Abstinence Only Sex Education – Does it Work?

Does abstinence only sex education work? The United States government funded a nine -year, 7 million-dollar study, to discover whether abstinence only sex education classes are effective. Abstinence education encourages students to wait until marriage to have sex. The Bush administration financed the establishment of thousands of these programs across the United States and wanted to gauge their impact. The study found that students who participated in abstinence-only education programs were just as likely to engage in premarital sex as students who did not participate in such programs. This is not good news for the proponents of abstinence only education. It leaves one wondering what is the most effective way to teach teens about sexual behavior and its consequences. I decided to ask the ‘experts’, some high school students.

Most kids think that high school is way too late for sex education. Elementary school is when kids should be learning about abstinence only. According to the high school students I talked to, most sixteen year olds are already sexually active. Don’t expect them to listen to anyone teaching them about abstinence.

Most teens don’t like to be told what to do. They say if abstinence- only programs just ‘straight-out’ tell kids ‘don’t have sex’, they won’t listen. You have to provide teens with the facts and statistics. Tell them about the long-term problems that can result from having sex before marriage and then let them make the decision about whether or not to practice abstinence on their own.

A number of high school students I spoke to claimed the main problem is most teens don’t have a communicative relationship with their parents. So many parents are busy with work and social lives of their own, or they are divorced and don’t live nearby and so they don’t spend much time with their kids. Kids might learn the hazards of pre-martial sex if their parents were around enough to teach them. According to some high school students the government should be spending millions of dollars to teach adults how to parent, not on teaching teenagers how to stay abstinent.

One young woman wisely observed that teens are only doing what they see as socially acceptable. The problem lies with adults and the behavior they role model. They are showing the younger generation that it is okay to ‘sleep around.

I was reminded by many of the students I talked to that kids don’t like to be told what to do, especially by adults. Maybe if someone developed a sex education program that didn’t force a rulebook down teens’ throats they would listen and not just treat it as a joke. One girl told me she had decided to abstain from pre-martial sex but not because of a sex education program. All it took was hearing her mother’s story. Her mother had made mistakes when it came to sex that the girl certainly didn’t want to emulate.

One thoughtful young man said religion needs to play a greater role. He told me lots of kids believe they should be abstinent and save themselves for their honeymoon because of their religious values. He wished more religious groups would be outspoken about their support for abstinence.

Several kids told me lots of unprotected sex happens when teens are under the influence of alcohol and drugs. They are also a huge part of the problem.

The high school students I talked with had wise and insightful things to say about abstinence only education. Why spend 7 million dollars on a study when you’ll probably learn the most by just talking to the teens in your community?

Gun Safety: The New Topic In Education

Lately, there has been a lot of news about gun safety in schools throughout the U.S., whether it is with new laws allowing college students to bring a gun on campus, or having elementary children sign a voluntary pledge declaring that they will not bring a gun to their school. It seems as though this topic has become something that every school should address in some way to ensure that every student understands the dangers that weapons, such as guns, can potentially have.

No matter if you are for or against guns, I think we can all agree that it is important for all of our children to be aware of them and learn why bringing guns onto school grounds can be a hazard to themselves or to others. However, many people are not sure how to go about firearm safety education or if it is something that should even be taught in schools.

According to the most current data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3,184 children and teens died from gunfire in the United States in 2006- which was a 6 percent increase from the previous year. Of these deaths, 2,225 were homicides, 763 were suicides and 196 were due to an accident or undetermined circumstances and 17,451 children suffered non-fatal gun injuries.

With these rates and the increasing number of school shootings and accidents with youth and firearms that have occurred over the last few years, more and more schools across the country are providing their students with weapon safety classes. Most of the programs that are offered are similar to other education programs such as drug and alcohol education like D.A.R.E. or Sex Ed. A majority of the time, local law enforcement and fire crews come in and do activities with the students, such as demonstrations, videos, role playing, coloring and more.

“Gun education is not mandatory in any state as far as we know, but of course we think all schools should have it,” said Heidi Cifelli, manager of the National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle Gun Safe Program. “Gun education is the best way to save young lives.”

Right now, there are two programs that a majority of the schools who offer gun safety are using. The first is the Eddie Eagle Gun Safe Program which is put on by the National Rifle Association. This program provides K-3 students the basics of gun safety with the popular slogan. If you see a gun: Stop! Don’t Touch. Leave the area. Tell an Adult. The program provides students with a workbook with various activities, as well as small rewards for participating and completing the program. The program is taught by the school’s local police departments and has been used by schools nationwide since 1988.

The second program that schools have been using is the Straight Talk About Risks (STAR) program. This K-12 program is put on by Center to Prevent Handgun Violence and includes a number of videos and role playing activities to teach younger students what to do when they come across a gun or weapon of some sort, how to oppose peer pressure to play with guns, and how to differentiate real-life violence from television violence. For the older students, the program presents activities that teach coping skills, decision-making skills, refusal skills for resisting peer pressure, and conflict management skills.

No matter what your stance on guns are, or what program your school uses, it is important that our children get some form of firearm safety whether it is at school or at home. It is important to keep our children safe, and by educating them on firearm safety, hopefully we will see a decrease in gun related incidents or deaths.

Health Educator Jobs – Are You Interested in a Career in Health Education?

Health educators have the responsibility of encouraging individuals to live healthy lifestyles and to promote habits, which will prevent disease and other nutritional problems. They will commonly address such subjects as proper nutrition and the importance of exercise, in addition to safe sex and screening.

After assessing the needs of their clients, health education workers will then determine how best they should present the necessary information, which may be in a lecture, classroom, health screening, or video format, and they will usually promote ideas which are compatible with a government or their employers.

Health educators will then implement their plan which may require funding or grants, and after the completion of this program, they will then evaluate the success of it. In a hospital or medical care facility, they will usually work one on one with patients, educating them about their diagnoses and the steps that they should take to improve their lifestyle. These professionals will frequently help patients find resources which can help them with their illness, which can include brochures and classes, in addition to extracurricular educational programs.

In colleges and universities, they will work with students in order to prevent risk factors such as smoking, poor nutrition, and dangerous sexual activity. A health educator may also be found in secondary schools where they will teach about the dangers of alcohol and drug use, in addition to how to practice safe sex.

When working in the private sector, these individuals will create programs that will address the needs of employees in a firm, creating presentations which will fit around a worker’s schedule.

Most will work 40 hours a week, with some working on weekends and nights in order to provide public lectures to audiences regarding health and nutrition. They may also have to travel to different business work sites and colleges and other educational institutions in order to give presentations.

Most health educators will require a bachelor’s degree education although some may be able to get by with an associates degree. These professionals hold about 62,000 jobs in America, with 20% working for state and local governments. Employment should grow significantly over the next 10 years as governments and businesses increasingly recognize the value of preventative health.

In 2006, the middle 50th percentile of health educators made between $31,300 and $56,580, with those working in surgical hospitals earning the highest rate of pay.