New York's Universal Comprehensive Sex Ed Mandate: The Radical Notion Our Kids Might Learn Facts
Monica has it good. A junior at Bard High School Early College on the Lower East Side, she has a twice-weekly health class this semester that includes one unit each on sex education and on HIV and AIDS. Two-hundred blocks north at Aerospace High School in the Bronx, eighteen-year-old Tamara has never been taught sex education, and it doesn’t appear on the syllabus for this semester’s health class. Somewhere in between, metaphorically anyway, eighteen-year-old Brandon at New Design High School has the option of choosing sex education as a one-week elective, alongside other options like sports, LGBTQ Alliance, and poetry. “It’s a shame you have to pick it,” Brandon said, because so many students don’t.
New York City’s universal standard for sex education, announced by schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott in a letter to middle school and high school principals on August 9, 2011, seeks to put an end to this loose patchwork of sex ed programs across the city.