Saturday, January 15, 2005

Washington State Offers Sex-Ed Guidelines

The state government out in Washington seems to be taking a very gentle approach to sex education. They just issued a set of "guidelines" for educators, which they can ignore or follow as they wish: State issues guidelines on sex ed: Recommendations mark foray into national, charged debate

The guidelines seem to describe the new Montgomery County curriculum very well:
The state guidelines urge that medically and scientifically accurate information be offered about prevention of both disease and unwanted pregnancy.

The information should include that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain method of avoiding pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, according to the five-page Guidelines for Sexual Health Information and Disease Prevention.

"I think they're great," said Pamela Hillard, supervisor for health education in the Seattle Public Schools. "They're very much in line with the philosophy and objectives that are part of the Seattle sexuality education program."

Very interesting to read how they handle it. Kids in Washington have to take 5 hours of classes about HIV/AIDS, beginning in fifth grade.
In Seattle Public Schools, most fifth-grade teachers go beyond that to offer a 15-lesson presentation of the Family Life and Sexual Health program developed by Seattle/King County public health officials.

But the only district-required sex ed is part of a health course mandated in ninth grade, she said, with additional instruction available in elective health courses.

This sounds very interesting and enlightened. We live in a time when we may see government regulation of marriage partner selection -- at the federal level, no less -- when government seems to want to impose itself more and more into people's private lives. For the state of Washington to provide a list of best practices, with no intention of forcing anybody to follow them, seems very wise.
According to this article,
Washington's new sex education guidelines call for providing information about both abstinence and contraception. The guidelines recommend programs that:
  • Are appropriate for age and culture.

  • Use information and materials that are medically and scientifically accurate and objective.

  • Identify resources to address individual needs, for present and future concerns and questions.

  • Stress that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid pregnancy and to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

  • Address the health needs of all youth who are sexually active, including how to access health services.

  • Provide accurate information about sexually transmitted diseases, including how STDs are -- and are not -- transmitted and the effectiveness of all U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved methods of reducing the risk of contracting STDs.

  • Provide accurate information about the effectiveness and safety of all FDA-approved contraceptive methods in preventing pregnancy.

  • Provide information on local resources for testing and medical care for STDs and pregnancy.

  • Recognize and respect people with differing personal and family values.

  • Address the impact of media and peer messages on thoughts, feelings, cultural norms and behaviors related to sexuality as well as address social pressures related to sexual behaviors.



Blogger War Diaries said...

They seem very nice to me. My only but is that they are only guidelines for people to follow as they please. Therefore, they could pick and chose...That would work fairly well in our County, because most of the teachers -who actually were the ones to complain of the constraints and limitations of previous curriculum- are very forward thinking, and are for a comprehensive approach to sex-education. However, what would happen if one teacher doesn't want to follow them, or pick and chose as s/he pleases? That group of students would be at a disadvantage. As you once said, it would be interesting to see if the Math curriculum were so open to personal views.

January 15, 2005 11:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Pythagorean theorem is provable.

The cause of homosexuality is not.

Could any of you who claim to be enlightened and hyper-educated show me a scientific study that backs up the new curriculum's claim that same-sex sex play among young teenagers is normal?

January 18, 2005 11:22 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Normal? Do you mean like, "everybody does it," or "it's good for you"? I didn't say anything about whether something was normal or not, and really don't understand how you're using the word. Please explain.

January 18, 2005 6:01 PM  

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