Making a Deal with Governor Deal
Dear Governor Deal,
My name is Aliza, and I am a high school sophomore in Sandy Springs. I am writing to you because I would like you to implement stronger sex education in Georgia high schools. I know you are dedicated to the well-being of Georgia’s youth; I very much admire the hard work and thoughtfulness you have put into the Education Reform Commission. Having received excellent sex education when in middle school, I have become somewhat of a “sex educator” for my peers, and I am often shocked by how unknowledgeable some of them are. With the safety and healthy development of Georgia’s youth in mind, I urge you to support comprehensive sex education.
According to a study published in The Journal for Adolescent Health, sex education lowers adolescent pregnancy rates by 50%. Comprehensive sex education, in comparison to abstinence-only education, reduces pregnancy rates further. Less than 2% of women who get pregnant as adolescents finish college, and without a college degree, it’s more difficult to get well-paying jobs. Therefore, sex education does not just benefit the students who receive it, but society as a whole. An investment in comprehensive sex education is an investment in the future of students, and an investment in the economic stability and innovation in Georgia.
Currently in Georgia, it is mandatory for schools to teach abstinence as the only effective form of birth control. Abstinence education is based on the hope that teenagers won’t have sex. In reality, however, teenagers are having sex–47% of high schoolers will have sex before they graduate. Education should give us the tools to handle our reality. Comprehensive sex education addresses this reality, and teaches students about other effective forms of birth control. Though abstinence is the only 100% effective form of birth control, IUDs, arm implants, and birth control pills are 99% effective. The goal of teaching abstinence-only education is to decrease pregnancy, however, by not discussing other forms of birth control, the reality of teenage sexuality is ignored, and pregnancy rates increase.
Abstinence education often carries religious associations, and implies that having sex is a sin. The goal of abstinence education may be to help students become aware of their sexual choices, but by assuming that premarital sex, or sex in general, cannot be moral, immoral sex becomes an expectation. Healthy sexual relationships need to be discussed and encouraged.
For many of my peers, many of our first sexual experiences happen online. There is more sexually charged content available to us and the content is available more readily. Similar to how we have expanded and modernized academic courses to include typing and programming, schools should teach about social media, dating sites, and porn, in relationship to sexuality.
This piece was written as part of JWA’s Rising Voices Fellowship.
How to cite this page
Abusch-Magder, Aliza. "Making a Deal with Governor Deal." 5 July 2017. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on September 19, 2021) <https://jwa.org/blog/risingvoices/making-deal-with-governor-deal>.