[<< wikibooks] Foundations and Assessment of Education/Edition 1/Foundations Table of Contents/Chapter 5/5.5.2
By: Samantha Herring

== Learning Targets Students will be able to identify the history of sex education and understand its purpose ==
Students will identify the issue of who should teach sex education
Students will use both sides of the controversy to form their own opinion of whether parents or not the public school systems should teach sex education
Students will understand that there is a compromise, no matter the argument

== Introduction Sex education is the instruction about sex and human sexuality. In 1913, sex education programs were first introduced to public school systems. With teenage pregnancy rates higher than ever and the serious threat of the contraction of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as HIV, the role of sex education in the school is of greater importance now than ever before. Children are now faced with problems at a much earlier age than in the past. There must be a way to reach the children before they are in such need of help because they are clueless about the devastating problems around them (Sex education, 2007). ==

== Purpose The primary purpose of school-based sex education is to help young people build a foundation as they mature into sexually healthy adults. Such programs respect the diversity of values and beliefs represented in the community (Sex education in Schools, 2006). Sex education seeks to assist young people in understanding a positive view of sexuality, provide them with information and skills about taking care of their sexual health, and help them make sound decisions now and in the future. ==

== The Controversy Since the introduction of sex education in the public school system there has been an on going debate over sex education within our society. There is no federal law or policy requiring sex or HIV education. Currently, 18 states and the District of Columbia require schools to teach sex education, but 32 have not made sex education an essential part of the educational curriculum (Issues and Answers, 2004). The reason such debate arose over the years is because there are many diverse opinions about the topic. ==
Both sides agree that some form of sex education is needed. Children these days do not understand the results their actions may bring upon them. Over the past few years the U.S has had more than double the teenage pregnancy rate of any western industrialized country, with more than a million teenagers becoming pregnant each year (Sex Education, 2007). Teenagers have the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) of any age group, with one in four young people contracting an STD by the age of 21. In 1994, 417 new AIDS cases were diagnosed among 13-19 year olds, and 2,684 new cases among 20-24 year olds. Since infection may occur up to 10 years before an AIDS diagnosis, most of those people were infected with HIV either as adolescents or pre-adolescents (Sex Education in Public Schools, 2007). Studies have shown that sex education begun before youth are sexually active helps young people stay abstinent and use protection when they do become sexually active. It is apparent that it is needed, but who should teach it?

== Parents The eleven percent of our country against sex education in public schools is concerned with the innocence of our children. These Americans think that sex education should be taught at home by the children's parents. Their argument is that educating children about sex and other sexual activities is inappropriate because it robs them of their childhood (Sex and Relationship Education, 2007). Some parents also do not agree with what the children are taught. If the parents have the privilege to teach their children and the choice about what to teach them, they can do it when they feel as if it is appropriate. ==

== Public Schools It is easy to understand why eighty-nine percent of America supports sex education in public schools. Some children feel uncomfortable approaching their parents about sexual issues and by providing sex education in the classroom it eliminates the awkwardness between children and their parents (What Children are Taught About Sex, 2003). If we left it up to all parents to provide their children with sex education, the education is not guaranteed like it is at school. Those parents who feel that sex education encourages children to engage in sexual activities are wrong because it has been proven that sex education does not increase the sexual activity among students. ==

== The Argument Unlike homes, schools do not burden children with moral restrictions. Schools can resolve the "conflict between morality and reality" by offering unbiased statements of fact. Parents only offer their children information based on their beliefs where as a teacher is there to educate the children about everything, not just what he or she believes in.  Without the biased opinions of the parents, young people are given the chance to explore gender differences and how ethnicity and sexuality can influence people's feelings and options. They are also able to decide for themselves what the positive qualities of relationships are. Effective sex education in the classroom also provides young people with an opportunity to explore the reasons why people have sex, and to think about how it involves emotions, respect for one self and other people and their feelings, decisions and bodies (Issues and Answers, 2004). Parents do not always offer all possibilities of sex. Most parents just instruct their children as abstinence being the only choice. With sex education, not only are teens being taught the seriousness and responsibilities of parenthood, but also ways to prevent pregnancy. Abstinence is taught as the best choice, but methods of birth control and other contraceptives are explained. Since sex education has been required in some schools the pregnancy rate in the US has been at a steady decline due to highly effective and long-acting contraceptive methods among sexually experienced teenagers (Sex Education in Schools, 2006).  Being such a disgusting topic, many parents do not inform their children of STDs. With more knowledge of the dangers of STDs and how nasty they are (which is taught during sex education in public schools), young people will be less likely to have numerous partners. Sex education stresses that condoms are not completely effective against HIV/AIDS or that there is a cure for AIDS (Issues and Answers, 2004). ==

== The Compromise Since some parents are so set on the idea of educating their children about sex the education system themselves and the government has given these parents the right to withdraw their children from sex education. This law for the right to withdraw has been in affect since 2002. With this option, it gives the parents who feel as if they will do a better job educating their children to do so. It also allows the supporters of sex education to have their children sexually educated. With this compromise, it allows both sides of the argument to get what they want. ==
Not only are parents allowed to withdraw their children, school boards also allow parents to help plan the curriculum of sex education. By critiquing the curriculum to better correspond to a child’s age; this may help the way some parents feel. For example, in primary school children begin to experience both the birth and death of family members. During sex education, for this age, children should be taught that "humans can produce offspring" and about lifecycles of birth and death. By coordinating the curriculum to the child’s age, the opposing party no longer feels that the children are being robbed of their innocence. Also, this will pleases supporters of sex education because the children will still be getting the education that they need to live a healthy life (Sex Education in Schools, 2006).

== References “Issues and Answers.” Seicus. 04 Feb 2009. Seicus Org. 2 May 2004 ==
“Sex and Relationship education.” Parents Centre. 04 Feb 2009. Department for Education and Skills. 1 Jan 2007 .
"Sex education." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 04 Feb 2009, 16:28 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 2 Apr 2007 .
	“Sex Education in Public Schools.” An Informative Source and Resource Guide for Parents. 04 Feb 2009. The Public School Parent’s Network. 24 Feb 2007 .
	“Sex Education in Schools.” About, Parenting Adolescents. 04 Feb 2009. About, Inc. 22 Feb 2006 .
“What Children are Taught About Sex.” BBC News. 04 Feb 2009. BBC, Inc. 20 Apr 2003 .

== Self Quiz ==