Loading...
The Heart Beat The Heart Beat blog

Students Dangerously Misled by Outdated Sex Ed Courses, Report Reveals

Sex, lies, & misinformation.

By Kristin Wong Sep 14, 2012 7:26PM

Some might argue that it's up to parents to teach their children about sex, but sex education is nothing new, and research shows that proper sex education actually delays teen sex. But according to a new report from the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), many schools are teaching sex education courses that are severely outdated.

The NYCLU's survey of 82 schools found that students are learning gender stereotypes, biases and in some cases, flat out inaccuracies.

In the NYCLU's "Birds, Bees and Bias: How Absent Sex Ed Standards Fail New York Students," they examined the textbooks, lesson plans and supplements teachers used to educate 540,000 New York students about sex. Executive director Donna Lieberman summed up the findings in a conference call on Wednesday:

"Too much is missing. Too much is inaccurate. There are far too many stereotypes and far too much bias."

When it comes to AIDS education, for example, 44 percent of schools teaching it are using scientifically inaccurate information. According to blog Albany Watch, one district even showed students a diagram that illustrated the timeline of HIV leading to a death sentence. It included an arrow pointing at a tombstone that read "RIP."

Students were also egregiously misinformed about safe sex. While 80 percent of districts taught some information about condoms, only one-third of them provided demonstrations, and some schools were teaching flat-out dangerous misinformation. They told students that condoms containing a certain type of spermicide could prevent the transmission of HIV. But, in actuality, the spermicide they cited (which is still on the market) makes it easier for the HIV virus to spread. According to the report:

"But for more than a decade, Nonoxynol-9 has been known not to prevent transmission, and to possibly increase HIV transmission in women. Misinformation of this nature is both medically inaccurate and potentially dangerous."

Furthermore, in one school, students were advised to use condoms only if they were having sex with multiple partners.

With blunders like this, why teach sex ed in the first place?

Less immediately dangerous but potentially harmful to social evolution and students' identity, the NYCLU also found that gender stereotypes were reinforced in much of the curricula. The materials included diagrams of male and female brains, illustrating that men almost exclusively think about sex while women are needy and jealous. While that may be a long-standing gender stereotype (and fodder for '90s standup material), it's generally untrue.

"Both the state guidance document and the national standards say high school student should learn about gender stereotypes and how stereotypes about gender roles can be limiting for men and women," the report reveals. Further, they add: "The national standards add that middle and high school students should learn about gender identity; gender expression; transgender people, sex stereotypes and gender non-conformity; and that biological sex, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation differ."

And that's another area where these schools have failed, and, I think it's safe to assume, schools across the nation are likely failing. There was relatively no information on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. For students questioning their sexuality or gender identity, sex ed could be a very informative source of guidance. Unfortunately, there's nothing offered.

The report also found that there were moral overtones to a lot of this information, and in some instances, shame-based messages. In some cases, schools taught that sex is only appropriate within the context of marriage. One textbook read:

"Waiting until marriage to have sex preserves traditional marriage … Actions that preserve traditional marriage preserve the family."

So, basically, the message is: Don't have sex before marriage or you're ruining your future family.

Related video: 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Relationship

To be honest, there's very little I remember from my junior high sex education, other than the giggling that ensued every time our uptight science teacher said the word "penis." And he knew we were giggling, too.  He didn't want to teach it any more than we wanted to hear him talk about it; we all just wanted to get the awkwardness over with. But the point is, perhaps it's time to take sex education a bit more seriously.

The Heart Beat talked to one California teacher who says that the problem isn't limited to New York.

 "I teach sex education in California public schools, juvenile hall and parent groups.  I’m credentialed and certified.  I have found two glaring errors in the most used sex-ed curriculum in the state."

The teacher, who prefers to be left unnamed, says one of the errors has to do with condom use.

"The materials that the students view in the [sex-ed] curriculum do not mention one vital step in proper condom usage: putting it on before sexual contact."

