The overwhelming majority of Texas schools use scare tactics and spread myths in place of teaching basic sex and health information that students can use to protect themselves and others, according to a report released Wednesday by watchdog group Texas Freedom Network.
TFN's two-year study of education materials from 990 Texas school districts showed that about 94 percent of public schools use abstinence-only programs that usually pass moral judgments while either downplaying or ignoring contraception and health screenings.
Two percent ignore sex education, according to the report, written by David Wiley, professor of health education at Texas State University, and Kelly Wilson, assistant professor of health education at Texas State.
They put much of the blame on school administrators' fear of controversy and religious groups that teach that sex is shameful.
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Texas continues to have one of the nation's highest teen pregnancy rates despite receiving more federal abstinence funding than any other state.
"I thought I was no longer capable of being surprised by the ignorance among our students," Wiley wrote in the report. "Then last year a sincere male student asked aloud, 'What is my risk for cervical cancer?’ Clearly, ignorance surrounding sexuality and health is a problem among young people today."
Wiley and Wilson analyzed thousands of pages of curriculum materials, district policies and other documents that were obtained from nearly all the state’s 1,031 public school districts through requests under the Texas Public Information Act.
Findings of the report,Just Say Don’t Know: Sexuality Education in Public Schools, include:
Most Texas students receive no instruction about human sexuality apart from the promotion of sexual abstinence.
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