Sex education —

Sex Education is IneffectivePerhaps one of the most controversial issues arising today is that of sex education in America’s public school system. In today’s world, where information travels at the speed of light and mass media is part of our everyday lives, teenagers are more exposed to this world than ever before. In this country, teens have access to television, newspapers, and of course, internet. Sometimes, teenagers can misinterpret what they see in the media regarding sex and make unwise decisions, such as having unprotected sex. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and teenage pregnancies is a growing problem in the U.S. Every year, one million girls aged 15 to 19 become pregnant each year in this country alone (Schools Skimping… 13). Sex education was introduced to help solve the problem of STDs and teen pregnancies by giving teenagers real facts and correct information about sex.

Teenagers can therefore make wise and safe choices about sex. However, there are major flaws in sex education. While it is extremely important to educate teenagers about sex and sexuality, putting sex education in the American educational system in not the correct solution. Sex education is flawed in that it is ineffective when it comes to lowering teenage pregnancies and STDs because sex education programs leave out important information, teachers who teach it are unqualified, and because teenagers are more greatly affected by their parents, peers, and popular media than by their teachers.There is a myth that sex education provides teenagers with good and important information. Sex education supposedly gives students the means to make responsible and wise decisions. Pamela DeCarlo, from the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, is a firm believer in sex education, and believes it must be taught in order to reduce the spread of STDs and teenage pregnancies (DeCarlo).According an article in USA Today, however, Congress passed in 1996 a legislation allocating two hundred and fifty million dollars to fund sex education programs.

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These programs excluded medically accurate information about birth control and STDs (Schools Skimping… 13). These programs cannot possibly hope to have any significant benefits. Teenagers are deprived from getting the type of information they need about sex.

The whole purpose of sex education is to educate teenagers about sex and help lower teenage pregnancies and the spread of diseases. If these so-called “sex-education programs” are lacking in information about birth control and STDs, then it defeats the whole purpose of having sex education in the first place.Another argument that is often made is sex education provides teenagers with the type of information that they cannot receive from a parent. The argument is that sex education provides students with qualified instructors to help answer questions that might have been too embarrassing to ask a parent.

According to a “Teen Talk” survey taken by Durex Consumer Products, a manufacturer of condoms, teenagers are more likely to talk to their parents only about dating and relationship issues. Only about thirty percent of them talk to their parents about buying or using contraceptives (Schools Skimping… 13). However, most teachers who teach sex education are unqualified. Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, vice-president of the Institute for American Values, says, “Principals have to do little more than buy a sex-education curriculum and enroll the coach or home-economics teacher in a training workshop, and their school has a sex-education program” (Whitehead). It is unsettling to think of how just anyone can teach a program. Workshops cannot possibly provide teachers with enough skill and expertise to adequately educate teenagers about sex.

Workshops, at most, would only cover the basics, which would put teenagers at a loss if they ever wanted to know something that was not taught in the workshop. It seems that sex education is not taken very seriously, considering that math and English teachers need degrees in their respective subjects in order to teach it, whereas sex education teachers need no such requirement.Until sex education teachers are more adequately trained, the responsibility of educating teenagers about sex should lie with the parents. Since many teens may be too embarrassed to initiate a conversation about sex, the parent should be the one to bring up the subject. Although parents, too, may not have the expertise to know everything about educating their children on sex, teenagers are more likely to take this subject seriously when approached by their parents. An untrained parent is better at educating teenagers on sex than an improperly trained teacher. A one-on-one discussion would be more personal and meaningful than a discussion in a classroom setting.

Debra Haffner, president of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S., believes that sex and sexuality should be an ongoing topic between parent and teen.

She says that if parents communicate openly and set clear limits, their children would be more likely to abstain from having sex or use contraceptives if they do (Haffner 81).Professor Linda A. Berne, of the Department of Health Promotion and Kinesiology in the University of North Carolina, brings a point about the effectiveness of sex education in Europe. In the Education Digest, she claims that in certain parts of Europe where sex education is taught, the rates of pregnancies amongst teenage girls are two to seven times lower than the teenage pregnancy rate in the U.S. (Berne 27). The point she is trying to make is that if sex education is such a success in Europe, it should be effective in the United States as well.However, the United States and Europe are two complete different areas.

The United Sates has a completely different culture. Europeans are not exposed to the type of movies and television programs that American teenagers are exposed to. Charles Krauthammer, former chief resident in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, points out, “Kids do not learn their morals at school.

