Sex ed, stats, polls and politics
Democratic lawmakers probably see the press conference they're holding in Tallahassee tomorrow as a way to jump-start support for comprehensive sex education. We at The Gradebook see an opportunity to shamelessly promote a recent and relevant St. Petersburg Times education poll, and to throw in a recent and relevant federal study for context.
Sen. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, and Rep. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, D-Miami, will be joined by Planned Parenthood supporters, according to a press release sent out this afternoon. Under the bills they filed, the state would emphasize abstinence in school but also teach kids how to protect themselves from disease and pregnancy. Joining Deutch and Bendross-Mindingall will be two other lawmakers backing a separate bill, the Prevention First Act, which would expand access to birth control and provide emergency contraception to rape victims.
The Times poll, conducted last month and reported on in this story here, found the vast majority of Floridians - including most evangelical Christians - want schools to teach a sex-ed curriculum that goes beyond abstinence. The findings stand in contrast to the state's official position on sex ed, which is to stress abstinence.
The study, released by the Centers for Disease Control last week, found that one in four teenage girls aged 14 to 19 nationwide has a sexually transmitted disease. The rate for black girls in that age group: Nearly half.
- Ron Matus, state education reporter