For Immediate Release: September 14, 2017
Contact: Stephanie Reichin
National Institute for Reproductive Health supports Comptroller Stringer’s call to guarantee sexual education for middle and high school students
New York — The National Institute for Reproductive Health applauds New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s call for the city’s Department of Education (DOE) to guarantee sexual education for all middle and high school students. Research released by the Comptroller’s office today finds that the DOE has not complied with state law regarding health education.
That report, Healthy Relationships: A Plan for Improving Health and Sexual Education in New York City Schools, cites Department of Education data demonstrating that just over half of eighth grade students had completed the New York State-mandated requirement of one semester of health taught during middle school. In addition, a mere 7.6 percent of all health instructors in middle and high schools had received professional development related to sexual health education over the last two years.
“The Comptroller’s report provides alarming evidence that New York City is failing its students by not implementing a meaningful sexual education mandate,” said Andrea Miller, president of the National Institute for Reproductive Health, which co-chairs the Sexuality Education Alliance of New York City, a coalition of advocacy groups and direct service organizations that advocates for comprehensive, K-12 sexuality education for all New York City youth. “Sex education is critical to students’ health and wellbeing. It is one of our best defenses against unplanned pregnancies, dating violence and sexually transmitted infections.”
The report’s findings take on an added urgency as the presidential administration works to scale back support for programs that aim to prevent teen pregnancy, instead providing direct funding for abstinence-only programs. In July, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it would cut funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention program two years ahead of schedule.
Comptroller Stringer has asked the Department of Education to implement a Chancellor’s Regulation guaranteeing sexual education for all middle and high school students, and expand the mandate to include kindergarten through 5th grades following the National Sexuality Education Standards.
“With the restrictions imposed on sexual education at the federal level, it’s even more important for New York City – and cities around the country – to ensure that students are getting accurate information when it comes to sexual and reproductive health,” Miller said. “Comptroller Stringer is highlighting important actions that cities can take to advance comprehensive sexual education.”
About the National Institute for Reproductive Health
The National Institute for Reproductive Health builds power at the state and local level to change public policy, galvanize public support, and normalize women’s decisions about abortion and contraception.
Using a partnership model, we provide state and local advocates with strategic guidance, hands-on support, and funding to create national change from the ground up. We are a force multiplier – we form strategic partnerships with a wide range of organizations to directly impact the reproductive health and lives of women across the country. Since 2008, NIRH has provided direct grants and hands-on support to more than 145 reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations in 37 states and 50 localities across the country.
At the national level, we go where others don’t, engaging in groundbreaking public opinion research, proactive policy initiatives, and innovative advocacy campaigns to shape a new national conversation about reproductive freedom.