Monday, November 21, 2011

New report shows surge in abstinence-plus approach to sex ed

Texas is often criticized for its dubious distinction of having the third-highest teen birth rate in the nation. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, a teen gets pregnant every 10 minutes in Texas.

Some have taken the criticism a step further to include the state's focus on abstinence-only sex education.

However, a report out today by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund shows an up-tick in the percentage of school districts going beyond abstinence-only in their sex education curriculum to include information about contraception.

According to the report, more than 25 percent of districts are taking an abstinence-plus approach, up from 3.6 percent of districts just three years ago.

The decision to teach beyond abstinence-only is made at the local level. Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller said the increase in districts teaching abstinence-plus is a positive. She also said the State Board of Education should adopt new health curriculum standards that provide more information about contraception, as well as the importance of abstinence, to help school districts provide comprehensive and effective sex education programs.

"It's clear that more and more local school officials realize ignorance won't protect our kids," Miller said in a news release about the report. "So now we're seeing the adoption of common-sense sex education policies that deal with a real public health crisis and that polling shows most parents support."

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