It may seem obvious, but it's still important, and apparently, it needs to be reinforced:

"Studies confirmed by the CDC show that 'Incorrect use more commonly entails a failure to use condoms throughout the entire sex act, from start (of sexual contact) to finish (after ejaculation).'"

Further, the source tells us that other parts of the curriculum leave "students to believe that condoms could be 100 percent effective for all STDs, which is medically inaccurate."

She adds that she's brought the errors to the attention of the Department of Education and Red Cross Positive Prevention, as well as the original author of the specific curriculum.

"Millions of students have been given biased inaccuracies--errors that led them in the direction of making unhealthy choices. Currently, one in four US teens have an STI (sexually transmitted infection). At a minimum, what they are taught in school should attempt to improve that figure, not make it worse."

The NYCLU is recommending that the state Education Department update its sex education regulations. They want to make sex ed more comprehensive.

"It's shocking what passes for sex ed in some New York classrooms," assistant advocacy director Johanna Miller, a co-author of the report, said in a statement. "Rigorous, binding statewide standards are essential to fix these rampant failures."

Dennis Tompkins, a spokesman for the Department of Education, added that the organization is reviewing the report.

 "Our goal is to make sure students get accurate, sound health information."

More love and sex on MSN Living:

Crazy Marriage Proposals
Weird Wild World of Modern Love
Most Romantic Date Destinations in America
25 Reasons Why Married Sex Is Better

 

Photo:  Paul Simcock/Getty Images

 

450Comments
Sep 24, 2012 6:31PM
avatar
If gay sex was taught ACCURATELY, then to quote the CDC, "**** sex is the riskiest of all sexual behaviors". Rips, **** tears, infection, not to mention the disease one can get from fecal matter...oh, and the anus acts like a sponge so any diseased ejaculate gets absorbed better into the receivers system. AND condoms break more often during **** sex...Is that being taught, probably not :(
Sep 24, 2012 6:15PM
avatar

1 in 4 teens has an STI, there is NO room for error or politics!  No one is getting an incurable disease from what is taught in math or history. In CA, the biased errors that are taught leave students thinking all they need is a condom to have consequence free sex. Condoms do little to prevent Herpes and HPV, two of the most common diseases kids are getting. Maybe if schools stopped promoting progressive liberal agendas (aka sex ed) schools could focus more on their actual job, education.

Sep 24, 2012 4:35PM
avatar

Teaching sex ed in schools at the very least should be accurate and factual. It should primarily be the responsibility of parents, but unfortunately we know that parents shirk this reaponsibility and i am ok with it being taught to an age appropriate demographic in schools but it should be accurate, not just "put a condom on it" which is what they usually get.

Sep 24, 2012 3:00AM
avatar
If the state can't teach it without lying they shouldn't teach it AT ALL!  Every tax paid state paper pusher involved with these errors should be fired!   Every school, parent, and student that was taught these errors should be sent a correction and an apology.   
avatar
Sex ed that they taught me in high school was practical, realistic and not blown out of the water

If anything have your students learn from a health clinic or ob/gyn
Sep 15, 2012 9:18PM
avatar

I have no problem with sex ed in class.   I have no problem teaching young people about the responsibilities of sex, so that it is a KNOWING CHOICE, not an..."oops" situation. 

 

I have a problem with folks who have a problem with the message that there are about 100 reasons why sex IS best left for marraige.  And by the way, those are also the same reasons why same-sex couples who CAN get married, should.  

Sep 15, 2012 8:15PM
avatar
"So, basically, the message is: don't have sex before marriage or you're ruining your future family." 
-You got it! If the aforementioned intoned was any attempt at facetiousness.  But I get the hedonistic suspicion that you're in cahoots with the spurious media, their ostentatious trends, and this brash new ignominious vanguard suited up to lead the new generation of "brave" explorers and pioneers to some (better) land of opportunity/QOL...better than what the founding fathers of this country had envisioned, which, as a fundamental guiding principle, included a strong (in every aspect; especially in terms of ethics) family structure. But who has those (principles + values)
anymore...Hedonists at both ends of the gender war who have so much creditability, right?
Sep 15, 2012 7:13PM
avatar
Sex is not something that should be taught in a classroom. Parents need to start acting like parents and teach Sex Ed to their own children. That means get some books and stop off at the doctors office and pick up some pamphlets on safe sex, STD's and pregnancy. Don't try to scare your child from sex by telling them they will get something and die, but give them accurate information and answer ALL questions. No matter how uncomfortable it may be, the more they understand the safer they will be about it. Not being honest with your kids about sex will confuse them and end up putting them at risk. Giving the sex talk is part of being a parent. Don't pawn your responsibilities off on someone else.
Report
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
Categories
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

