78% Californians Believe Comprehensive Sex Education Programs Should Be Taught in Public Schools, Survey Says
Seventy-eight percent of California adults believe the state's public schools should teach comprehensive sex education programs that include information on abstinence, condoms and contraception, while 17% support abstinence-only programs, according to a survey released on Thursday by the San Francisco-based Public Policy Institute of California, a nonpartisan think tank, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Yollin, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/5). California public schools that teach sex education courses currently are required beginning in the seventh grade to teach students about contraception and abstinence. They also are required to provide students with information on HIV/AIDS at least once during middle school and once during high school. The survey found that 36% percent of California adults believe public schools are performing inadequately when it comes to sex education, 33% said the schools are doing "just enough," and 9% said they are doing more than is required to educate students on the issues. Sixty-eight percent of adults want local school districts to have jurisdiction over information included in sex education programs, while 9% favor a federally mandated program, according to the study. Mark Baldassare, PPIC's statewide survey director, said support for sex education and access to birth control crossed racial, political and religious lines across the state. "I think that California is pretty unique in that we have differences on fiscal issues, but not on social issues. There tends to be some broad consensus on issues" such as sex education programs, he said. The survey, which was conducted by telephone between Nov. 30 and Dec. 13, included 2,504 California adults, was conducted in five languages and has a sampling error rate of plus or minus two percentage points (Williams, AP/San Jose Mercury News, 1/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.