one page summary

timer Asked: Oct 22nd, 2018
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Please read the article in the attached below and write one page summary.

Let me know which is the idea for agree or disagree sex education in school.

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Should We Be Teaching Sex Education or Sexual Abstinence? THE speaker at the microphone was outraged, and determined to speak his mind: Abstinence until marriage was the only sexeducation that the Westbrook, Maine, school district needed to teach. Tell students to wait until marriage, he said. Tell them that only abstinence is a guarantee against unwanted pregnancies. Tell them that only abstinence can keep them safe from sexually transmitted diseases. But don't tell students about contraceptives. Otherwise, he argued, "You are challenging our children to give up on virginity." That was hardly the message intended by the Westbrook school committee as it considered revamping the eighth-grade health curriculum this spring. But critics of the new sex education lessons believed they saw moral anarchy at work, and they voiced that opinion stridently, so much so that officials had to turn off the microphone and escort one protester from the building. "It early on got a little bit crazy," recalls committee chairwoman Colleen Hilton. Several speakers "got quite loud, quite difficult. We actually had to recess one meeting several times." Sex education has always been fraught with controversy. But the discord in Westbrook is noteworthy because of the vocal support for an abstinence-only curriculum approach to sex education that's reshaped the national debate over the issue--and, to an extent often overlooked, has influenced education policy at all levels of government. Finding the Devil On its face, abstinence education isn't controversial. Who is going to argue against telling kids to hold off on sexual activity? Public opinion polls show Americans overwhelmingly in favor of schools delivering that message. And lawmakers are listening. At least 27 states now have policies stressing abstinence in sex education courses, and 14 more mandate that abstinence be taught. But the devil is in the details, leading to an occasionally bruising policy debate over whether the abstinence message should be accompanied by other information on human sexuality. A powerful coalition of conservative politicians and their religious allies is lobbying for a very basic sex ed program: promote chastity, and limit the discussion about contraceptives to talk of their failure rates. Mixed Signals? Advocates for this model are sharply critical of "comprehensive" sex education, arguing that discussions about contraception, sexual orientation, or other controversial topics can encourage sexual experimentation by sending students mixed signals about what's expected of them. Matters might well have remained simmering at the local level--an occasional headache for school boards unlucky enough to be dragged into a controversial community debate--but for a little-publicized provision of the 1996 welfare reform bill. Slipped into the legislation by conservative supporters, the provision created a $50-million-a-year grant program--with the money available to schools that agreed to limit their sex education to a strict abstinence-untilmarriage message. A movement--federally funded--was born. It received a tremendous boost by the election of President George W. Bush, who vowed to "elevate abstinence education from an afterthought to an urgent goal." By 2006, Bush had expanded the grant program's budget to $206 million annually, and the total federal investment in abstinence-only education since 1998 had topped $1 billion. There's an old political adage that money is policy. States and local school districts soon found a way to put federal funds to work, and the abstinence-only movement began to gain momentum. According to the Gutt-macher Institute, a nonprofit organization dealing with reproductive health issues, 35% of school districts today with sex education policies limit instruction to an abstinence-until-marriage message, with little or no discussion of contraception. Such success--by an educational philosophy that has come under attack for being ideologically driven, its effectiveness unsupported by research, and guilty of providing inaccurate public health information to children--is both demoralizing and infuriating to many education and public health organizations that stand in opposition. Nearly half of students engage in sexual activity before the age of 19, they argue. How can schools be asked to leave students ill prepared to protect themselves once they're sexually active? "Abstinence-only programs keep teens in the dark and do nothing to help parents protect their children's health," says Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards. "We must support education programs … that include information about abstinence as well as contraception, healthy communication, responsible decision making, and prevention of sexually transmitted infections." So why has the abstinence movement done so Well? Money is an attractive incentive. There also is a sizable conservative and religious segment of the population with a voice in local communities, state government, and Congress. Yet even those factors may not fully explain what's happening. Why Tempted? Perhaps a piece of the puzzle rests with people like Joneen Krauth-Mackenzie and Kevin Riley. Krauth-Mackenzie is executive director of the WAIT (Why Am I Tempted?) Training Organization, a Denver-based nonprofit organization that has expanded its abstinence-focused training and curricula across the nation. When she talks to people, they hear a thoughtful, professional argument about why sex education policies need to take a more holistic view of what students are going through-their need to understand what a healthy relationship is like, how to deal with social pressures that influence sexual behavior, the ways that alcohol and drugs can affect decision making, and that there is nothing wrong with deciding they're just not ready for sex. Krauth-Mackenzie questions why a strong message to abstain until marriage comes across as parochial or old-fashioned. If you think about it, she says, most people would agree that sex within marriage is the healthiest and most emotionally satisfying--and is society's ideal. So why not make that the standard? Any Delay is Good "We might not get kids to marriage," she admits. But any delay in sexual activity could influence "the number of partners they have, cause them to be more selective in their partners, cause them to use contraceptives well, and they