Target: Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education
Goal: Create higher standards for sex education in U.S. schools.
The U.S. lags dramatically behind other developed countries in its standards for sex education. Currently, only 22 states mandate sex education, and only 13 of those require the information to be medically sound. This leaves millions of adolescents each year dangerously uninformed about sex.
If sex education is even offered, many school districts still stick to an abstinence-only approach. Abstinence education has repeatedly been exposed as wildly ineffective at preventing sexually transmitted infections or teen pregnancy. Despite this, over $1.5 billion of taxpayer money has been spent on these programs since 1996.
Abstinence-only programs have also been shown to distort information in an effort to scare students into following religious ideals. Dozens of professional medical and scientific organizations have voiced the need for comprehensive, medically-accurate sex ed. Still, American schools are extremely slow and reluctant to change.
People, especially young people, cannot be expected to make good decisions without necessary information. Neglecting to inform teens about the best forms of birth control or the importance of consent, for example, could lead to disastrous outcomes for them later in life. By ignoring sex or treating it as taboo, American schools set teens up for failure.
The federal government needs to step up and create nationwide standards for sex education. By allowing states to freely choose whether or not to give their students medically-sound sex ed, we allow young adults to be left in the dark, and we contribute to a culture of sexual misinformation and shame. Please urge the U.S. Secretary of Education to take steps to implement standards for comprehensive, medically-sound sex education nationwide.
Dear Secretary Duncan,
Sex education in the United States is in desperate need of a makeover. American adolescents have a lower level of understand of sexual topics than their peers in other developed countries. This can likely be attributed to the antiquated teaching plans being used in schools, or in many cases the complete lack of sex ed. Sadly only 22 states mandate sex ed, and only 13 of those require the information given to be medically accurate.
Many schools that do teach sex ed still employ abstinence-only methods. This approach is highly ineffective at preventing STIs or teen pregnancy, and is a waste of taxpayer money. Abstinence-until-marriage education also represents an inappropriate violation of the concept of separation of church and state. Such programs have been shown to distort information in an attempt to scare students into following religious ideals. Religion and scare tactics have no place in our public schools.
The complete lack of standards for sex education in this country is deplorable. Millions of young people are growing into adulthood without the necessary tools to navigate a world in which sex is ubiquitous. We cannot expect young adults to make healthy, intelligent decisions about sex when they aren’t given any information to work with. I’m urging the Department of Education to take steps to create nationwide standards for comprehensive, medically-sound sex education.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Kerryank