Why The Education System Is Failing America | CNBC Marathon

Why The Education System Is Failing America | CNBC Marathon

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Sex education is an economic justice issue. We could have kids learn more in school. If we raise standards. We understood our curriculum and we were basically thrown a curve ball. I don't think the wages match sort of the

level of expectation of the position. Teachers literally have. The future of the country in front of them every day.

How would you solve this equation for most of us? It's as simple as following a series of familiar steps to get us to that answer. Now, remember this this is how students under Common Core were taught to solve the exact same question. First adopted in 2009, Common Core was an ambitious initiative to revolutionize the American education system. 41 states, the District of Columbia and

four territories signed up to participate. National leaders from Bill Gates to President Obama supported the idea of the common curriculum, and it cost an estimated $15.8 billion to implement. They thought standards were just too low in the US and that we could have kids learn more in school if we raise standards. Quite frankly, they didn't really trust the schools to do this on their own.

One of the most challenging aspects was we understood our curriculum and we were basically thrown a curve ball into what it was and had to really adopt new practices. But a couple of years after its launch, it was met with confusion and ridicule. Some of the math items that were mocked, I think, deserved to be mocked. Frankly, they were just very poor items. People deserve to know the truth, but it wasn't the truth. I was 15 in 1977 and I'll be 30 next week. I don't think that math checks out.

I don't get math. I went to school in the 2000s and we were taught Common Core. All of a sudden, parents were having to help their kids with math homework that they couldn't quite grasp because they hadn't been taught math that way. So how can the US fix our lagging school system? Can a common curriculum work? The Common Core is a set of standards specifically designed to better prepare American students for success in college and their workplace. These standards determine what a student should know and be able to do in language, arts and math from kindergarten through senior year of high. School when you should know algebra.

Should it be eighth grade? Should it be ninth grade? Should you be capable of doing Algebra one or Algebra two? When would it be appropriate to move into calculus, things of that nature? It's important to have a standard because you have to have a clear vision or goal of where you are going and what it is that you expect for your students. I think that if you go in without any expectations for your students, they themselves are going to be unclear. Right. What it is that they are showing up to school every single day to achieve.

Besides setting these benchmarks, Common Core also brought changes to how students were taught. There definitely was a shift, especially in just your thought and thinking about how you approach lesson plans and how you were going to make sure that you are disseminating the information in a way to your students that they can receive it. Do you know the Pythagorean theorem? Right? Like OC A squared plus B squared equals C squared. You can probably ask any adult and they can shoot that back to you. It was more about if you have that knowledge, if you understand what it is, where do you use that? How do you apply it? On the language arts side, there was much more of a focus on moving a little bit away from fiction to much more focus on the critical thinking using real live documents, like studying Hamilton papers or something like that to really understand what was going on at that time.

The Revolution. There were two main reasons why the initiative received so much support in its early years. The first was fear that America was lagging behind other countries in academic performance. In 2009, the US showed middling performance in reading and science and scored below average in mathematics compared to the average score among OECD countries.

The idea was we're going to hold schools responsible for teaching to a higher level and then test kids to see whether or not they've attained that higher level. The second reason was that the Common Core allowed different states to accurately compare their academic performances by having a uniform standard for education. And while one state might now say We're doing a great job of achieving our standards, but the standards are very low and another state is saying, you know, we're not doing as well as we'd like to be doing and achieving our standards, but they're very high. This makes for a confusing conversation. With these intentions in mind to nonprofit groups, the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association developed the Standards Achieve a nonprofit education reform group, as well as various teachers unions, including the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, joined in to help the process.

So when they got together in 2009, what they did first is they had a memorandum of understanding that they had state sign onto and it basically said, okay, we're going to go write these standards. You don't have to accept them now, but can you at least say you'll be interested in looking at them and might accept them down the road if you find them to meet your needs? And over 45 states signed on to that memorandum of understanding. We made sure that we were having K-12 teachers talk to freshman sophomore professors to make sure we knew what post-secondary was expecting and making sure we built on those expectations from K through 12.

Since Common Core was a state led initiative, the federal government did not play a major role in developing the standards. However, it did play a role in promoting them. The Obama administration's Race to the Top fund offered $4.35 billion in grants for states agreeing to adopt any college and career ready standards.

We will end what has become a race to the bottom in our schools and instead spur a race to the top by encouraging better standards and assessments. And this is an area where we are being outpaced by other nations. It's not that their kids are any smarter than ours. It's that they are being smarter about how to educate their children. In fact, we were hitting bottom in 2009 2010, in the Great Recession, and so states were desperate for money. The Obama administration put together a recovery package for the states, but one of the requirements was they had to have adopted college and career readiness standards, which is a code word for Common Core.

