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Sex Education Study Sheds Light on How Texas Schools Keep Kids in Dark

March 2, 2009

Most Texas public schools fail to teach accurate information in sex education, and half use shame and fear to push their message, a new survey shows. The liberal civic group Texas Freedom Network on Feb. 24 released "Just Say Don't Know: Sexuality Education in Public Schools," a report conducted under contract by Texas State University (TSU)-San Marcos professors.

Among the 1,031 school districts surveyed, 96 percent responded to a request for information about their curricula. Of respondents, about 94 percent said they taught abstinence-only sex education; 4 percent taught more than abstinence, including information about contraceptives; and more than 2 percent did not offer sex education.

The study authors found some sex education curricula downplayed the efficacy of condoms; some failed to provide enough information about STD screening and treatment; and some presented shaming messages suggesting sex is "dirty" and "immoral."

"Texas is failing families when it comes to sexuality information," said report co-author David Wiley, a TSU health education professor. "Our classrooms are perpetuating a conspiracy of silence that robs young people of the reliable information they need to make responsible life decisions."

The teen pregnancy rate of Bexar County is nearly double the national rate, costing county taxpayers $70 million annually. Of the 16 San Antonio school districts, 11 taught abstinence-only sex education last year. The state, consistently one of the top recipients of federal abstinence funds, ranked third in the nation for teen pregnancies in 2006.

Back to other news for March 2009

Adapted from:
San Antonio Express-News
02.25.2009; Nancy Martinez

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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