They learn it at home. Or they used to. Now they learn it from culture, most notably from the mass media” (Krauthammer 584). Jeannie I. Rosoff, president of the Alan Guttmcher Institute, also believes that media is one of the reasons why teenagers are more sexually active. She says, “The role of media, particularly television, is pervasive, and the depiction of sex and violence is ubiquitous at virtually all hours of the day” (Rosoff 33).

It is impossible to compare teenage pregnancy rates of two different regions of the world when the teenagers in question are living in completely different societies.With the media comes peer pressure. If something is believed by popular culture to be “hip” and “cool,” then teens are more likely to do it.

In a study done by Ruth J. Berenda, ten teenagers were brought into a classroom. They were told that they were going to be tested on their perception. Cards were held up before the class. On each card, there were three lines, each of different lengths. As the conductor pointed to each line, the class was told to raise their hands when the conductor pointed to the longest line. What one student did not know what that the other nine teenagers were brought in earlier and were told to point to the medium length line. When the nine students all raised their hands at the medium line, the one student would look around with confusion, but would raise his hand as well.

When the next card was raised, the one student would follow all the others again. This happened in seventy-five percent of all the cases (Dobson).Because of the power of peer pressure, a student would say that a shorter line is longer than a long one. Peer pressure is greatly affects what teenagers do and look like. In many cases, unfortunately, teenagers are also pressured into having sex. Sex education in the school system would be ineffective because the pressure would be too overwhelming for a teenager to just ignore the crowd and not listen to his friends.In a society such as ours, it is important that teenagers get the information they need about sex.

Only then can they make responsible choices and keep themselves protected. However, sex education as it is known today, is ineffective when it comes to lowering teenage pregnancies and sexual transmitted diseases. The government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to fund sex education programs that simply do not work. Sex education teachers are inadequately trained and cannot connect with a teenager the same way that a parent could.

Until a there is a revision in the curriculum of sex education programs in the U.S., it would be best if the government spent the money on something of use.Works CitedBerne, Linda.

“Sexuality Education Works: Here’s Proof.” The Education Digest. Feb. 1996: 25-29 DeCarlo, Pamela.

“Does Sex Education Work?”, James.

“The Influence of Peer Pressure.”, Debra. “How to Talk to Kids About Sex.” Newsweek.

14 June 1999: 80-81Krauthammer, Charles. “School Birth-Control Clinics: A Necessary Evil.” Elements ofArgument.

Ed. Annette T. Rottenberg.

Boston: Bedford Books, 1996Rosoff, Jeannie. “Helping Teenagers Avoid Negative Consequences of Sexual Activity.” USA Today. May 1996: 33-35 “Schools Skimping on Sex Education.” USA Today. Aug.

1998: 13Whitehead, Barbara Dafoe. “The Failure of Sex Education.” The Atlantic Monthly. Oct. 1994


Thesis: Sex Education should be taught in middle schools to make our children aware and helpthem with decisions in the future.

Audience: All District #150 PersonnelSex Education should be taught in middle schools to make our children aware and helpthem with decisions in the future. When children enter middle school many of them are goingthrough adolescent changes. This school district needs to help educate these hormone ragingteens about sex education. Not only will this program teach sex education, it will also give teensthe chance to ask questions and receive help if they are in a sexual situation. District #150 makesup about three quarters the schools in Peoria and if you make room for a sex education programto help your students, many other schools will follow your example. You can help stop teen sexat an early age with guidance.

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With a sex education program in your curriculum, you will seesuccess in the students lives and notice a change in attitude toward the opposite sex.As you walk down the middle school hallways, you see more young teenage girls that arepregnant. Many of these girls knew the chances of getting pregnant without using a condom, butreally they didnt care. According to Faye Wattleton, the staggering rates and devastatingconsequences of teen pregnancy in America are well document (Wattleton 51). It seems clearthat many of the girls are unaware of the results of having unprotected sexual intercourse. Thesegirls and even young men should be given the opportunity to learn about the outcomes of sex. When a teenage girl is making out with her boyfriend and things start to grow intense, most justgo along with sex because they think nothing will happen.

With this program you can helpdecrease more than 1,000,000 US teenagers becoming pregnant each year, intentionally(Donavon 28). Helping find the answer to a problem is a start, but solving the task takes time. Pregnancy is a major effect when young teens have unprotected sex but diseases also arebeing transferred between parties.