This was seen as Obama administration support for Common Core, and that's not an unfair accusation. Facing minimal resistance, it seemed as though Common Core would be a guaranteed success. We had a meeting in two. Coulson tend to have all the entities sign off on the adoption of the Common Core. We had have unanimous across the state agreement because so many Kentucky teachers had been involved in giving feedback and writing the standards.

But a couple of years later, things took a turn as the efficacy of the new standard came into question. It also didn't help that the Common Core became the subject of ridicule by parents and the media unfamiliar with the concepts taught under the new standard. A lot of parents were getting homework that came home that they just didn't understand. They thought it was bizarre.

I went through Common Core with my kids and I remember looking at my daughter and going, I'm not entirely clear why what you're doing, so I'm just going to show you long division the way I know it. It wasn't until a decade later that federally funded research was conducted to find out what the impact of Common Core had on students performance over time. The results were disappointing. The studies range from tiny negative effects to tiny positive effects and a lot of neutral effects in the middle. So the one thing we would be pretty certain of is that Common Core did not have a dramatic impact on student achievement in the United States.

Then we raised standards. Yes, we did. Did we raise expectations on assessments? Yes, we did. Have we improved student performance? No. There are numerous theories as to why the Common Core has failed to improve student performance.

But the most popular theory is that the standards took away the control from teachers who always have a better understanding of what their students need. The idea that you could dictate curriculum to a teacher or dictate instruction to a teacher from kind of remote control from up above and say, well, here, here it is, that you're going to teach is simply unrealistic. Kids are not cogs in a machine. So we say something is going to happen in third grade. But realistically, for some kids it happened in second grade. And for some kids it's not going to

happen until fifth grade. The Common Core made that really hard. It really drew a huge spotlight that all kids aren't going to learn things in the same path and really started to mark that as success versus failure. Another theory is that those who wrote the standards didn't take into account the financial difficulties of students across America. Studies have shown time after time that children who grow up poor are more likely to have poorer academic achievement and drop out of high school. Roughly 10.5 million children lived in poverty in

the US. A lot of children's needs are not being met within the four walls of their school building and I think that we see that that deficit is even larger for students from low income families or we have students of color. As a country. We just have not committed to the underlying problem of student performance, and that is poverty.

Today, Common Core has fallen out of favor. More than 20 of the initial 45 states have either repealed, revised or edited. The standards for states including Arizona, Oklahoma, Indiana and South Carolina have entirely withdrawn from the initiative. Former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos went as far as to call it a disaster, concluding that the Common Core is dead at the federal level. I think you are seeing today what kids experience in curriculum kind of is a little bit more blended.

It's not the holistic approach that maybe Common Core introduced when we kind of swung completely to that continuum and parents would look at their children's, you know, third grade homework and go, I don't get it. I don't think Common Core as such has a future, honestly. Now it was a movement at a particular time. It reached its heyday when we had widespread adoption. And as I said then there was a retreat from that adoption. Many of the states have held on substantively to elements of that Common Core, but we've moved on.

A few states have also developed a new educational standard as a replacement. On February 12, 2020, Florida officially adopted the benchmarks for excellent student thinking or the best standards as a replacement for the Common Core. While New York has developed its own the next generation learning standards that are expected to be implemented by September 2022. Some, however, argue that none of the newer standards would have been possible without the work of Common Core. The standards that the states have come up with where they claimed they were different from Common Core, they're really not that much different. In fact, some states just basically took the Common Core label off and then slapped a new label on the package.

So the Common Core is not going to go anywhere. I feel confident in saying that. What I think is probably going to happen is the continued evolution of the implementation of the Common Core. So the standards themselves will probably continue to. To exist and be anchors for our practice.

What both supporters and the opponents of the original standard do agree on is that Common Core was an initiative doomed to fail from the start, mainly due to its politicalization. There were people who oppose standardized testing. They tend to be on the political left. They didn't like the Common Core test.

It was this left right coalition that really doomed Common Core. Politically, it wasn't necessarily evidence coming out that Common Core was effective or not effective. Once it became politicized, then all bets were off. States that had adopted it began to retreat. People began to relabel their standards, even if they were essentially the same standards. They didn't want the label Common Core, because that had become politicized and identified with a political party or a political leader.

