How does FCPS sex education measure up?

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How does FCPS sex education measure up?

https://www.statista.com/chart/18825/state-laws-sex-ed-in-the-us/

https://www.statista.com/chart/18825/state-laws-sex-ed-in-the-us/

https://www.statista.com/chart/18825/state-laws-sex-ed-in-the-us/

https://www.statista.com/chart/18825/state-laws-sex-ed-in-the-us/

Luis Gomez-Alfaro, Reporter

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People usually don’t associate school with anything more than work, teachers, and more work but sometimes school can get more personal. A topic that many parents don’t like talking about is the importance of sex education in schools. In order to decide what a  sex ed curriculum should consist of, one has to first understand why these things are taught in schools. The idea is that when students are given the tools to deal with certain situations, they will be more prepared if they are to find themselves in them. A typical reaction to this logic is that if these ideas are put in kids’ minds, they will be more likely to involve themselves in risky behaviors People think that the only appropriate method to teach teenagers is abstinence. 

Many states have been teaching abstinence-heavy or abstinence-only sex ed curriculum with very little information about other form of contraception for many years and decades. The problem though is that when one looks at the U.S. as a whole, when it comes to something like teenage pregnancy, the United States fares very poorly compared to other developed nations. According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, the US in 2010 for every 1,000 girls 57 would have a teenage pregnancy. This can be compared to Switzerland in 2011 for every 1000 girls there were only 8 teenage pregnancies. This statistic puts into perspective the problem that the US faces, the most teenage pregnancies of any developed nation.

According to the Center for Disease Control, young people between the ages of 15 to 24, account for 50% of all new STD s, although they represent just 25% of the sexually experienced population. Also 1 in 4 teens contract a sexually transmitted disease every year according to the Minnesota Department of Health. US government funding for abstinence-only programs in 2006 and 2007 was $176 million annually (before matching state funds). Although all of this many has been spent, the US still has a high rate of teenage pregnancies and STD s. This is a clear indicator that abstinence first curriculums simply do not work and yet only 24 states and the District of Columbia as of March 1, 2016 require public schools teach sex education, 21 of which mandate sex education and HIV education.

Fortunately, Maryland has some of the lowest teenage pregnancy and STD rates and that can be correlated to the sexual education curriculum. Maryland and FCPS have very progressive and comprehensive curriculum compared to the rest of the country. For instance, due to the house bill 251 of 2018, instructions must be given about consent when it comes to relationships. Every year in middle school and at least one year in high school in Frederick County Public Schools students have the option to take part in the sexual health unit if students and their parents opt to. FCPS also isn’t abstinence-only and many different contraceptives are taught. 

Ultimately, the FCPS curriculum gives students the knowledge and tools that they can take that will benefit them in their future. The rest of the United States should model themselves after Maryland schools, and then our country will finally measure up to other developed nations.

 

Sources

Sedgh, Gilda, et al. “Adolescent Pregnancy, Birth, and Abortion Rates across Countries: Levels and Recent Trends.” The Journal of Adolescent Health : Official Publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4852976/.

Stanger-Hall, Kathrin F, and David W Hall. “Abstinence-Only Education and Teen Pregnancy Rates: Why We Need Comprehensive Sex Education in the U.S.” PloS One, Public Library of Science, 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3194801/.

Blackman, Kate, and Samantha Scotti. “State Policies on Sex Education in Schools.” State Policies on Sex Education in Schools, NATIONAL CONFENCE OF STATE LEGISLATURES, 21 Mar. 2019, www.ncsl.org/research/health/state-policies-on-sex-education-in-schools.aspx.

Minnesota Department of Health. About STD Awareness Month, STD Awareness Month Facts. MDH. Accessed March 10, 2015

“Incidence, Prevalence, and Cost of Sexually Transmitted Infections in the United States..” Center for Disease Control. http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats/sti-estimates-fact-sheet-feb-2013.pdf (accessed July 22, 2014).

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