Sex Education Programs that Work in Public Schools

Barron, James
February 1988
Education Digest;Feb1988, Vol. 53 Issue 6, p24
The article focuses on sex education programs in public schools in the U.S. Today, with disturbingly high teenage pregnancy rates, the AIDS epidemic, and widespread fears about other sexually transmitted diseases, many public school educators believe that sex education is a must. Surveys have long shown that about 80 percent of Americans favor sex education in public schools. Two school systems praised by family-life specialists are in Alexandria, Virginia, and Irvington, New Jersey. Both teach sex education from kindergarten on, and both report only scant opposition to either the early start or the explicit nature of the programs. Information about sexuality was first discussed in schools around the turn of the century. The old sex education failed to prevent teenage pregnancies from skyrocketing. The pregnancy rate for the United States is still the highest among Western nations. Although sex education has become more common, programs vary from state to state, town to town, even school to school. Sex education is now called "family-life education," and it covers reproduction, getting along with parents and peers, understanding one's own emotions, and knowing what to do about sex abuse and AIDS.


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