And the thing began to fall apart. While the Biden administration has not yet explicitly commented on the matter. Experts believe that the federal government will continue to not involve themselves in the future of educational standards. I don't think you're going to see the Biden administration enthusiastically embrace Common.

Core, but experts assure that education in the United States will continue to improve as long as there are those who believe in the importance of education. The future of education is extraordinary, and it's extraordinarily important because what we need to recognize is that education is the asset our community is built upon. It's the thing that we invest in to ensure community growth. It matters whether they learn it or they don't. And if they're not learning it as an individual student or as a subgroup of students, then we have an obligation as the adults in America to do what we can to bring them up to the standard, because the standard is ultimately what they need to survive and thrive in this economy, which is ultimately what we as a society and as a nation need if we're going to survive and thrive as a democracy and as a 21st century international economy.

So your answer is really good at negative point six. You guys are rock stars and how are you doing out there? Okay. Yeah. Tell me what you're thinking. I think I like it. I just don't. I'm a little bit confused with the equation part, and I almost.

Everyone remembers that one teacher who had a transformative impact on their life, the teacher that made school exciting and interesting and that genuinely cared. Teacher quality is the number one school related factor to student achievement. So no stress on that this weekend, Anna. It's going to be beautiful weather, so go enjoy it. In the meantime, you all take good care of yourselves. All right. I'm going to let you go a couple of minutes early today.

This is an extremely important profession. Teachers literally have the future of the country in front of them every day. But the teaching profession is in turmoil. The wage gap between teachers and others with the same level of education and experience is nearly 20% and growing. I think I'd be remiss to say I haven't had that moment where I was like, I could probably double my salary if I left and went elsewhere.

I've never been really tempted enough to actually pull the trigger and I really love what I do. And and there is no other job like this. In some areas of the country, up to a quarter of teachers leave the profession annually, and about one fifth of the workforce has to resort to a second job.

The pandemic is likely making things worse. The exodus of some of our best and brightest teachers is that they realize they can't sustain a life that they had dreamed of. So why are teachers paid so little, and is there anything that can be done to change that? Hey, guys. How was everybody at home? I say everybody's finally here. It's all good. This is Kate Diaz. She's a math and statistics teacher at Manchester High School in Connecticut.

She's been working here her entire career, nearly 21 years. I came to teaching late in the game. I wasn't necessarily somebody who went through high school in college thinking, I'm going to be a teacher. I was substitute teaching. I was trying to kind of navigate those roads and that was where my aha moment was.

I was like, This is perfect. Show me one of your first. My first OC. Let's see. This is fun.

This is my first probably the first contract. Yeah, this is the first. So, you know, 20 years ago, if you had gone through five, you know, a bachelor's and a masters, you're still entering it, 36,000.

We have what we call like a slow burn in teaching. So there's this gradual kind of incremental increase that we are we contractually will negotiate and then we hit what we call the max. Ten years in, I was probably at about 60,000 now, 21 years in, I'm about 90,000. That's considered high in the US. For example, in Mississippi, the lowest paying state, a teacher with 20 years of experience makes around $50,000. The average starting salary is just over $40,000.

That's not a living wage in many parts of the country. I don't think the wages match sort of the level of expectation of the position. If you look at a teacher and you say to them, we want you to be a therapist, we want you to be a social worker, we want you to be a teacher.

Obviously, we want you to have some safety training and then you layer in the joys of the pandemic and learning to teach online and to teach remotely. But don't forget that we do have the joy of standardized testing that we're going to layer on top of that, and then we're going to evaluate how you're successfully navigating all of the challenges facing the world while you're teaching the kid to read. Since the 1990s, the average inflation adjusted teacher salaries have remained largely stagnant and even declined in the majority of states.

That and the increasing stressful environment have resulted in low retention rates, shortages and national teacher strikes around the country. In 2018, 375,000 school employees walked out to demand increased education funding and better pay. The full effects of the pandemic remain to be seen, although experts say it's not looking good. The movement red for Ed was all about saying We need to pay attention to who the teachers are and to what they're doing and to what their compensation is. And it gave a national platform to the question of do we value education? The American public school system as we know it today was invented about 100 years ago. Before that, it was mostly men teaching quite quickly.

It was reconfigured into, quote unquote, women's work. And one of the big reasons was, is that you could save money for the taxpayer. And so this kind of set the bedrock, the tone in a sense that this was relatively low paid work.

In the 1960s, teaching paid women 15 percentage points better than if they had chosen another field. But at that time, options were limited. That's not the case anymore. Still, teaching is overwhelmingly a female profession and has become more so over time. Today, more than three quarters of teachers are females.

