Sex Ed Advocacy - COVID-19 Updates

Background

State Board of Education revisions to sex education standards are continuing through the COVID-19 crisis, so your input is more important than ever.

  • A workgroup has drafted language for the Reproductive and Sexual Health Education stand. You can read the draft language here.  We have significant concerns with this language, which focuses almost exclusively on abstinence, provides minimal information on contraception with a focus on failure rates, and does not provide critical information around consent, inclusivity, prevention of sexually transmitted infections, or other key topics. The Texas Campaign is working with partners to prepare feedback on the workgroup draft. We encourage stakeholders who are interested in reviewing the workgroup language to reach out by emailing jen@txcampaign.org.
  • The SBOE had been scheduled to review the workgroup draft at a hearing in April. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the hearing on the health curriculum standards will be held on June 29-July 2. They have yet to announce whether the meeting will be in-person or virtual. Either way, we expect to see innovative opportunities for providing input such as video uploads, as well as a chance to offer comments in writing. We encourage everyone – professional organizations, parents, youth, clinicians, researchers, social workers, students, teachers, advocates, and anyone with an interest in sex education to consider offering input at this hearing. We will provide more information as soon as it is made available.

State Board of Education (SBOE) Sex Education Advocacy Toolkit

Background

In 2019 and 2020, the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) will revise the curriculum standards that guide health education classes, including sex ed, in Texas classrooms. This is the first time that these standards, known as the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) have been updated since the 1990s. Current guidelines heavily stress abstinence until marriage and do not require districts to provide any information on topics such as contraception, STI prevention, consent, or other important areas. 

Research shows that evidence-based, comprehensive sex education doesn’t make youth any more likely to become sexually active – it just gives them critical information they need to make healthy decisions. Topics like consent and refusal, healthy relationships, prevention of sexually transmitted infections, contraception, and basic biology – presented in a way that is both medically accurate and respective of the diverse backgrounds of the more than five million students in Texas. 

It’s critical that Texans make their voices heard as these important curriculum revisions get underway.

What can you do?

Advocate and mobilize: 

  • Reach out to your SBOE member and let them know that you support evidence-based sex education that goes beyond just abstinence. Use this tool to find your SBOE member. You can learn more about each SBOE trustee here.
  • Mobilize your school group or community. Spread the word about the upcoming revisions. 
  • Help shape the narrative! Consider writing an op-ed or reaching out to the education reporter at your local newspaper. 
  • Apply to serve on the workgroups that will help shape the TEKS revisions. 
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