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STRENGTHENING PUBLIC SCHOOLS

 

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Sex Education in Texas Public Schools: Progress in the Lone Star State

 

Executive Summary

A new report from the Texas Freedom Education Fund reveals that there is a quiet revolution underway in Texas school districts. While abstinence-only instruction remains the predominant approach to sex education in the state, an analysis of new data from the Texas Education Agency shows a noteworthy surge in the percentage of districts going beyond a strict abstinence-only message and including basic information about contraception. Just over 25 percent of districts in the 2010-11 school year reported using abstinence-plus sex education programs — up from just 3.6 percent of districts in 2007-08.

This shift away from abstinence-only programs and toward sex education that includes medically accurate information about contraception is eye-opening, since it does not represent a top-down policy change initiated by lawmakers. Rather, the growth in more responsible approaches to sex education is a result of changes enacted by individual communities and schools districts, as well as improvements made to existing abstinence programs. This report demonstrates the significant progress courageous health educators, parents and school board members have made over the last three years as well as how much work remains to be done.