A lot of it boils. Down to. The status of the line of work. It was this idea that, gosh, you know, you don't have to be that smart. It's not as complex, as difficult as, you know, being an accountant, working with numbers, being a dentist, working with teeth. Sylvia Allegretto has been studying something called the teacher pay penalty or teacher wage gap for nearly 20 years.

Allegretto and her partner found that the weekly wage penalty for teachers has gotten worse over time. Today, men make about 27% less and women make about 16% less than if they had chosen another profession with the same level of education and experience. You have to wonder how are you going to attract students into the teaching profession? An international comparison with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD, found that teachers in the US make nearly 60% less than that of similarly educated professionals, lowest across all OECD countries. The claims of a teacher pay gap are that teachers earn less than similarly educated private sector workers. What this ignores, which in every other context we know very well, is there. Within any given educational category, there is a lot of differentiation in pay.

We all know today that people who graduate from a top college with a bachelor's degree in engineering or another STEM field there earn a great deal in the private sector. We also know that people who graduate with a liberal arts. Degree aren't going to earn. Quite so much.

There's not one answer to this question. There's not a national answer to this question because. Salary levels differ and markets differ. As an example, in Florida there schools that train engineers and there are a lot of jobs that actually the salary levels there for engineers are lower. Salaries in Massachusetts for teachers, as an example, are two or three times higher than salaries in Arizona. In most localities, we find teachers

significantly under the family living wage. The profession has been known to have great benefits, according to Biggs, twice as generous as for the average private sector worker. But studies show that teachers only receive their pension if they stay in the profession for 25 years or more, and only a quarter reached a break even point on total contribution and interest. Weekly wages actually really matter because you can't pay your rent or pay for your food from your benefits.

So you have to find alternative income. Mobility is another source of contention. Unless a teacher moves to a higher paying state, wages only increase 1 to 2% per year. In a private industry, if you're doing really well, you'll be eligible for a raise or you're going to shift companies. We end up sort of stuck in the profession, and the only way to kind of substantially increase your salary is to leave the profession.

Raising teacher quality is the number one driver to improve student achievement, and the US is falling behind international counterparts. It's one of our highest ideals that we're going to make the adequate investments in all of public education so that each and every kid in this country is able to get a good and decent education. And we're falling short of those promises. But increasing teacher salaries seem unlikely at the moment. Even at times when education spending increased, it still didn't impact salaries.

On top of that, there are a lot of teachers out there, about three and a half million. In fact. It's been hard to tackle teacher compensation right now because they're so low to start with that there's always this feeling that any solution somebody loses. And so how do you get out of this zero sum winners and losers kind of situation to. Close the API teacher compensation gap, Andrew Biggs estimates that it would cost roughly $29 Billion. The CARES Act included $13.2 Billion in direct funding for K to 12 public education, but that was less than 2% of total public education funding.

An additional relief from Congress is uncertain at the moment. Karen works with school districts around the country to figure out how to reallocate available money to maximize results. She says one viable solution is creating leadership roles in Washington, DC. For example, teachers can make upward $130,000.

The way they funded that was at first. They got outside support, grant support and and help to fund the transition to a new salary structure. Then they transitioned to a new salary structure where they paid the teachers that did the most and worked in the toughest assignments significantly more, and they freed it up by reducing staff. Also in the salary structures, it means probably giving less money for every additional year and linking the raises instead to changing roles. Experience matters, but experience matters if it's leading to good teaching.

Washington, DC is just one of the over 13,500 school districts in the US. While the Red for Ed movement resulted in 15 states increasing salaries. A complete overhaul of pay structure for the profession, such as the one in Washington, D.C., could take a long time, money and resistance.

People get into teaching really do get into it for some very altruistic notions. For this to be a sustainable profession, we have to build a model that's financially sustainable for people. Otherwise what will be is a revolving door profession where people come in, hang out as long as they can, and then leave to go make money. And that's not what we want. We know that the best teachers come from experience, they come from commitment, and they come from the willingness to stay and really learn about the communities. Learn their curriculum, learn

their craft. Sex ed in the US is kind of a joke. Take, for example, this clip from Tina Fey's mean.

Girls don't have sex because you will get pregnant and die. With the majority of U.S. students reporting they've had sex before graduating high school, the type of sex ed they receive is a big deal for themselves, personally and for the economy. Direct medical costs of unintended pregnancy in the United States totaled at least $5.5 billion in 2018, a rise from the 2011 estimate of $4.6 billion.

