New national K-12 curriculum sexuality standards

10 Jan

The Journal of School Health has released the report, National Sexuality Education Standards: Core Content and Skills K-12

The goal of the National Sexuality Education Standards:

Core Content and Skills, K–12 is to provide clear, consistent and straightforward guidance on the essential minimum, core content for sexuality education that is developmentally and age-appropriate for students in grades K–12. The development of these standards is a result of an ongoing initiative, the Future of Sex Education (FoSE). Forty individuals from the fields of health education, sexuality education, public health, public policy, philanthropy and advocacy convened for a two-day meeting in December 2008 to create a strategic plan for sexuality education policy and implementation. A key strategic priority that emerged from this work was the creation of national sexuality education standards to advance the implementation of sexuality education in US public schools.

Specifically, the National Sexuality Education Standards were developed to address the inconsistent implementation of sexuality education nationwide and the limited time allocated to teaching the topic. Health education, which typically covers a broad range of topics including sexuality education, is given very little time in the school curriculum. According to the School Health Policies and Practices Study, a national survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Adolescent School Health to assess school health policies and practices, a median total of 17.2 hours is devoted to instruction in HIV, pregnancy and STD prevention: 3.1 hours in elementary, 6 hours in middle and 8.1 hours in high school.1 Given these realities, the National Sexuality Education Standards were designed to:

Outline what, based on research and extensive professional expertise, are the minimum, essential content and skills for sexuality education K–12 given student needs, limited teacher preparation and typically available time and resources.

Assist schools in designing and delivering sexuality education K–12 that is planned, sequential and part of a comprehensive school health education approach.

Provide a clear rationale for teaching sexuality education content and skills at different grade levels that is evidence-informed, age-appropriate and theorydriven.

Support schools in improving academic performance by addressing a content area that is both highly relevant to students and directly related to high school graduation rates.

Present sexual development as a normal, natural, healthy part of human development that should be a part of every health education curriculum.

Offer clear, concise recommendations for school personnel on what is age-appropriate to teach students at different grade levels.

Translate an emerging body of research related to school-based sexuality education so that it can be put into practice in the classroom.

http://www.futureofsexeducation.org/documents/josh-fose-standards-web.pdf

Envisioning the Future of Sex
Education: A Tool Kit for
States and Communities
The Future of Sex Education:
A Strategic Framework
(Executive Summary)

Select Comprehensive Sex
Education Programs

Evidence-Based Sex Education:
Compendiums and Programs

Lesson Plans
National Standards and
Assessment Tools

Erik Robelen of Education Week is preparing an article about how parents will react to these standards. See, New National Standards Address Sexuality Education for All Grades http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2012/01/from_guest_blogger_nirvi_shah.html  and New sex education standards released http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2017198343_apussexeducation.html

Parents must talk to their children about sex because the culture is talking to them. Cara Pallone of the Statesman Journal of Oregon has written an article about a Halloween incident which describes the cultural divide which currently exists in this culture. On the one hand, are the Sex and The City mavens who advocate sex with anything with a pulse. On the other hand, are those who espouse what is commonly described as traditional values and who advocate a bit more restraint. Pallone reports in the article, Condoms for Halloween Trick-Or-Treaters

Some teenage trick-or-treaters received condoms in their bags on Halloween night in Silverton.

For the couple who handed out the prophylactics, the act was a community service, health education and a message of pregnancy prevention.

For the father of one 14-year-old girl who got them, the act was an intrusion of family privacy and a violation of his right to raise his daughter as he wishes…..

Parents must be involved in the discussion of sex with their children and discuss THEIR values long before the culture has the chance to co-op the children. Hopefully incidents like this will prompt parents to have discussions about sex and values at an age appropriate time for their child. Parents have an absolute right to instill THEIR values into THEIR children as long as they are not abusive or neglectful.

In answer to the question of whether handing out condoms to kids on Halloween was OK?

Dr. Wilda says NO. This is a discussion for the child’s family.

Lisa Frederiksen has written the excellent article, 10 Tips for Talking to Teens About Sex,Drugs & Alcohol which was posted at the Partnership for A Drug-Free America

1. Talk early and talk often about sex. “Teens are thinking about sex from early adolescence and they’re very nervous about it,” explains Elizabeth Schroeder, EdD, MSW, Executive Director, Answer, a national sexuality education organization based at Rutgers University.  “They get a lot of misinformation about sex and what it’s supposed to be like. And as a result they think that if they take drugs, if they drink, that’s going to make them feel less nervous.”

Take this quiz to sharpen your talking skills.

2. Take a moment. What if your teen asks a question that shocks you? Dr. Schroeder suggests saying, “‘You know, that’s a great question.‘ or ‘I gotta tell you, I’m not sure if you’re being serious right now but I need a minute.‘” Then regain your composure and return to the conversation.

Learn how to handle personal questions from your teen like: “How old were you when you first had sex?” and “Have you ever used drugs?”

3. Be the source of accurate information. Beyond many school health classes, teens have lots of questions about drugs, pregnancy, condoms, abstinence and oral sex.

Find out what one mom discovered when she sat in on her daughter’s sex ed class.

4. Explain the consequences. Since teen brains aren’t wired yet for consequential thinking and impulse control, it’s important to have frank discussions with your teens about the ramifications of unprotected sex and the importance of using condoms to prevent the spread of STDs, HIV and unwanted pregnancy.

Find out how to guide your child toward healthy risks instead of dangerous ones.

5. Help your child figure out what’s right and wrong. Teens need — and want– limits.  When it comes to things like sexuality, drugs and alcohol, they want to know what the rules and consequences are.

6. Use teachable moments. Watch TV shows (like “16 and Pregnant,”  “Teen Mom,” “Jersey Shore” and “Greek”), movies, commercials, magazine ads and the news with your teen and ask “What did you think about that?” “What did you notice about how these characters interacted?”  “What did you think about the decisions they made?” For us, one of the best ways to talk about a number of heavy topics was to take a drive — that way we weren’t face-to-face.

7.  Explain yourself. Teens need to hear your rationale and why you feel the way you do. One approach is to talk about sex, drugs and alcohol in the context of your family’s values and beliefs.

One of the most challenging moments for me was when my daughters brought up the subject of intercourse.  I explained that my hope was they would not do it until they were in a committed, mutually caring relationship and that it would be a choice, not an attempt to hold onto a relationship and that it would be mutually satisfying.

8. Talk about “sexting.” Texting sexual images and messages is more prevalent than you may think. Read more.

9. Remember how you felt. I know when I started puberty I had many thoughts, feelings and questions that weren’t discussed in my family. Things like body changes, feelings of attraction, acne, weight gain, emotional confusion and the desire to push your parents away.  I wanted to help my daughters avoid that confusion.  I wanted them to understand early on that puberty is a hardwired, biological change that happens to all humans so they become interested in sex for the purposes of procreation. It’s natural to have impulses and feelings that are part and parcel to puberty. Teens don’t have control over these feelings and impulses, but they do have control over whether they act on them.

10. Persevere. Dr. Schroeder warns that your teenager may not want to talk — he or she may shrug and walk away. “Adolescents are supposed to behave in that way when inside what they’re really saying is ‘Keep talking to me about this. I need to know what you think. I’m trying to figure this out for myself as a teenager and if I don’t get messages from you, then I’m not going to know how to do this,’” she explains.

Parents are entitled to teach their values to their children. Increasingly, they must have “that” conversation earlier and earlier.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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