know, the risk they're putting themselves in." It's an articulate, well-argued message, and it plays well in the heartland of America.. It certainly won over Kevin Riley, superintendent of the Nebraska's Gretna Public Schools, who was uncomfortable with the comprehensive approach to sexeducation. As he puts it, teaching students about "their plumbing" wasn't making a dent in the community's rate of teen pregnancies or instances of sexually transmitted diseases. Listening to WAIT representatives, he says, school officials and community members were swayed by arguments that teaching students about contraceptives sent out mixed signals. "We would never do that with alcohol and drugs," Riley says. "We wouldn't say, 'We know you drink, so use a designated driver. We know you use drugs, so be careful.' In regards to sexuality, we have said, 'Use the condom.' That's the basis of sexuality education in our society." Stories like this explain why the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), in its last annual report, said that the year "has been an uphill battle" in the fight against abstinence-only curricula. But public policy in America is a lot like a pendulum, and eventually, a pendulum swings back toward the center. Cover Contraception Sometimes forgotten in the policy debate is that evidence suggests most Americans want a balanced sex educationcurriculum. An abstinence message? Yes. But, according to the Guttmacher Institute, 94% of parents also say that "sexeducation should cover contraception." Much the same message ultimately swayed the Westbrook school committee when it voted on the new middle schoolcurriculum. While abstinence-only advocates won headlines, and the town was flooded with leaflets and fliers with misleading allegations about the curriculum's message, the majority of townspeople--at public meetings, by e-mail, in personal conversations--told committee members that they "were heading in the right direction," Hilton says. The revamped curriculum will emphasize abstinence but will provide age-appropriate information about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases. To maintain its momentum, the abstinence-only movement needs to convince more Americans that abstinence-focused curricula will help delay teen sexual activity and limit unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. But there may be a problem: There's a paucity of research showing that the abstinence-only message works. Abstinence supporters will strenuously argue otherwise, producing a stack of reports, documents, and monographs six feet tall attesting to the effectiveness of their approach. And that material has muddied the waters considerably for policymakers seeking good data to guide them. One respected researcher in the field, Douglas Kirby at ETR Associates, a California-based nonprofit research group, has looked at all the reports. In reality, he says, there is very little research that looks specifically at abstinence-only programs and uses appropriate methodology, such as control groups, to ensure reliable conclusions about their effectiveness. Of these, the findings are mixed. One strong study of an abstinence-only program revealed that it did delay the initiation of sex among preteens, but that program did not meet the federal guidelines for abstinence only programs; it simply did not talk about condoms. Three other good studies of other abstinence-only programs did not demonstrate a delay in sex. Thus, it cannot be said definitively that an abstinence-only approach works. Where the research does give clear direction, however, is on the effectiveness of an abstinence message coupled with age-appropriate, good information about contraception and other public health issues related to sexuality, he says. These programs typically reduce sexual activity and/or increase condom or other contraceptive use. "It's absolutely clear that talking about abstinence but also encouraging contraception use is not inconsistent. It's not a message that confuses [students]." More Research For now, the Bush Administration is willing to hold its policy course--and wait. Wade Horn, assistant secretary for children and families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), says more research is needed before drawing conclusions--and all will become clear in time. "More work needs to be done." But is time on the side of the abstinence movement? The results of this year's congressional races could shake things up, particularly as there are signs within Congress of percolating discontent with the policies of the administration. In 2004, U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) released a report that blasted some of the nation's most successful abstinence curricula for containing medical inaccuracies about Contraceptives and the risks of sexual activity, perpetuating old-fashioned stereotypes about gender roles, and blurring the lines between religious and scientific concepts. Shaken, Not Stirred Several years ago, lawmakers attempted to shake up federal policy with an unsuccessful bid to set aside $100 million to support schools that took the best of abstinence and comprehensive sex ed programs. And this summer, the House and Senate appropriations committees rejected a White House plan to increase abstinence-only funds by another $22 million for fiscal 2007, although opponents of the program suggest that budget constraints rather than policy concerns played a role. Some opposition to the federal policy has been seen at the state level. Maine and California rejected federal abstinence funds targeted to school-based programs because restrictions on the use of grant money would have led schools to violate state mandates for comprehensive sex education. A few years ago, Pennsylvania also walked away from grant money after state officials could find no evidence that local abstinence programs were working. In New Mexico, state officials this year have been locked in a dispute with HHS, which has objected to state plans to accept abstinence funds for middle school use but rely on comprehensive sex ed programs at the high schools. That's not to say that the abstinence-only movement has reached its nadir. No crystal ball sees that clearly. Indeed, recent months have seen both Kentucky and Wisconsin approve new rules encouraging abstinence education. Of course, both left open plenty of wiggle room for schools wishing to pursue a more comprehensive approach, It's likely that the policy debate over sex ed will rage for decades to come. Political Edge That debate would lose some of its political edge if former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher has anything to say about it. Two