With the HIV/AIDS virus and STDs like Gonorrhea,spreading throughout the state, District #150 middles schools should be aware of the symptoms. When I was in middle school we had a very small discussion on sex education. Truthfully, Iremember very little because the program was very brief When I entered high school we had alittle better explanation about diseases but I was still clue less. Maybe if we taught these middleschool students the effects and showed the pictures of affected people, they might actuallyconsider using protection. Debra Haffner states, 95% of adults want HIV/AIDS education totheir children (Haffner 54). I talked to a teacher, Candace Walrath, at Broadmoor Junior High,and she has her students do an STD activity.

Two students, male and female, are given a halfglass of water. Each student pours their half into the partners cup and vice versa, sharing bodyfluids, just like unprotected sexual intercourse (Walrath). Then the student break up andperforms the experiment with a different partner. The more information you teach about thediseases caused by unprotected sex, the more teens will think before having unprotected sex.

Diseases can change the minds of young teenagers but there are many different types ofprotection they should be aware of so there is an option if sexual intercourse happens. I know myhigh school health teacher told me about condoms and birth control but most teens are scared toask about these contraceptives. Young teens think that if they ask about condoms or birthcontrol, questions about having sex will come to the adults mind. At Planned Parenthood freecondoms are given to sexually active teens and even birth control methods. Places like these aregood for these teens because confidentiality, is a must with sexual active teenagers.

(YM,Love). Your school can help by making the students aware of these places. Even if yourprogram shows a teem how to use a condom, telling them places to get them will lead to a higheruse of protection. A YM survey states that 41% of teens dont know why they didnt useprotection (YM Love). Students need to know their options so they can use protection.

Teach these students that if they do decide to have sex, there are ways to preventdiseases and pregnancy but where is the respect in a sexual situation. Respect is a factor thatteenagers really dont understand. Any girl can say no to sex and a guy should respect thatdecision. He tries to change the girls mind and usually, in the end, the girl gives in to hispersuasion. At Broadmoor Junior High, Candace Walrath teaches her students that respectcomes before sex, and I agree with her (Walrath). If teens give respect, they usually get it back. Also personal hygiene gives a teenager respect for themselves.What we havent done in schoolis talk about the serious reasons for taking care of yourself: This is your body and its wonderful;cherish it and make good decisions for yourself , (Glazer 358).

Respect is the most importantpart in a relationship and teachers should promote respect for others and themselves. Respectmakes you feel good inside and helps build maturity. If students are taught aspects of respect,they will start showing respect. Respect is received when someone understands your decision but when abstinence is theanswer, sex education is successful. Everyone knows abstinence is the best answer to sexualintercourse.

One girl stated in a YM survey that shes afraid to get pregnant, (YM 51). Whenabstinence is presented as a key to safer sex, many ignore the issue. Abstinence needs to betaught after all the effects of unprotected sex. More teens will think about waiting to have sexafter seeing what can happen to them physically and mentally.

Abstinence is the only certainway, to avoid pregnancy and diseases (Shin 28). Even if a teenager has had sex, you can stillconvince them to practice abstinence. Just because a teen has already had sex doesnt meanabstinence isnt a solution.

It is! Every program has abstinence, so should yours.Sex education should be taught in every District#150 middle school to make the childrenaware and help them with future decisions. You can help decrease the pregnancy rate, teach kidsto be aware of diseases, present them with types of protection, show them respect is a must, andalways promote abstinence.Sex education programs are becoming a part of more middle schoolcurricula and if you start a program many will follow. Students who take a sex education courseare less likely to cause a pregnancy, (Donovan 28). The idea of a sex education program in yourmiddle schools is a good decision.

Works CitedDonovan, Patricia. Sex Education in American Schools: Progress and Obstacles. USAToday. July 1992, 28-30.Glazer, Sarah. Sex Education: How Well Does it Work? Editorial Research Reports.

June 23, 1989, Vol. 1, No. 23, 338-339.Haffner, Debra.

Sexuality Education in Public Schools. Education Digest. Sept. 1992,53-57.

Shin, Annys. Abstinence-only Programs Get the Big Bucks. Ms. News. Jan. 1998, 28.

Wattleton, Faye. American Teens: Sexually Active, Sexually Illiterate. EducationDigest. March 1998, 51-53.Walrath, Candace. Interview February 3, 2000. Broadmoor Junior High, 7th Grade.YM Magazine.

The Love and Sex Report. February 2000, 50-53.Words/ Pages : 1,228 / 24


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