By Gene Davis, DENVER DAILY NEWS
Colorado Public Schools should consider teaching age-appropriate comprehensive sex education earlier on in the educational process while also evaluating school policy on the testing of sexually transmitted diseases on a school’s campus, according to a series of recommendations from NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado.
Meanwhile, one pro-life activist says schools teaching comprehensive sex education is similar to teaching people how to safely use heroin — it’s kind of ridiculous and not very effective.
The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) is in the process of revising all 13 of its content model standards. Content model standards are the broad explanations of what is taught and why and have been going through the revision process for the past two years.
NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado gave CDE some feedback with a letter that was signed by almost 600 people. The pro-life group spoke positively of a subcommittee’s efforts to incorporate House Bill 07-1292 — which requires sex-ed classes to be science, not abstinence, based — into future curriculum in Colorado schools.
“We commend the Department of Education for its efforts to produce content standards that promote educational attainment and economic self-sufficiency by, among other things, recognizing the critical role of comprehensive health and wellness in a child’s development,” said a statement from NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado Executive Director Emilie Ailts.
NARAL, however, believes the standards can still be improved. For one, the pro-choice group wants schools to emphasize real-life advantages of delaying sexual activity, reducing sexual partners and using contraceptives. Schools should also initiate concepts that are “consistent with children’s cognitive development abilities and reflective of the social, economic, cultural, ethnic, gender, and religious diversity found with Colorado’s classrooms,” said Ailts.
Meanwhile, family nurse practitioner and Colorado Right to Life Board Member Lolita Hanks says comprehensive sex education shouldn’t be taught in the “morally neutral vacuum” of public schools. Her personal experiences have led to believe that sex education should be taught at home.
“I went to public school and I was taught comprehensive sex education and I learned their lesson well; I was pregnant at 15, had an abortion at 15, had a kid at 16 and another one at 19,” she said.
Hanks went on to express doubts about some of the health benefits of contraception. She said that women with a family history of blood clots could exponentially increase their chances of getting blood clots all over their body by taking estrogen pills like birth control.
“That’s pretty disturbing,” she said.
A CDE spokesman said he wasn’t sure if the state education system had read NARAL’s letter yet. CDE is welcoming feedback as they revise their content model standards, though, and the spokesman said they would look at and consider any ideas that are offered.
Sex education is currently not required for students in Colorado. Gov. Bill Ritter in May 2007 signed a bill banning abstinence-only education. President Barack Obama earlier this year eliminated federal funding of abstinence-only sex education for the next fiscal year.
Distributed by Colorado Capitol Reporters