STRENGTHENING PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Texas has one of the highest teen birthrates in the nation. Yet state policy makers remain stubbornly committed to promoting a failed abstinence-only approach to sex education. In 2004, for example, the State Board of Education adopted new health textbooks that included no medically accurate information about contraception and STD prevention. Research by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund has also shown that most schools in the state employ strict abstinence-only-until-marriage policies on sex education.
But change is happening. While abstinence-only remains the predominant approach in Texas schools, there has been a surge in recent years of schools districts who have decided to include at least basic information about contraception.
TFN works with parents, students and other public health advocates to help them improve sex education in our state. If you are interested in joining the fight for better sex education in Texas:
- Sign the "Education Works" petition calling on lawmakers to improve state policy
- Join TFN's "SHAC initiative" to work for responsible sex education in your local school district
Read more about what is happening in Texas schools in these two reports produced by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund:
2011: Sex Education in Texas Public Schools: Progress in the Lone Star State
This report demonstrates that a quiet revolution is underway in Texas school districts. While abstinence-only instruction remains the predominant approach to sex education in the state, this new data shows a noteworthy surge in the percentage of districts going beyond a strict abstinence-only message and including basic information about contraception. In the 2010-11 school year, just over 25 percent of districts reported using abstinence-plus sex education programs – up from just 3.6 percent of districts in 2007-08.
2009: Just Say Don't Know: Sexuality Education in Texas Public Schools
This exhaustive study of classroom instruction on sex education in Texas public schools -- the first of its kind -- conclusively demonstrates that Texas is failing families and students when it comes to sex education. Classrooms are perpetuating a “conspiracy of silence” that robs young people of the reliable information they need to make responsible life decisions. Even worse, the information students do receive about sexuality and health is often grossly distorted or simply wrong.
Read the report: Just Say Don't Know: Sexuality Education in Texas Public Schools