts, Collumbia they also go beyond the technical components of sex education to Coljmbia students to have more open conversations about sexuality.
Perhaps not surprisingly, California, Oregon, and New Jersey have lower teen pregnancy rates than the national average—by 3 percent, 4 percent, and 11 percent respectively, although additional educational and socioeconomic factors could also contribute to their low rates.
However, bills that would have required consent-based sex education failed to pass in four states: Massachusetts, 43 Mississippi, 44 Utah, 45 and Virginia. State and local policymakers should modernize and rethink sex education programs in public schools to help better prepare students for the complex world in which they live.
Through new legislation and updated state standards, policymakers should encourage sex education requirements that include instruction on healthy relationships, communication, intimacy, consent, and sexual assault prevention.
Without formal and comprehensive sex education that includes this information, states are missing a prime opportunity to arm young people with quality information that would help them make safe, healthy choices.
Catherine Brown is the vice president of Education Policy at the Center. This issue brief has been corrected to accurately state the sex education standards for New Mexico and Rhode Island. Download the PDF .