New U.S. Sex Ed Guidelines Focus More on Ideology than Health

New sex ed guidelines issued by U.S. health and education groups are being criticized for being too focused on “safe sex” and homosexuality rather than on insuring healthy sexual development in children.

Fox News is reporting that the guidelines call for the establishment of minimum standards for sex ed curriculums to be used in schools across the country, making them more uniform. They were devised by groups that promote comprehensive or “safe sex” sex education, such as Advocates for Youth, the American Association of Health Education, the American School Health Association, the National Education Association – Health Information Network, the Society of State Leaders of Health and Physical Education, and the Future of Sex Education Initiative.

The recommendations, which are non-binding, call for the introduction of age-appropriate sex ed for children as young as six. By the second grade, children should be able to use correct names for body parts for the male and female anatomy and understand that everyone has the right not to be touched if they do not want to. They also call for young elementary school students to be able to identify different kinds of family structures and to explain why bullying and teasing are wrong.

By the end of the fifth grade, children should be taught that sexual orientation is “the romantic attraction of an individual to someone of the same gender or a different gender” and be able to define sexual harassment and abuse. They should also be able to explain why a rape victim is not at fault and describe the symptoms and impact of sexually transmitted diseases.

By the eighth grade, they should be able to evaluate the effectiveness of abstinence, condoms, and other “safer sex methods” and know how emergency contraception works.

The problem with the guidelines is that they were composed by groups that espouse a liberal ideology about sex education to the exclusion of organizations that represent other views, such as those that  promote abstinence education. For instance, the liberal Advocates for Youth supports a radical bill introduced in November, 2011 by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) that calls for the recognition that children have a right to sexual health information. The American School Health Association is in league with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Information Network (GLSEN), a gay activist organization, and the National Education Association (NEA) has long been under-fire for its radical politics.

Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Education Abstinence Association, is not impressed with the goals of the new standards, which she believes are too focused on “safe sex” rather than on abstinence education.

“This should be a program about health, rather than agendas that have nothing to do with optimal sexual health decision-making,” Huber said. “Controversial topics are best reserved for conversations between parent and child, not in the classroom.”

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