Associated Press (07.07.09) - Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Texas will no longer require high school students to take a
health class before graduating, causing worry that some may
miss lessons on sex education, alcohol awareness, and basic
nutrition. The decision makes Texas one of the few states
lacking the requirement, officials said.
Education Commissioner Robert Scott recently announced the
change in a letter to school districts, a move he made in
order to comply with a new law that increases the number of
elective courses required to graduate from three-and-a-half to
six. Officials wanted to give students greater freedom in
The requirement of two semesters of fine arts was maintained,
while one semester of physical education and two of a
technology class were cut from the recommended high school
program in addition to the health class.
"It's a major statement about where we're going," said Diana
Everett, executive director of the Texas Association for
Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance.
"It runs the gamut, from tobacco use, substance use and abuse,
nutrition and physical activity levels, unplanned pregnancies,
sexually transmitted diseases, injuries," said Susan Woolley,
executive director of the American School Health Association.
"It covers a wide area and it also covers being informed
health consumers - all of these things should be covered in a
good curriculum somewhere between first grade and high
Independently, school districts may still require health
education. Additionally, the decision was announced too late
for many districts to decide whether to cut the courses until
spring, said Everett. However, without a mandate, "there are
going to be a lot of people saying 'Well, I don't have the
time; I'm not comfortable with this; I don't have to hire
these teachers; or I can get rid of that out of the day,'"