Research Paper – Sex Education in Public Schools It’s been a number of days since I’ve written here, and for that I have to answer that there have been a number of projects under works that I’ve had to tend to. For now, I will take the time to show you a research paper I’ve spent most of the day writing for my Comp I class. Sex Education in Public Schools Sex education in public schools here in the United States has, for at least the past decade, supported and utilized abstinence-only sex education programs to be taught throughout both intermediate schools and high schools.
Though during the entire time that abstinence-only programs have been used, there has been a constant debate among both parents and educational authorities how to approach a better way of conducting sex education. The question has risen of whether or not abstinence-only programs actually aid the decrease of teen pregnancy, prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, or are giving children the education that their own parents would have wanted them to have on the subject matter. Comprehensive sex education seems, after evidence presented, to be the more effective method in aiding these issues.
First, the issue of whether sex education should even be taught in schools. During a recent poll, results showed that only about 7% of Americans do not want sex education being taught in schools at all, while the other majority percentage clearly stated that they believe at least some information about sex education should be taught in schools (a€? Sex Education in Americaa€? ). Many have asked the question, or made the implication, however, that perhaps sex should not be talked about in public school, but only at homes with the children and their parents.
Another ironic point also shows that most parents are uncomfortable talking to their children about sex and sexuality. Personal experiences are documented in a number of places in regards to the experiences of both the children and the parents feeling uncomfortable when the subject of sex is discussed. Still, many also say that even through both the discomfort in the discussions, as well as the education that is received in schools, parents take on a large role in helping to solve the future generations and their involvement with societya€™s sex education problems.
Ellen Goodman of The Boston Globe writes on parents: For a long time, parents of teenagers have been cast as the beleaguered, hapless characters whose voices are barely heard and rarely respected in a cacophony of peers, pop culture, and body piercers. Mothers and fathers, we are told, are road kill on the way to adulthood. [. . . ] But the study went through all the research on the role parents play in the teenagersa€™ lives and what impact they have on their childrena€™s sexual activity. It turns out that parents are a remarkably effective antipregnancy program.
The greater the closeness of parent and child, the lower the pregnancy rate. (18) Given this information, it would make sense to infer that the more information the populace is given in regards to sex, and especially in parents to give to their children, the better off the children will be in their sexual health. Teen pregnancy rates in the United States exceed rates in nearly all other industrialized nations, a€? The U. S. still leads the fully industrialized world in teen pregnancy and birth rates a€“ by a wide margin. In fact, the U.
S. rates nearly double Great Britaina€™s, at least four times those of France and Germany, and more than ten times that of Japana€? (Espejo 80). This being said, there is an ongoing slew of research which points to both a change of mindset to something more prominent of what was seen in the past, as well as more information being given to teens to be prepared for making intelligent decisions. Maggie Gallagher writes in The Age of Unwed Mothers: The teen pregnancy problem in our society is inseparable from a much larger marriage problem.
Changing adult ideas about marriage and its relationship to procreation have directly guided the entire cluster of trends in teen behavior a€“ including rising rates of unmarried sex, weak motivation to use contraceptives, rising ages of marriage, and sharp declines in both legitimation and adoption a€“ that we currently describe, somewhat misleadingly, as our crisis of teen pregnancy. (91) Teen pregnancy rates have seen both falls and climbs in the past number of decades, and much of the time it has been difficult to pinpoint the cause of these rate changes.
When the pregnancy rate decreases, both sides of the argument often take credit, one side saying that it was because of a lack of abstinence-only sex education, another side saying it was because of a reinforcement or fulfillment in abstinence-only sex education. In the Introduction to the Opposing Viewpoints seriesa€™ Teen Sexuality: Defenders of traditional sex education programs point to these statistics and argue that Congressa€™s proposed changes to sex education are unnecessary.
However, a second study by another Michael Resnick of the University of Minnesota provides another explanation for the drop in teen sexual activity. According to Resnick, parents who spend time with their children and make their values clear are more likely to have children who forgo sex, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and violence. a€? Ita€™s more than the physical presence of parents, the number of hours a day theya€™re in the home,a€™ Resnick contends. a€? Its their emotional availability. €™ (13-14) The more information and supportive relationships from the important authoritative figures in teensa€™ lives will allow them to make more beneficial decisions in regards to sex & teen pregnancy. Perhaps one of the largest concerns in teen sexual activity and what method of sex education would be best in preventing it, is that of sexually transmitted diseases, or a€? STDa€™s. a€™ Abstinence-only programs usually do not give out free condoms in addition to their teachings, as many often view this as contradictory.
Through a number of studies it was said, a€? The big change was that the sexually active boys were more likely to be using condoms, and virgins were much more likely to plan to use condoms when they have their first vaginal intercoursea€? (Roleff 16). And while some would claim that contraceptives only encourage more sexual activity than would take place without contraception, another study showed that the rate of sexual activity for a€? both sets of teens was about 50 percent. €? Clearly the decision to encourage the use of contraception when sexual activity occurs would be the ideal choice, given this information. By definition, abstinence states that you should abstain from all sexual activity, and abstinence-only programs stress that this is the only 100% safe way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, but it is implied in increased use of condoms that there will be a decrease in the transmission of STDa€™s.
While some have claimed that condoms can often fail in preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, Ceci Conolly of the Washington Post wrote in the article Some Abstinence Programs Mislead Teens, a€? Among the falsehoods cited by Waxmana€™s investigators: Condoms fail to prevent HIV transmission as often as 31 percent of the time in heterosexual intercourse. The U. S. Centers for Disease Control Centers has said, a€? Laboratory studies have demonstrated that latex condoms provide an essentially impermeable barrier to particles the size of STD pathogensa€? a€? 10 Reasons to Use a Condom, Any Condoma€? ). While many abstinence-only education programs teach the consequences of these programs, not all schools using abstinence-only education speak in full truth about condoms or speak in encouragement to using condoms even though they have proven to be effective in preventing the spread of STDa€™s. While schools do need to have a role, the cultural and societal shift seen in parental involvement has presented a change in sexual health among teens.
The high rate of teen pregnancy in the United States can better be improved through comprehensive information given to teens, the availability of contraceptives, and once again a€“ the relationship children have to their parents. Condoms can aid in the prevention of spreading sexually transmitted diseases, yet too few schools offer both the availability of condoms nor information on condoms themselves. Abstinence-only education serves well to emphasize that abstinence is the only certain way to prevent pregnancy and STDa€™s.
However, comprehensive sex education can include an emphasis on abstinence while still equipping teens to make intelligent decisions about sex, reducing the teen pregnancy rate, and reducing the spread of STDa€™s. Works Cited a€? 10 Reasons to Use a Condom. Any Condom. a€? Trojan Brand Condoms. Trojan Condoms. 26 November 2006 Conolly, Ceci. a€? Some Abstinence Only Programs Mislead Teens, Reports Say. a€? WashingtonPost. com. The Washington Post. 6 November 2006 Espejo, Roman. Americaa€™s Youth. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2003. Gallagher, Maggie. The Age of Unwed Mothers:Is Teen Pregnancy a Problem? New York: Institute for American Values, 1999 Goodman, Ellen. a€? Why Teen Prengnancy is Down. a€? The Boston Globe. 24 May 1998. Roleff, Tamara L. ed. Teenage Sexuality. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2001. a€? Sex Education in America. a€? NPR/Kaiser/Kennedy School. The Kaiser Family Foundation. 26 November 2006