years ago, he launched an effort to bring together more than two dozen major organizations involved in the debate--from Planned Parenthood to the National Abstinence Clearinghouse, and from SIECUS to the Traditional Values Coalition--to seek out common ground on the issues of sexual health and public policy, including sex education. Yet Satcher admits the effort has been challenging. Although the group released an interim report in May, nearly two years have gone by without resolution on such seemingly simple tasks as defining the terms "sexual abstinence" or "responsible sexual behavior." Along the way, seven organizations dropped out for a variety of reasons, including frustration with the group's lack of progress. But Satcher intends to keep fighting. It's telling, he says, that people can't even agree on how to define the words used in this policy debate and little wonder that organizations and policymakers are talking past one another. That alone makes continued dialogue worth the time and trouble. "I'm a firm believer when people sit in a room together and listen to one another, you get some understanding," Satcher says. "You can reach some areas of agreement." What's interesting to Kristin Luke, author of When Sex Comes to School, is the debate itself. In her book, she notes that teenage sexual behavior is influenced by so many forces outside the schools, yet parents and policymakers store so much faith in the effectiveness of "a classroom period to a semester's worth of classes." Perhaps, Luke suggests, one of the more important lessons that sex ed could offer students is an understanding of "just how deeply conflicted Americans are about sex and gender roles, marriage, and other factors, and [how] the fight about sexeducation is both a moral and political one, and .this kind of conservative-liberal debate is driving political elections, not just the debate over sex education." As with any controversial issue, the secret to dealing with any debate over sex education--and the pros and cons of an abstinence-based program--is good communications with parents and community. Know What They Want Make sure that information about existing policies and proposals for change are readily available, say veterans of past sex ed battles. Then take the pulse of your community. Make sure you understand where public sentiment lies. That might take some work. When the Westbrook, Maine, school board prepared to revise its eighth-grade health curriculum, a group of local citizens--bolstered by protesters from across the state--dominated public meetings on the issue and handed out leaflets throughout town, says school committee chairwoman Colleen Hilton. But a closer look at public opinion indicated very strong support for a balanced curriculum. Letting people voice their opinions also is essential. In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a curriculum committee recommended new materials for the middle-school curriculum that raised parental concerns, says school board member Darin Daby. Two committees, consisting of school and community members, took a second look, and a few revisions eliminated most of-the concerns. "I was impressed with the process," Daby says. "We had two opposing camps who were being quite vocal from both ends of the spectrum. In talking to people, I found a vast majority were right in the middle." These debates, he added, "can end up being about semantics." Ask Parents "It's no different than any controversial issue," says Jim Bogden of the National Association of State Boards of Education. "I think the way out of the conundrum is greater parental involvement. Schools would benefit if they administered surveys to parents," and it's never a mistake to involve parents--as well as community public health officials--in any review of sex ed curricula. That doesn't mean consensus and harmony are guaranteed. And when opinion is divided, school officials would do well to pull together the evidence to make their case. That may include research drawn from public health organizations and governmental sources. More telling may be the needs of local students, says Brenda Z. Greene, NSBA's director of school health programs. A student survey and calls to local public health agencies can provide valuable information about teen attitudes about sexual behavior and the rates of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases among community teens. That's information that can change the tone of any debate, she says. "Some people think of sex education and think about whether to teach about the plumbing. How to do it. But communities also can look at the flip side: How do we help young people develop and know how to have healthy relationships? How do we help them lower the pregnancy rate? How do we protect them from sexual abuse? Turning the debate into one about helping students with existing problems could be another way of approaching the issue." If the issue becomes too contentious for the community, then a school board simply needs to make the best decision it can, Greene says. But, she notes, nothing says that a school board can't table an issue for further review or approve the less-objectionable parts of a sex ed curriculum while working on greater consensus down the line. "Some board members take the heat and say, 'Vote me out of office, but this is for the kids,'" she says. "Others will say, 'We have bigger battles to fight. We need the support of all our community to raise the tax revenues that pay our way.' It's not as if what a school board votes today must be the last word. You can always revisit the issue." ~~~~~~~~ By Del Stover, From American School Board Journal ...
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School: University of Maryland


Running head: SEX EDUCATION


Sex Education
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Article Summary

The question posed about the article is whether we should be teaching about sex
education or sexual abstinence. According to the speaker, abstinence before marriage is the only
topic that should be taught, and teachers should refrain from teachings about contraceptive. Sexeducation has faced a lot of controversies especially in Westbrook School that is in support for
abstinence-only programs. Unlike sex education, abstinence education has not suffered a lot of
debates as many will not argue against refraining children from having sex at an early age. There
has been mixed reaction about abstinence-only programs, the advocates for this say that teaching
sex education can encourage sex experimentation among students. Some conservative supporters
came up with a legis...

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