love: friendships, dating, sex & marriage

  • 25 wedding photo bombs

    25 wedding photo bombs

    A wedding is an exceptionally special day. Sometimes, an opportune photo flub makes the occasion even more memorable. Here are 25 awesome wedding photo bombs.

  • He takes you on nondrinking dates.

    7 signs he’s getting serious about you

    Somewhere between the first few butterfly-inducing dates and the committed-for-life stage, there’s the period of wondering if you’re both on the same page about how serious you feel about a future together. If you’re not quite at the point of "that talk" but you’re looking for a few clues you’re heading in that direction, here are some signs he’s in it for the long haul as your relationship progresses.

  • 'Have you tried online dating?'

    15 things single people are tired of hearing

    What’s that sound? It’s white noise blocking out the well-meaning person proclaiming groundbreaking news about where you can meet someone, asking why you’re still single, or bugging you about when you’re getting married already. Don’t be that person. Here are 15 annoying things all single people don’t want to hear.

  • 1. New Hair Color

    11 things to avoid the week before your wedding

    With just a few days left before the big day, you already have a mile-long checklist of to-dos—now meet the don’ts! From impromptu skin treatments to all-night movie marathons, here are 11 things to avoid at all costs.

  • 'It’s a Wonderful Life'

    13 movie romances we can learn from

    A new study shows that watching and discussing romantic films can drastically reduce your chance of divorce. These flicks more than fit the bill.

  • About you and someone else

    10 things he’ll never forget you said

    These seemingly innocent phrases still have the power to wound… big time.

  • He or she is the first one you want to tell

    6 signs your marriage will last a lifetime

    Making "I do" last forever is one of the biggest challenges you'll ever face—and it's normal to worry about how you'll do it. But, if your connection involves any of these things, rest assured that you're in it for the long run.

  • Simone Becchetti, Getty Images // Simone Becchetti, Getty Images (Simone Becchetti, Getty Images)

    Can you stay together after a marital affair?

    Ultimately, as hard as it may seem at the beginning, a marital affair can be a turning point.

  • Biltmore/"Dream Wedding Recap"/Allan Zepeda/The Knot

    The Knot Dream Wedding recap

    Five months after the Boston Marathon bombing, The Knot reached out to Rebekah Gregory and Pete DiMartino and offered to throw them a dream wedding. They said yes, and on April 4, 2014, the two married at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Rebekah and Pete exchanged vows on the tennis lawn amidst the cherry tree blossoms and then celebrated with all of their friends and family at a beautiful reception tent right in front of the estate. All of the details were perfectly executed by a team of talented and generous wedding industry pros, including celebrity wedding planner Marcy Blum. Here, a few highlights from Rebekah and Pete's wedding day.

  • The dress code was too strict

    Top wedding guest complaints (and how to avoid them)

    Your wedding is your special day, but you want to keep your guests happy, too. Here are 20 typical wedding guest complaints and what you can do about them.

  • Wavebreakmedia Ltd, Getty Images // Wavebreakmedia Ltd, Getty Images (Wavebreakmedia Ltd, Getty Images)

    Is being a night owl keeping you single?

    Study finds that early birds get the long-term relationships.

  • © King County //  © King County (© King County)

    Washington state sewage plant invites weddings

    Receptions would take place near where raw sewage is processed.

buzzing now on msn living
Loading...
The Heart Beat is a Great Dating Blogs Winner The Heart Beat is a Great Dating Blogs Winner
relationship videos
editor's picks
Loading...
the heart beat
Loading...