Legislators must be involved in educating the ‘whole child’
Regarding the editorial questioning legislating curriculum, New York State regulations mandates sequential health education for students in all grades. The New York State Learning Standards for Health Education have not been updated since 1996 and they are vague and outdated.
Many public-school districts across New York provide sex education that is medically inaccurate, incomplete, or biased – and some schools do not provide it at all. When basic information about contraception, sexuality, gender identity or intimate partner violence are left in the shadows – or worse, left to “locker room talk” – we disadvantage our youth and deprive them of a core base of information that helps to prepare them for a healthy adulthood. New York students deserve better – health education is not an extra it’s a mandate, let’s help our kids get an “A” in life!
Removing the stigma around discussions of sexuality and gender helps to combat discrimination, bullying and harassment. Public health experts and researchers agree – comprehensive sex education empowers and protects young people and fosters healthy development including social emotional learning.
Recent health surveys show that even across political party lines, parents overwhelmingly support comprehensive sex education in schools. Comprehensive sex education supports young people to make healthy decisions and have healthy relationships and is critical to the well-being and positive educational outcomes for young people.
In addition, the New York State Department of Education has limited health education capacity. It is critical that legislators support policies and funding that ensure we educate the “whole child.”
Assunta Ventresca, RN, MSN