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July 2, DOI: The deleted material, the board said, did not comply with a new state law requiring public schools to teach abstinence until marriage in their comprehensive health education program for students in kindergarten through ninth grade.
The school board also instructed teachers to discuss only failure rates in response to students' questions about contraceptives. If asked about AIDS, teachers were to say only that the disease is caused by a virus that is transmitted primarily by contaminated needles and illegal homosexual acts.
These actions came after months of debate in the county about how to handle sex education in accordance with the new law, which allows school districts to offer more comprehensive sexuality education only after a public hearing and a public review of instructional materials.
Instead, they are urged to focus exclusively on abstinence as a means of preventing pregnancy and STDs. State legislatures are also feeling the pressure. Of the 51 sex education bills that were considered by state legislatures through March20 pertain to making abstinence the focus of sex education in public schools.
The Mississippi legislature established abstinence education as the "standard for any sex-related education taught in the public schools.
Gilmore on the grounds that the decision of whether to offer sex education should be left to local school boards. According to dozens of sexuality education proponents interviewed for this report during the latter half of and in earlythe push for abstinence-only education is only the most visible element of a larger conservative strategy to eliminate more comprehensive programs.
Other proposals include eliminating coeducational classes and changing the parental consent process in ways that sex education proponents warn could make participation in sex education more complicated for students and costly for schools.
Groups opposed to sex education have captured the momentum, many of these observers say, because the opponents' new tactics seem less extreme than past efforts—and are therefore more difficult to refute. But proponents say that they also bear some responsibility for the current turmoil themselves, both because they have allowed opponents of sex education to foster the misperception that the comprehensive programs generally do not teach abstinence and because they have failed to effectively articulate the goals of sex education.
Although sex education is often discussed and evaluated in terms of its role in reducing adolescent pregnancy and STD rates, supporters say its primary goal is broader: Unfortunately, notes Michael McGee, vice president for education at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, programs today are judged almost exclusively according to "whether they feature abstinence, rather than whether they promote health.
According to many sex education supporters, their opponents are putting enormous pressure on school boards to curtail sexuality education programs and are intimidating school administrators and teachers, who in turn are becoming increasingly cautious about what they teach, even when they are under no formal constraints.
Sexuality Education Today Efforts to undermine sexuality education are not new, of course.
Sex education has been a target of right-wing groups since the s, when the John Birch Society and other ultraconservative organizations charged that such programs were "smut," "immoral" and "a filthy communist plot.
By the early s, legislatures in 20 states had voted to restrict or abolish sexuality education. Everett Koop called for sex education in schools beginning as early as the third grade. The lives of our young people depend on our fulfilling our responsibility. Some of these states also required instruction in sexuality education.
In addition, sincethe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC have provided financial and technical assistance to state and local education agencies, national organizations and other institutions to improve HIV education in schools.
Some states appeared to encourage only limited instruction, however. For example, while laws and policies in 23 states specified that all sexuality education must include instruction about abstinence, only 13 states required such courses to cover contraceptive methods.
Many of these guides exclude such topics as abortion, homosexuality and masturbation because they are considered too controversial. In a national survey, more than nine in 10 women aged said they received instruction, as did about seven in 10 women aged Even then, the information they receive may be insufficient.
In fact, there is often wide variation in what is taught, both within school districts and even within the same school.
Konstance McKaffree, who taught sexuality education in Pennsylvania public schools for 25 years before retiring inexplains that what is offered often "depends on the teacher's ability, training and comfort with the subject matter," as well as on the principal's willingness to tolerate controversy.
A New Strategy Since the early s, sex education advocates report, opponents have brought increasing pressure to bear on school officials and teachers as they have refocused their efforts on local school boards and state legislatures.
Prior to that time, opponents had concentrated primarily on national politics. According to SIECUS, more than local disputes over sexuality education occurred in all 50 states between and Promoting Abstinence Abstinence-only proponents assert that the more comprehensive programs focus principally on teaching students about contraception and safer sex techniques and that the programs provide little or no instruction on abstinence.
They also contend that sex education programs condone homosexuality, teach students how to have sex and undermine parental authority. In a survey, for example, nine in 10 teachers of sexuality education in grades reported that they taught their students about abstinence. Moreover, researchers have found no methodologically sound studies that show abstinence-only programs delay the initiation of sexual intercourse.
This may stem in part from the skillful promotion of these programs. Their supporters "promise school boards and parents that if schools let them come in and teach an abstinence-only curriculum, children will not have sex," reports Debra Haffner.
The question then becomes how long a delay is expected. Many abstinence-only curricula teach young people to forgo sex until marriage - an ambitious goal in a country where people typically do not marry until their mids.
For example, the abstinence-only curriculum Me, My World, My Future likens use of condoms to playing Russian roulette:And unlike the effort to pass an Equal Rights Amendment, which we supported, the school prayer amendment would remove an existing right, rather than confer a right on an unprotected group.
Proponents of a school prayer amendment claim reintroducing prayer will . Prayer in Public Schools Religion is one of the most controversial issues in society today.
The concern of allowing prayer in schools is an on-going debate and has resulted in numerous lawsuits.
This skill can come in handy in many settings; school debates, political discussions, public policy forums, etc. When you have the ability to think critically and understand all points of view, you have a much better chance of engaging your audience.
On this page, you will find hundreds of controversial speech topics and controversial essay topics. Our lists cover a wide range of subjects, and we are continually adding . A number of these topics are rather controversial and that's the point.
In an argumentative essay, opinions matter and controversy is based on opinions, which are, hopefully, backed up by facts. If these topics are a little too controversial or you don't find the right one for you, try browsing through persuasive essay topics as well.
For example, some public schools have continued the longstanding tradition of holiday programs in December that come close to turning the school auditorium into the local church. Current Issues in Education.
From national standards research to the debate on Common Core, learn about the most important issues facing today' s teachers, school administrators, and parents. National Standards. Read the pros and cons of these controversial school policies.