January 17, 2012
By the time they leave elementary school, children should be able to “define sexual orientation,” and by the eighth grade be able to “define emergency contraception and its use,” according to a report containing controversial new recommendations for sex education in U.S. public schools.
“Ideally, comprehensive sexuality education should start in kindergarten and continue through 12th grade,” says the “National Sexuality Education Standards” report, drawn up by a range of advocates, academics and public education officials. The Future of Sex Education (FoSE), an initiative started by sex education advocates, developed the standards “to create a strategic plan for sexuality education policy and implementation.”
Also involved are the American School Health Association, the National Education Association Health Information Network – the non-profit arm of the nation’s largest teacher’s union, the NEA – the American Association for Health Education and the Society of State Leaders of Health and Physical Education.
An advisory committee includes senior officials from Planned Parenthood and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).
The 45-page report determines “age-appropriate” guidelines for comprehensive sexuality education in the areas of anatomy, identity, pregnancy, sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) and others.
“Specifically, the National Sexuality Education Standards were developed to address the inconsistent implementation of sexuality education nationwide and the limited time allocated to teaching the topic,” reads the report.
The authors argue too little time is devoted to instruction in HIV, pregnancy and STD prevention – a median total of 3.1 hours in elementary school, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In its rationale for sex education in public schools, the report says there is “a pressing need to address harassment, bullying and relationship violence in our schools, which have a significant impact on a student’s emotional and physical well-being as well as on academic success.”
Standards to be introduced in kindergarten and be met by the second grade include: “Identify different kinds of family structures” and “Demonstrate ways to show respect for different types of families.”
Recommendations for students by the time they reach age seven include that they use proper names for body parts, including male and female anatomy” and “provide examples of how friends, family, media, society and culture influence ways in which boys and girls think they should act.”
Starting in the third grade, and upon completion of the fifth – when most children are 10 years old – students should be able to “[d]efine sexual orientation as the romantic attraction of an individual to someone of the same gender or a different gender” and “identify parents or other trusted adults of whom students can ask questions about sexual orientation.”
By completion of the eighth grade, the report says, students should be able to “differentiate between gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation,” “xplain the range of gender roles,” and “define emergency contraception and its use.”
Upon completion of middle school, students should be able to “analyze external influences that have an impact on one’s attitudes about gender, sexual orientation and gender identity”; “access accurate information about gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation”; “communicate respectfully with and about people of all gender identities, gender expressions and sexual orientations”; “explain the health benefits, risks and effectiveness rates of various methods of contraception, including abstinence and condoms”; and “describe the steps to using a condom correctly.”
And by the time they graduate from high school students should be expected to “define emergency contraception and describe its mechanism of action” and “assess the skills and resources needed to become a parent.”
Read this story at CNSNews.com ...