But there's been a debate spanning decades about what information to include in the curriculum. We believe that sex education is an economic justice issue for the ability of giving people the determination over their own decision making as it relates to families and sexual activity and behavior. As a society becomes more diverse, it's ever more difficult to have any sort of consensus on a subject like sex and sexuality because it's so deeply connected to our ideas about ourselves as human beings. So the politics of this are complicated. Most young people are getting something. They're just not getting very much sex education. There is no national or federal mandate around sex education. And so what kids are taught in schools varies

by state, by county, even by school. Only in sex ed is the sex ed teacher enjoined to actually change how the kids behave out of school. And this may be an impossible burden.

So what does sex education mean for the economy and what happens when some students are left behind? Sex education didn't become a part of the public school system until the early 20th century. Why do babies have fathers? There was a panic in American cities about sexually transmitted diseases. Middle and upper middle class white men were patronizing prostitutes, which has always been a conduit for STDs. Infected prostitutes are being legally removed for cure and rehabilitation. And we're going home and infecting their wives.

There was a rise in reported cases of venereal disease among young people. During the First World War, as more and more soldiers got infected with STDs that the federal government started to sponsor efforts at sex ed. Preventing the spread of sexually transmitted infections is one common goal of sex ed. Another is preventing unintended pregnancies, especially among teenagers.

There are two general approaches to adolescent sex education. One is abstinence only until marriage, which is also called sexual risk avoidance. This curriculum teaches that abstaining from sex is the expected behavior for teenagers and frequently excludes information about contraception options and other safe sex practices. My name is Maryanne Mosaddeq and I'm the president and CEO of a national nonprofit called Ascend.

And we support the sexual risk avoidance education. When you say the word abstinence only, it seems that it would be inferring that abstinence is the only thing we talk about in a sexual risk avoidance program. It's way more than that. It's very holistic and talks about lots of broader topics that impact a person's life. The second curriculum is called Comprehensive Sex Education, which provides students with information about abstinence as well as safer sex practices such as contraception use and ways to reduce risk for contracting an STI.

These programs may also include discussions of miscarriages, abortions, sexual orientation and gender identity. Those are the extremes. Most programs fall someplace in the middle. The middle ground curriculum is usually called abstinence plus. These programs typically stress abstinence as the best way to prevent pregnancy and STI transmission, while also including information about contraception and condom use.

I think we all agree that very young adolescents ought not to be engaging in behaviors that could get them pregnant or cause them to have an STD. I think that really the divide is on. How do you get there? Do you get there by withholding critical information or do you get there by providing the information and developing the skills that young people are going to need to stay out of risky situations? The government doesn't set any requirements for sexual health education policy unless a program is receiving federal funding. That means each state sets its own policies, which leads to inconsistent curricula across the country. I did a study that showed that even among Republicans, there was support for teaching practically every topic in sex education when we've had controversy in this country over sex education.

The truth is, it has really been caused by a very small vocal minority. And I think that's created the perception that there is more debate and dissent about sex education than there actually is in communities across the country. Despite this narrowing of public opinion, sex education policy is still inconsistent across the US, with some states not requiring schools to teach any sex education at all. 32 states and Washington, D.C. require students to receive some kind of sex education, according to the sex ed advocacy group six.

33 states require the curricula to emphasize abstinence whenever sex or HIV education is taught, and 16 states require instruction on contraception. Only 19 states require that lesson plans be medically accurate. What we discovered was that most kids can get access to that basic information about condoms and so forth from a variety of sources. I mean, you see it on TV.

Mtv shows like 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom potentially contributed to lower teen birth rates, according to a 2014 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Because I'm pregnant. The researchers concluded that these shows led to a 5.7% reduction in teen births between 2009 and 2010. Sex education has some big public health goals, and if they aren't achieved, they can have serious economic consequences.

Teenagers who unintentionally become pregnant tend to receive less education and are less likely to have a spouse with whom they can share in the financial support of raising a child. Society as a whole loses big time because we lose the productivity. Babies born to teens are much more susceptible to being low birth weight and having other health conditions that bear down on the health care system. Raise our health care costs. A lot of those costs get funded through public dollars when it comes to teen pregnancy. It is a little bit challenging to figure out economic impacts because all too often the young people who experience teen pregnancy are already very low income. So the fact that they remain low income may be more the result of the fact that it's really hard to change economic quintiles in this country versus really being associated with being an early parent.

