There was a time when the high school health class was the exclusive province of physical fitness awareness and reproductive health issues. Things are more complicated now. With the adoption of a new state law by the Texas legislature, health teachers will soon expand their lesson plans to encompass a curriculum on parenting and paternity awareness developed by the state’s Office of the Attorney General. With rates of teenage pregnancies climbing, many educators and parents feel that teens in the state—and particularly boys—need more information about what it means both practically and legally to be a parent. Said one parent in support of the new law, “We all hate sometimes having to have these discussions, but I do think there are difficult things we need to talk about with these kids.”
Others have expressed concerns about the plan, noting how much material health classes have to cover already. Some also wonder whether the material will have any resonance with students at all. Donna Price, a secondary science and health academic coordinator for a district in Harris County, notes, “You’re talking about 15-year-olds. For them to be able to cognitively process it and understand the consequences, you can only hope for the best.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.