California: School Board Says HIV Education Is Lacking
August 29, 2003
A health education task force has found weaknesses in the way sex and HIV/AIDS instruction is delivered in the Mt. Diablo school district in Concord, Calif. Curriculum specialist Sue Chambers said the current curriculum, developed in 1986, is outdated and is not implemented consistently. The task force found that teachers are not adequately trained and parents are not notified far enough in advance of days when instruction about reproduction or reproductive organs will take place.Adapted from:
"I was surprised that the curriculum across the district was so scattered," said Gary Eberhart, school board president. "And it struck me as surprising that teachers who were supposed to be in charge of health education were unsure of their roles."
The task force recommended that the district establish a mandatory single-semester health course for ninth graders and develop a health curriculum for seventh graders that includes family life, HIV/AIDS, drugs, alcohol and tobacco. The task force requested additional funding for teacher training and materials and a method for monitoring and evaluating the health education program.
Chambers explained that the state's education code requires HIV/AIDS to be taught once in middle school and once in high school. The district currently incorporates HIV/AIDS into its seventh-grade family life curriculum but is inconsistent at the high school level. Most students learn about HIV/AIDS in ninth or 10th grade biology, she said, but some teachers are uncomfortable with the material. Chambers noted that specially trained instructors could teach some of the material if teachers were reluctant. She pointed out that the state requires the district to teach students about how HIV is transmitted and how it can be prevented.
Parents can review the district's sex education materials from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and 7 p.m.-9 p.m. September 22-25 at Willow Creek Center, 1026 Mohr Lane, in Concord. For information, telephone 925-682-8000, ext. 4041, or visit www.mdusd.k12.ca.us.
Contra Costa Times
08.28.03; Theresa Harrington
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.
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