The high cost of teen pregnancy may have pushed Mississippi into legislating sex education requirements in 2000. Nine teen births in Mississippi cost taxpayers nearly $155 million, according to a report from the Mississippi Economic Policy Center. The report attributes these costs to lower wages among teen parents, higher incarceration rates for the children of teen parents, and increased foster care costs. In 2011, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour signed a law that required all school districts to adopt a sex education curriculum. Family planning allows parents to control the timing of when they have children, how many children they have, which allows them to be able to prioritize how to pursue their education and career.

There have been a number of studies on birth control itself, which shows that any $1 investment in family planning ends up saving 4 to $7 in terms of preventing unintended pregnancy on the other end. That certainly saves money in terms of the economy. Absolutely. Sexual delay is so important. Three out of five children who are living in poverty live in families that are headed by unwed mothers. And we know the impact of single parents in terms of the benefits, the entitlement programs that we have in place for them, and that that all impacts the economy. Access to birth control options such as the pill is correlated with higher earnings potential for women. Many women with access to the pill have

lower wages in their twenties as they pursue more education. But then their income grows more rapidly in their thirties and forties, compared to women who did not have access to the pill. Preventing the spread of sexually transmitted infections also has economic impact. The CDC estimates that in 2018, about one in five people in the U.S.

had an STI with half of new STI cases among people aged 15 to 24. The CDC estimates STIs cost the US nearly $16 billion in health care costs alone. Care for 15 to 24 year olds made up an estimated 26% of that total cost. Testing and treating for sexually transmitted infections does incur a huge cost through both public insurance, private insurance, individual costs, and, of course, the life long costs of some of the viral STDs.

For a particular individual who may be having to go to the doctor more by more treatments throughout their life. It can be a really high cost. There is no federal policy in the United States that governs sex education. Rather, the way that the federal government is involved in sex education is by appropriating limited funding for certain kinds of approaches. The US government began funding abstinence only programs in the 1980s during the Reagan administration as fear of HIV and AIDS spread throughout the country. Frequently, these programs were faith based. The amount of money the federal government puts into sex education really expanded as part of welfare reform in 1996.

And since then there has been some funding, a couple hundred million dollars that has really gone back and forth. The funding for abstinence only education has varied with the electoral cycle. So during the Obama era it went down. During the Trump era, it went back up. In 2015, the federal government provided about $55 million. In 2021, that number was up to 110 million.

The Obama administration was the first to try to establish some evidence based metrics to federal funding. They also created the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program in order to strengthen federal funding for more medically accurate evidence based programs. But they did not discontinue the sexual risk avoidance programs. The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, which was established in 2010, is a national evidence based grant program to develop and evaluate new approaches to prevent unintended pregnancies and STIs among adolescents. The program has been funded to the tune of about $100 million each year through fiscal year 2021. In July 2021, the House passed a bill that

would allocate $130 million to the program that would last through September 2022. As of December 2021, that bill has not passed the Senate. The federal government also provides funds through the Competitive Personal Responsibility Education Program.

This funding stream supports a variety of evidence based programs that focus on young people ages 10 to 19 who are homeless in or aging out of foster care, living with HIV or AIDS, victims of human trafficking, or living in areas with high adolescent birth rates. The program's goals are to prevent pregnancy and STIs. By emphasizing abstinence and contraception, it typically receives roughly 70 to $75 Million in funding per year. Both abstinence only and comprehensive sex ed. Proponents claim victory in that the teen birthrate in the U.S. has fallen to a new low every year since 2009.

The American approach is always emphasize the activity. After all, that's what a rate is, right? An STD rate or a pregnancy rate. That's a collective measure, a collective outcome. And the European approach has been much more focused on the individual, helping each individual develop what the sex ed is call a healthy sexual life. Now, that's really difficult in a diverse society because healthy is an extremely loaded and evaluated term.

And what's healthy to one set of individuals or communities may not be healthy to another. I hope to see in the world is really universal, comprehensive sex education being offered. We are working with the federal government and members of Congress to advance new legislation, the Real Education and Access for Healthy Youth Act that speaks directly to those needs. I also believe that it means that we are doing the right thing by talking about sex education from this bigger goal perspective than just preventing teenage pregnancy. It's really important that we reinforce those good habits that the teens are making right now by helping them with refusal skills, self-regulation skills, helping them with goal setting. Putting an eye on their future personal agency is extremely important, and we're only there to provide the medical facts and to also begin to instill some critical thinking.

2022-08-25 23:34

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