Washington, D.C., Public Health Officials Pledge to Implement HIV/AIDS Curriculum by Fall 2008
January 17, 2008
Washington, D.C., public health officials have pledged to implement an HIV/AIDS curriculum in city public schools by the fall 2008 school year, the Washington Post reports (Levine, Washington Post, 1/17).
Richard Nyankori, special assistant to Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, said the standards are a "beginning, a means, not an end," adding that the next major step is to decide how to teach the curriculum and what materials to use. According to Nyankori, teachers will use lessons borrowed from programs developed elsewhere for the upcoming fall school year. According to the Post, the district's own public schools curriculum will be ready in late 2009, after guides and sample lessons are prepared and tested among focus groups, such as community members. Officials will begin training teachers this summer. Rhee has promised to hire a qualified health education teacher for each public middle and high school. "We know that there's a need to have immediate HIV education," Nyankori said, adding "We're in a crisis."
Charter schools are supposed to develop curricula that reflect the health standards, although the state education board did not set a deadline for implementation, according to the Post. "Clearly it would be to the benefit of students, for their survival really, to have that information," Nona Richardson, a spokesperson for the D.C. Public Charter School Board, said.
"It took way too long to get to these standards," Walter Smith of the Appleseed Center said. The group's next report card will assess the schools' progress on developing a health curriculum, he said, adding, "We're going to be very, very critical if they haven't made substantial forward progress." Adam Tenner, executive director of Metro TeenAIDS who helped design the education standards, said that he wants to see future curricula incorporate HIV/AIDS education into history and language arts lessons as well as health or science classes. "My hope is the schools will look for those opportunities," Tenner said, adding, "The fact that [they] come so late in the game is tragic but moot" (Washington Post, 1/17).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.