Foundations and Assessment of Education/Edition 1/Foundations Table of Contents/Chapter 5/Experts Take Sides

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Sexual Education: Reducing teen pregnancy and raising awareness or promoting "safe sex" activity among the youth.

By Bianca N. Penny-Harley

Learning Targets[edit]

  • To have a clear understanding of what sex education implements in the school system.
  • Understand the targeted objective of the sex education course.
  • Determine for yourself if sex education has a positive or negative influence on students.


So what exactly is sex education suppose to teach the students in our schools today? Sex education started in 1963 as an extended biology class. The main goal was to increase the knowledge of our children about their bodies and how the sexual organs worked. At this present day are we aiming towards the same objective? The sex education curriculum has shifted from being an introduction to sexuality and the idea of abstinence to a more explicit class about how to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, abortion, contraception, the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, birth, drugs, alcohol, dating and marriage due to the major sexual activity we see among the youth of today. What is the message we really are conveying to the students teaching this class? Are schools taking over the roles of parenthood discussing in detail sexuality in the schools. The focus of sex education has come a long way and whether you are in favor or against it, you should be able to develop a better understanding of what effects it has on students.

"I am convinced that it's of primordial importance to learn more everyday than the year before. After all, what is education but a process by which a person begins to learn how to learn?" Peter Ustinov

Schools and sex education: Does it work?[edit]

by James W. Stout, MD and Frederick P. Rivara, MD, MPH

Sex education curriculum has come a long way, from having as main focus the promotion of abstinence, decrease of masturbation and prevention of intercourse to adjusting it's point of view to the culture of the schools today promoting safe sex. Along the years the development of the sex education curriculum has been looked at a positive instruction for students not only to gain the knowledge to be able to refrain from inappropriate sexual activities but also as a diseases prevention matter. The implementation of sex education curriculum was thought to be directly linked to the increase of sexual activity in the younger population but this has not been fully proven. It is more likely to believe that there are other more influential factors such as parental sex education and socioeconomic status.

Condom Nation: Government Sex Education Promotes Teen Pregnancy[edit]

by Jacqueline R. Kasun

As she is confirmed into the Clinton Administration, Dr. Joycelyn Elders has a problem with the sex education classes offered in our public schools. She believes that they are not providimg enough information to our students. These courses have helped to increase the use of contraceptives, but they have also increased the rates of sexual activity, sexually transmitted diseases, and teen pregnancies.

  • Contraceptive education increased the odds of 14-year-olds, starting intercourse by 50 percent. Government Family Planning Study
  • By 1993 the number of school based clinics grew from 12 to 325. according to the Center of Population Options.
  • Between 1987 and 1991, during Dr. Elders time as director of Public Health in Arkansas, the teenage-birth rate rose 14%

In the midst of these facts presented to our government, the Clinton administration still urged an expanding sex education from kindergarten through college. The Sex Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) launched in 1964 helped form the bases of the sex-ed guidelines of the curriculum in public schools. By the time children got to second grade they were thought to mold with clay genital organs as well as practice fitting condoms on cucumbers. As sex education develops to meet the needs of our society the topic of alternative forms of sex expression such as oral sex, anal sex, masturbation and homosexuality are added. With the accessibility of this information the need of clinics, abortions without parental consent and accessible contraceptives grew. State and federal expenditure rise from $350 Million to $645 million dollars in 1991. This amount of money was invested in contraceptives alone. Government family planning argues that even thought there is evidence that sex education has increased the amount of sexual activity in students, it has also increased the use of contraceptives and there for the need of continuing sex education programs.

The Guttmacher Institute, research affiliate with Planned Parenthood states in a published article that, "the existing data did not yet constitute consistent, compelling evidence that sex education programs are effective in reducing teen pregnancies". The author ponders as to why the persistent push of these government programs to promote sex education? Despite all the facts, the Government still believed that if women did not have easy access to condoms and contraceptives, they were more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior. As a solution she does not suggest cutting sex education but the cutting subsidized programs such as free contraceptives and condoms to adjust people’s behavior. With the passing of parent consent laws it has been proven in many states such as Massachusetts and Missouri that when minors are no longer able to get abortions and purchase contraceptives without adult consent the percentage of risky behavior decreases. Two programs that have shown some progress in slowing down the rate of sexual activity among students are: Sex Respect and Teen-Aid. These programs not only teach about abstinence as the healthiest sexual lifestyle but also discuss the emotional side of sexual activity. After this debate and the evidence presented the author arrives at the conclusion that sex education does corrupt the youth.

"It is what we think we know already what prevents us from learning" Claude Brenaro

Multiple Choice Questions[edit]

1. What was the initial reason from the implementation of sex education in the school system?

A. To reduce or eliminate masturbation and non marital intercourse. B. To prevent the development of sexual inquiry. C. To teach students about sexually transmitted diseases D. To activate the sexual activity in students.

2. In what year did the Government subsidize birth control to the poor?

A. 1990 B. 1965 C. 1972 D. 2002

3. If Jimmy is introduced to sex education at the age of 7, according to the second article what would most likely be his sexual behavior after learning the knowledge?

A. Complete abstinence B. Masturbation C. Explore sexual activities D. Have sex after marriage

4. If sex education is not considered the only cause for teen pregnancy, premarital sex and sexual activity among the youth of today, according to the first article what other factor are to be taken in consideration?

A. Friendship, culture and media B. School based clinics, sex education and Socioeconomic status C. Parental education, sex education and youth programs D. Socioeconomic status, parental education and sex education

Answer key

1.A 2.B 3.C 4.D


  • James W. Stout, MD & Frederick .P Rivara, MD, MDH.(2001). Schools and Sex Education, Does it work?. Pediatrics; Mar89, Vol. 83 Issue 3, p375, 5p.
  • Kirby D: The effect of school sex education programs: A review of the literature. J Sch health 1980;50;559-563
  • Jacqueline R. Kasun.,(1994). Government Sex Education Promotes Teen Pregnancy. Policy Review, No. 68
  • The Guttmacher report on public policy. (2002). Teen Pregnancy: Trends and lessons learned. Retrieved June 21 from
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