The issue of sex education in public schools has been a hot topic among policy makers and stakeholders alike. The importance of including sex education in school curriculum cannot be overemphasized if the rates of teenage pregnancies, drop outs and the risks of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are increasing. Firstly, little evidence exists to show that the efforts of abstinence-only education programs have been effective in addressing the issues of teenage pregnancies as well as STIs. (Stanger-Hall & Hall, 2011). Studies suggest that one in every two high school students has had sex because teens today are becoming sexually active fast. In another study conducted by the Centre for Disease Control, it was revealed that 47 percent of high school students have had sex at least once while 14 percent have had four sexual partners or more. Additionally, sixty-three percent had used condoms during the last sexual intercourse while only fourteen percent had used birth control pills. This fact brings forth the second reason why sex education is very important (Lindberg & Maddow-Zimet, 2012). Teenage pregnancy has morphed into an epidemic and this has become a cause of public concern. During the 1980’s teenage pregnancy had reached a point of being viewed as a national threat. This viewpoint contradicts the fact that teenage birthrates had declined in the 1970’s and 1980’s (Stanger-Hall & Hall, 2011). Nonetheless, teenage pregnancy rates have continued to rise over the years and coupled with the fact that teenagers today have easy access to the pornographic material. Comprehensive sex education in public schools is, therefore, the only way to encourage abstinence and reduce teenage pregnancies and STI’s.
This proposal is directed at policymakers, teachers and parents. The main characteristic of policy makers is that their official positions make them influential. They are legislators and ministers in the government, heads of NGO’s dealing with teenage development and health practitioners. If policy makers build a strong case in support of comprehensive sex education in public schools, then the chances of such a policy being implemented are very high. In other words, they are the decision makers (Kraft, Kulkarni, Hsia, Jamieson & Warner, 2012). However, if they don’t put forward a strong case, teenagers are at risk of teenage pregnancies and STI’s. The second characteristic of this audience is that it is analytic. For such a policy to be implemented, the audience must show its analytical prowess by studying current and past trends regarding sex education. This analytical characteristic will give a clear understanding of the current state of the issue at hand.
A strong command of the related field, clear presentation of facts, concepts and theories as well as realistic discussions and appreciation of different perspectives are very important (Kraft, Kulkarni, Hsia, Jamieson & Warner, 2012). Parents should also exhibit this characteristic as it is their duty to explain their children about their religious as well as behavioral and moral expectations, and this may involve the presentation of facts. The third characteristic of the target audience is that it is collaborative. There is no denying the fact that introducing comprehensive sex education in public schools is a cumbersome undertaking due to numerous objections such a policy will receive. As a result policymakers, teachers and parents must all collaborate to present a strong case in support of sex education. This may involve regular meetings, constant communication and exchange of materials. Collaboration is the only way to make decision makers understand that teenage pregnancy, consequent dropping out and STIs are real problems and have to be dealt with in the strongest of terms.
The one research question of this proposal is whether comprehensive sex education will reduce teenage pregnancies and prevent sexually transmitted infections among teenagers. As mentioned earlier, there is very little evidence to show that teaching and encouraging abstinence reduces or prevents teenage pregnancies and STIs. Therefore, there is no harm in trying to implement comprehensive sex education in public schools. This research question will attempt to find out the quality of information teenagers have been getting from the abstinence-only programs regarding their sexuality and if such information has played a role in the rise of teenage pregnancies. Additionally, it will try to uncover the relationship between comprehensive sex education and abstinence and discover which of the two encourages ignorance.
One of the major stakeholders in sex education in schools is the parent. It is important to note that parents play the primary role in the sex education of children. To communicate a clear and consistent message in the delivery of sex education, parents must be involved in every step of the way as they are the ones that have a strong influence on their children. Parents can also ask to sit in and be allowed to participate actively by providing feedback during sex education programs provided by schools. While the importance of sex education cannot be overemphasized enough, some parents may decide to opt their children out of such programs and talks due to their right. Therefore, it shows that policy makers cannot afford to overlook the parents’ roles in sex education.
The first source to be used in this research will the article “Abstinence-Only Education and Teen Pregnancy Rates: Why We Need Comprehensive Sex Education in the U.S” (Stanger-Hall & Hall, 2011). This paper examines the role played by abstinence-only education programs and its contribution to pregnancy rates.Additionally, it details the reasons why comprehensive sex education is better than abstinence-only education programs.Another source will be from “Sex Education and Adolescent Sexual Behavior: Do Community Characteristics Matter?” (Kraft, Kulkarni, Hsia, Jamieson & Warner, 2012). This paper looks at the roles of community’s and stakeholders’ characteristics, successful implementation of sex education and promotion of adolescent sexual behavior. Lastly, the research will use information from the paper “Consequences of Sex Education on Teen and Young Adult Sexual Behaviors and Outcomes” by Lindberg and Maddow-Zimet (2012), where they use recent national representative data to examine whether comprehensive sex education is associated with sexual health behaviors and its resulting outcomes.