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Sex Education In American Schools Essay

3578 words - 14 pages

Every year in America, one million teen girls become pregnant and at least three million teens become infected with an STD (Donovan, 1). Though these numbers slightly fluctuate, problems facing American adolescents today, like HIV/AIDS, other STD’s, and teen pregnancy. This means that some needs to change. These problems will decline when sex education is revamped everywhere in America, by making the curriculum completely comprehensive in addressing problems facing adolescents today such as teen pregnancy, STD’s, rape, pressures and emotions dealing with sex, and give teens good communication skills. Right now teachers approach these subjects on their tip toes, dance around the issue, and not fully give out all the information. Meditation.

To find out what needs to be change we should look at what is being taught. In Levine’s book, Harmful to Minors, she discusses the curriculums being taught in public schools today, by breaking them down into two categories. Abstinence-only and abstinence-based. Both of these programs do teach about health, physical education, home economics, and biology, but both can really differ when dealing with the different “sensitive” issues. Abstinence-only education, promotes postponing sex, but when it comes to issues like contraception, it is taught how affective it is, but not where to get it. Abstinence-only curriculum promotes more education through the family, instead of through school. Some abstinence-only curriculums do deal with comprehensive issues, but mainly try to avoid the subject. Some teachers even make up lies to try and scare kids away from sex. Abstinence-based is more comprehensive. The curriculum does promote that abstinence is the only 100% full proof method, but understands adolescents have many issues facing them and want to teach how to protect yourself. What should be implanted in every classroom is a complete comprehensive abstinence-based program. Sometimes abstinence-based education can be very comprehensive, but in some conservative areas, it can be almost considered abstinence-only curriculum. Majority of the time abstinence-based curriculums, fall short when addressing all the issues (Levine 12-15).

To further understand sex issues facing adolescents today; let’s take a general look on what issues are being taught in schools. 69% of schools say there is a policy on sex education. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, which is a nonprofit organization that is focused on sexual reproductive health research, policy and analysis on public education, studied sex education today and compared it to a decade ago. 23% of schools in 2000 taught abstinence-only education, which was up 2% from 1988. The study also found that classes today are less likely to talk about birth control, abortion, obtaining and using contraception, ad sexual orientation, compared to the late 1980’s (The Alan Guttmacher Institute). The Henry J. Kaiser Foundation put together a survey asking students...

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