Report on City Curricula Released
New York, NY—Aug. 16…At least one curriculum under New York City’s new sex education mandate should be centered around abstinence-only education. That was the message delivered today to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the New York Department of Education by more than a dozen organizations that work with New York City’s young people.
Mayor Bloomberg announced last week that sex education is now required in all New York City middle and high schools. The groups argue – and have data to back it up – that an abstinence-only option is the only way to fully protect school-age children from sexually-transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancies.
“This new mandate is a welcome sign that the administration is concerned about the city’s double-the-national-average rate of abortion and high rate of out of wedlock births,” said Greg Pfundstein, Executive Director of the Chiaroscuro Foundation, a New York City not-for-profit organization that supports alternatives to abortion. “But the City must also provide students with the latest scientific evidence on the risks of sexual behavior among young people. Those assembled here today represent a diverse coalition who feel strongly that an alternative program of education must be allowed under this new mandate for parents and schools which prefer a different approach to sex education.”
Others speaking at the news conference included Dr. Miriam Grossman, who has been examining the City’s recommended curricula over the last few months and is releasing a report today—available at http://nyc41percent.com/ and Dr. Nanci Coppola, Executive Director of Program Reach and the Healthy Respect Program.
“The curricula have serious flaws, and will leave students confused, misinformed, and vulnerable,” Dr. Grossman said.
Dr. Grossman is a physician with training in pediatrics as well as child, adolescent and adult psychiatry. The author of three books about sexual health, she makes frequent media appearances and speaks internationally to parents, students, educators, policy makers and health professionals. She has recently spoken at the United Nations Council on the Status of Women and at the British House of Lords.
“The claim that abstinence education is ineffective is outdated and ignores both the substantial development of programs over the last fifteen years and the latest research on effective sex education,” Dr. Coppola said. “It is time to put old political disputes aside and accept risk avoidance curricula as a serious and effective means for giving young people the information they need to stay healthy and avoid pregnancy. A good public health message should always speak to primary prevention and that is what abstinence does.”
Dr. Coppola holds a Doctorate in Podiatric Medicine and a Master’s degree in Health Administration and Wellness Education, She has 30-years of experience in the fields of education and medicine. She is currently running an evidence-based risk avoidance program in Yonkers, NY with funding from the federal government.