Despite the obvious statistics, restless debates on whether sex education should be obligatory in public schools flourish. Statistics of the Guttmacher Institute claims that the United States has “one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the developed world—almost twice as high as those of England, Wales and Canada, and eight times as high as those of the Netherlands and Japan.” According to the Guttmacher studies among 750,000 teen pregnancies that annually take place, over 82 percent are unintended, one-quarter of which result in abortions. To a large extent, abstinence-only sex ed stands out against the broad sex education course that the majority American parents want — from the ABC of how babies are conceived to how condoms are supposed to put on to how to get tested for STD. (Facts on Sex Education in the United States, 2006)
When discussing the issue of introducing sex education as an obligatory course of public schools, conservatism conflicts with liberalism, religion collides with logic. Conservatives and adherents of the Bush administration strongly believe that sex education should add up to premarital continence. However, according to numerous surveys of public opinion teacher and parents are dissatisfied with such strategy. On the question of the Annenberg Public Policy Center if they support the fact that students should be taught not only abstention but other methods of pregnancy prevention and STD infection approximately 82 percent of the responders (liberal and conservatives) gave a positive response. In the past the majority of the states accepted federal funding, but teachers in violation of the law told their students about contraception and other “prohibited” matters. Some states (Ohio, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Road Island, Montana and New Jersey) decided to reject governmental grants but give their children real sex education. California completely rejected such federal programmes.
Some opponents of sex education in public schools are convinced that sex education should be taught at home. They believe that that gives parents more control over the child’s knowledge of sexual orientation as well as perception of moral and immoral outlooks on sexual relations. Sex education at home can also protect the child from sour topic (disease, pregnancy or sexual orientation). Some believe that sex education is a very private and intimate topic and should not be disclosed to the public. Sex education at home puts more responsibility on the parents. Antagonist of sex ed in public schools completely disagree with the opinion that it’s OK if you are using a condom. (Dailard, C., 2001) Nevertheless, specialist and author of the book “Ten Talks Parents Must Have With Their Children” Pepper Schwartz believes: “Parents aren’t sex education experts just because they are parents”. And at the same time Bruno Bettelheim, an Austrian-born American child psychologist and writer, wrote in one of his article “Our Children Are Treated Like Idiots” in Psychology Today of July 1981 that “… you cannot have sex education without saying that sex is natural and that most people find it pleasurable”. (Quotes on sex education, 2010)
The issue of sexual education has been discussed for several decades. The founder of the American radical right-wing John Birch Society Robert Welch in 1960 wrote that sex education in schools is a “filthy Communist plot” aiming to undermine spiritual health of the American youth. Under suppressing circumstances US was forced to introduce a course of such nature, however according to the law money from the federal budget could only be spent on programmes that teach students abstention from premarital sexual activities as this method was considered to be the only reliable way of preventing extramarital pregnancy, spreading of various sexually transmitted diseases and other health problems connected with this issue. (Sexuality Education for Children and Adolescents, 2001) This law became even stronger under George Walker Bush, Jr. Although the federal government annually spends more than $176 million on these programmes, these courses are absolutely ineffective. American indicators of sexual health among teenagers are the worst among all developed countries. Many of the governmentally subsidized programmes provide inaccurate conception of sexuality. For example, from 13 examined programmes, 11 contained false statements such as HIV is transmitted through sweat and tears, touching genitals can cause pregnancy, 43 day embryos can think, half of the American male homosexual population suffers from HIV, condoms do not protect from HIV in one third of the cases etc. (Sex Education in America, 2009)
Statistics talks for itself. As a result of the growing pregnancy percentage among teenagers as well as the increasing rates of teen sexual activity, for the benefit of the students parents together with public school counsellors are searching for the most effective sex education schemes. The majority (46%) of the Americans consider that the most effectual scheme of sex ed is the so called “abstinence-plus”, when students are taught about the essence of abstinence as well as the necessity to use condoms and contraception. All in all it is vitally important to teach teens responsibility and wise decision-making when it comes to sex.
Dailard, C. “Sex Education: Politicians, Parents, Teachers and Teens”. The Guttmacher Report on Public Policy. Guttmacher Institute. February 2001. November 23, 2010. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/tgr/04/1/gr040109.html
“Facts on Sex Education in the United States”. Guttmacher Institute. December 2006. November 23, 2010. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_sexEd2006.html
“Sex Education in America”. NRP. February 2009. November 23, 2010. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1622610
“Sexuality Education for Children and Adolescents”. Pediatrics, 2001;108;498-502. November 23, 2010. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/reprint/108/2/498
“Quotes on sex education”. Notable Quotes. 2010. November 23, 2010. http://www.notable-quotes.com/s/sex_education_quotes.html