We’ve said it before: Sex education in America needs to be improved. The point can certainly be argued rationally and there are, of course, many valid perspectives on the matter, but while some progress is being made, a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control cited that over 80% of teens ages 15 to 17 have had no formal sex education before they have sex for the first time. At Sex Across America, we think that kind of figure indicates that a serious problem exists.
Without a doubt, it’s often an uncomfortable subject to bring up at local school board meetings, but the sad state of sex education across the country should be inspiring educators to lead rather than give in to that discomfort. That said, it’s often not just a matter of overcoming community objections to curricula content or gaining consensus about what material should be taught to which age groups, but also about ensuring teachers are fully prepared to deliver the information and appropriately mentor students through the process. In that regard, some leading sex educators are stepping up and investing their experience in building a framework that makes sense.
As a project sponsored by the non-profit organization, Future of Sex Education, a comprehensive plan entitled, The National Teacher Preparation Standards on Sexuality Education, was recently published which outlines standards for preparing teachers to deliver sexuality education. Specifying seven standards along with success indicators and examples, the project seeks to establish a common national foundation for ensuring that every middle and high school student receives a complete, age-appropriate sexuality education. The result is the first time that specific standards have been established for educators charged with the responsibility of providing sex education.
Of course, a plan is only as good as the degree to which it’s implemented and while this project is a nice step in the right direction, it has to be adopted in order to have any real impact. It’s hard at this point to gauge the actual interest in it, but with the stakes as high as they are and recognizing the genuine challenges involved with sexual health education, embracing a reasonable structure for better preparing those who will eventually be responsible for providing sex education has tremendous merit towards solving a serious and growing problem.
If nothing else, it does demonstrate that there are many who are not content with just sitting around and hoping for better results.