Time Magazine takes extensive look at Mississippi’s sex ed effort

September 24, 2012

Education, Health Care, Politics

Mississippi’s new school sex education effort to reverse a teen pregnancy rate that exceeds that of all other states is highlighted in a lengthy story in the current issue of Time Magazine.

The magazine notes the mixed nature of the curriculum, with some districts opting to “abstinence only” instruction often led by local pastors and an “abstinence-plus” instruction that that fail to qualify as “evidence-based.”

Time writes:

… A new law aims to improve sex education in Mississippi—or at the very least make every public school district in Mississippi start teaching it. The law lets districts choose from several curricula and decide which grades should teach sex education. For now, all of the districts in Mississippi appear to be focusing on middle and high school. About half of U.S. states mandate some sort of sex education.

The report further infers that the hesitance of Mississippi lawmakers and policy setters to support more comprehensive sex education is at odds with the wishes of parents of school age children in the state.

Here Times notes:

More Mississippi parents than policy makers appear to support abstinence-plus sex education than abstinence-only. In a 2011 survey of 3,600 Mississippi public school parents commissioned by the Center for Mississippi Health Policy, most parents said they wanted a comprehensive sex education curriculum. Although 90 percent of parents said schools should talk about the benefits of abstaining from sex, 78 percent said they wanted instruction on birth control methods; two-thirds said health instructors should tell teenagers where to obtain contraceptives; and more than half said they would prefer condom demonstrations in class.

Read the complete story:

 

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