AUSTIN (KXAN) — In a state with one of the highest teen birth rates in the nation, a new study by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund shows that Texas high schools are failing when it comes to teaching students about sex education.
The Conspiracy of Silence: Sexuality Education in Public Schools report found eight in 10 school districts in Texas either don’t teach high school students about birth control or offer no sex education at all. According to the report, 16 percent of Texas schools teach abstinence courses instead.
Eight years after releasing an initial report on sex education in public schools, the Texas Freedom Network is pushing lawmakers to change the curriculum.
“We’re here today asking our lawmakers to pass legislation requiring that sex education in Texas public schools include information on condoms and birth control, be medically accurate, and help our students make responsible decisions about their sexual health and futures,” says Kathy Miller, Texas Freedom Network President.
Ruth Johnson agrees that schools should do more. “I feel very strongly that there should be more education about sex in schools. Period. I think there should be contraception education,” said Johnson.
State Rep. Mary González, D-Clint, filed bill HB 1547, which would require sex education based on the students’ ages. If the bill passes it would mandate evidence-based and medically accurate information on contraception options, including abstinence.
“Our students deserve far better than the myths and misinformation they learn in many sex education classes,” says Rep. González. “For years polling has shown that the vast majority of Texans support teaching sex education that includes information on birth control.
Next year, the State Board of Education will begin the process for revising curriculum standards. After that, they will approve them and textbook publishers can begin submitting their books after that. Right now there are no laws regarding sex education standards in Texas public schools.