Columbus Dispatch (01.29.12) - Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Ohio does not plan to adopt non-binding guidelines for sex
education issued recently by a national coalition of health
and education groups. The report, "National Sexuality
Education Standards," lists what students should know in each
grade, outlining "what, based on research and extensive
professional expertise, are the minimum, essential content and
skills for sexuality education K-12."
State law and Ohio Department of Health (ODH) guidelines say
schools should teach about STDs and drug-abuse prevention in
health education classes, but they do not specify learning
objectives by grade.
"I'm hoping most people ... are using national standards,"
said Jodi Palmer, leader of K-12 wellness teachers in Upper
Arlington schools. "Without a system that's here, that we can
access, you don't really have any consistency of programming
across the state."
"It's really a local decision on what [schools] do in terms of
health education," said Patrick Gallaway, a spokesperson for
the state Department of Education. More specific guidelines
cover math and reading because Ohio gives standardized tests
on these subjects, Gallaway said.
"It's up to the individual districts to decide what they want
to do for a curriculum, and they can adapt it to what their
community needs," said Tessie Pollock, an ODH spokesperson.
The Dublin and Upper Arlington districts have modeled their
education plans on CDC standards that delineate various
aspects of health education. While organized by grade, the
standards emphasize communication and decision-making skills
rather than specific topics that should be learned at each
For more information about the "National Sexuality Education