The teen pregnancy rate in America is almost twice as high as those of England and Canada, and eight times as high as those of Japan and the Netherlands, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Clearly, something is rotten in the state of sex education of U.S. kids. However, the question of whether to educate children about sex in the classroom or at home is as controversial as ever.
Part of Curriculum
The advocates of sex education in school believe that the school should incorporate sex education in its regular curriculum, just as it teaches students not to use drugs or that smoking is bad for them. These people believe that the best way to tackle teen pregnancy in the country is to use the most effective, in their opinion, weapon -- free education for all.
None of Government's Business
The government in the United States has traditionally kept out of the private lives of individuals. Accordingly, the opponents of sex education in school argue that this time, too, it should abstain from interfering in what is the most private part of a person's life. Persons who put forward this argument, however, do not say that sex education should not be taught at all; rather they believe that it is parents' responsibility to educate their kids about sex.
The United States, though a secular country, is known for the strong faith of its religious communities. Many devote Christians, Jews, Muslims and practitioners of other religions feel uneasy about educating children about sex at all. Instead, they believe that teen pregnancy will come down of itself when teens begin to value such religious virtues as abstinence and humility.
Sexually-transmitted diseases, or STDs, are as important an issue as teen pregnancy. Although the United States does not score as highly on this social ill as some Eastern European and African countries, it is still possible to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, syphilis and other STDs. However, the society is as polarised on this issue as on teen pregnancy. Indeed, it is often considered together in the same category as teen pregnancy education in school. Accordingly, the same arguments for and against sex education in school apply to education in schools regarding STDs.
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