New York: Assemblyman's Study Faults Health Education in Schools
June 24, 2003
More than 60 percent of New York school districts violate state or city rules regulating the way students learn about drug abuse, AIDS and sex education, according to a study of the city school system's health programs for kindergarten through eighth grade. The study, conducted by Assemblymember Scott M. Stringer (D-Manhattan), was based on two months of interviews with 27 of the city's 32 district health coordinators. According to the study, schools lack trained health teachers, use outdated textbooks and curriculum, and in some cases, do not even offer health classes.Adapted from:
Department of Education officials said they are addressing concerns about the school's health programs. The School Health Partnership, created in January, is developing health education programs based on a model set up by CDC.
Of the districts surveyed, the study found that 63 percent of the health programs for kindergarten through eighth grade did not have trained teachers to instruct students about HIV/AIDS or sex education; 70 percent did not know about one or more health education mandates; and 70 percent did not actively monitor health classes in the schools. According to the study, the curriculum used to teach family living and sex education classes has not been updated since 1986, and the AIDS curriculum since 1991.
Despite these flaws, the study found that 63 percent of districts surveyed had developed health curriculums of their own that go beyond state and city requirements.
Stringer said health education had been largely ignored over the past decade, either because the topics are intimate and sometimes controversial, or because they do not show up on standardized tests. "You can't test attitudes toward sex and preventing sexually transmitted disease. You don't take a health exam to get into college," he said.
New York Times
06.22.03; Patrick Healy
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.