New sex education standards released

Jan 9, 2012, 10:43 PM

AP Education Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) – Young elementary school students should use the proper names for body parts and, by the end of fifth grade, know that sexual orientation is “the romantic attraction of an individual to someone of the same gender or a different gender,” according to new sexual education guidelines released Monday by a coalition of health and education groups.

The non-binding recommendations to states and school districts seek to encourage age-appropriate discussions about sex, bullying and healthy relationships _ starting with a foundation even before second grade.

By presenting minimum standards that schools can use to formulate school curriculums for each age level, the groups hope that schools can build a sequential foundation that in the long term will better help teens as they grow into adults.

Experts say schools across America are inconsistent in how they address such sensitive topics.

Despite awareness of bullying, for example, Debra Hauser, president of Advocates for Youth, one of the groups involved with creating the standards, said some schools don’t address it _ or at least not in relation to sexual orientation or gender identity, which is where she said a lot of the bullying occurs.

“They should tackle it head on,” Hauser said.

Other organizations involved with the release include the American Association of Health Education, the American School Health Association, the National Education Association – Health Information Network, the Society of State Leaders of Health and Physical Education, and the Future of Sex Education Initiative. The latest suggestions were already drawing less enthusiastic reactions from some.

By the end of second grade, the guidelines say students should use the correct body part names for the male and female anatomy, and also understand that all living things reproduce and that all people have the right to not be touched if they don’t want to be. They also say young elementary school kids should be able to identity different kinds of family structures and explain why bullying and teasing are wrong.

Beyond lessons about puberty by the end of fifth grade, the guidelines say students should be able to define sexual harassment and abuse.

When they leave middle school, they should be able to differentiate between gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation, according to the guidelines. And the say they should be able to explain why a rape victim is not at fault, know about bullying and dating violence and describe the signs and impacts of sexually transmitted diseases.

It calls for those leaving eighth grade to also be able to evaluate the effectiveness of abstinence, condoms and other “safer sex methods” and know how emergency contraception works. Many of these issues the groups encouraged to be further addressed in high school as well.

It’s unclear how much influence the recommendations will have among educators.

Cora Collette Breuner, a pediatrics professor at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics committee on adolescence who was not involved in the creation of the standards, praised the approach of encouraging discussions at an early age.

“The data points that trying to cover this stuff when kids have already formulated their own opinions and biases by the time they’re in middle and high school, it’s too late,” Breuner said.

Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Education Abstinence Association, said she does not agree with the topics and goals of the standards. Like the anti-smoking campaign of the last few decades that has had success, abstinence should be the focus of such programs, she said.

“This should be a program about health, rather than agendas that have nothing to do with optimal sexual health decision-making,” Huber said. “Controversial topics are best reserved for conversations between parent and child, not in the classroom.”

Federal funding for abstinence-centered education funded by a Republican Congress in the late 1990s and later under President George W. Bush has largely gone by the wayside under the Obama administration, which has had a shift in focus to teen pregnancy prevention programs.

_____

Kimberly Hefling can be followed at
http://twitter.com/khefling

_____

National Sexuality Education Standards Core Content and Skills, K-12:
http://www.ashaweb.org/files/public/Sexuality%20Education/JOSH-FoSE-Standards.pdf

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

Associated Press

Virgin Orbit rocket launches 7 US defense satellites

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Virgin Orbit rocket carrying seven U.S. Defense Department satellites was launched from a special Boeing 747 flying off the Southern California coast and streaked toward space Friday night. The modified jumbo jet took off from Mojave Air and Space Port in the Mojave Desert and released the rocket over the […]
4 hours ago
Casper Byrd, right, of Bowling Green, sits with friends as they listen to various speakers share th...
Associated Press

Texas Supreme Court blocks order that resumed abortions

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas Supreme Court blocked a lower court order late Friday night that said clinics could continue performing abortions, just days after some doctors had resumed seeing patients after the fall of Roe v. Wade. It was not immediately clear whether Texas clinics that had resumed seeing patients this week would […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Today in History: July 2, Amelia Earhart disappears

Today in History Today is Saturday, July 2, the 183rd day of 2022. There are 182 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On July 2, 1937, aviator Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to make the first round-the-world flight along the equator. On this date: […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Baby’s father charged in slaying of stroller-pushing NYC mom

NEW YORK (AP) — The ex-boyfriend of a New York City woman shot dead Wednesday as she pushed their infant daughter in a stroller has been arrested and charged with killing her, police said Friday. Slain mother Azsia Johnson’s family identified suspect Isaac Argro as the baby’s father and said he routinely abused Johnson, beating […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Judge: Sheriff must post bail after anti-harassment order

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — The sheriff of Pierce County, Washington, was ordered to post $100,000 bail while he awaits trial on false-reporting charges related to his controversial confrontation last year with a Black newspaper carrier. Judge Jeffrey Jahns on Friday imposed the bail — 10 times the amount requested by prosecutors — during a hearing […]
1 day ago
FILE - Lights illuminate a coal mine at twilight, Jan. 13, 2022, in Kemmerer, Wyo. With the nearby ...
Associated Press

Court leaves dwindling paths for Biden’s climate mission

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 500 days into his presidency, Joe Biden’s hope for saving the Earth from the most devastating effects of climate change may not quite be dead. But it’s not far from it. A Supreme Court ruling Thursday not only limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate climate pollution by power […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
New sex education standards released