Texas Poll: 90% Of Texans Support Sex Education
Survey Bolsters Support for Health Textbooks that Include Information on Family Planning and Disease Prevention
September 7, 2004
AUSTIN A new poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Texans support sex education for teens that includes information about family planning and disease prevention.
The survey from the August Texas Poll found that 90 percent of Texans favor teaching students age-appropriate, medically accurate information on abstinence, birth control and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV. Support rose from 86 percent on the same question in 2001.
The poll sends a clear message: new high school health textbooks now under consideration by the State Board of Education are inadequate. The new textbooks currently include no information about family planning and prevention of STDs except through abstinence.
“Publishers and a few State Board members mistakenly think sex education is controversial or somehow political,” said Susan Moffat, an Austin parent. “But parents know better. Parents know that making sure our kids have the most accurate and reliable information is the best protection we have for raising safe, healthy, responsible adults.”
Moffat spoke Tuesday with other supporters of the Protect Our Kids campaign. So far 62 community and health groups have signed on to the campaign, calling on publishers to add accurate information about family planning and disease prevention to their textbooks. The broad-based coalition includes groups like the Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Texas School Health Association, Texas State Teachers Association and National Coalition of 100 Black Women.
“We believe that parents need to be the foremost educators for their children around sexuality issues,” said Ana Yanez-Correa of Texas LULAC, which also supports the Protect Our Kids campaign. “But like the overwhelming majority of Texans, we also believe that students need reliable, accurate information to protect themselves from lifelong consequences like unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases like HIV.”
More than 100 clergy from across the state have also signed on to the campaign, said the Rev. Robert Karli, pastor of First English Lutheran Church in Austin.
“Teaching and promoting abstinence-only without providing all our young people with access to information about other means of protecting themselves is not only insufficient, it is irresponsible on our part as adults, parents, guardians and educators,” Rev. Karli said. “In so doing, we are putting our young people at risk.”
The last public hearing on the textbooks is set for Wednesday, September 8. The State Board of Education will vote in November on whether to approve the proposed new health textbooks.
Texas Poll (August 9-26, 2004) More than 80,000 Texas teenagers become pregnant every year. Do you favor or oppose teaching public school students with age-appropriate, medically accurate sex education that includes information on abstinence, birth control and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV?% (N=1,000) (Margin of error: + or 3%)
Depends what age: 2
Don’t know/no answer: 1
Contact: Texas Poll, 512-334-6640
BY THE NUMBERS:
90%: Percentage of Texans who support accurate information about sex education
62: Protect Our Kids campaign organizations that support accurate information about sex education
100+: Clergy who have signed on to support Protect Our Kids and accurate information about sex education
4: High school health textbooks submitted for adoption
0: High school health textbooks with information about sex education
278: People signed up to testify at 9/8/04 State Board textbook hearing (as of 9/2/04)