Sex Education Investigative Series

Mississippi Sex Education: An Investigative Series
Audio / Interactive / Maps / Mississippi / Multimedia / Sex Education Investigative Series

Mississippi Sex Education: An Investigative Series

In a six month long investigation, the Southern Education Desk conducted dozens of interviews and relied on open records requests to obtain hundreds of documents. SED found an inaccurate curricula approval process and hundreds of thousands of dollars in exclusive grants may have resulted in a payday for a for-profit abstinence education company. Results for students are yet to be seen.

The Mississippi Department of Education gave contracts to a single abstinence education company before the curriculum was approved for schools. Critics say the funds provided districts with a strong financial incentive to select "Choosing the Best," leading the company to  hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits. "Choosing the Best" has no evidence that it changes student behavior.
Audio / Interactive / Mississippi / Multimedia / Sex Education Investigative Series

Mississippi Sex Education: Choosing “Choosing the Best”

One private company has the lion’s share of the market for providing sex education in Mississippi schools. It’s called “Choosing the Best” and it stands to take home hundreds of thousands of dollars. Critics say the program, which has no scientifically proven track record of success in the classroom, received preferential treatment.

The sex education committee made mistakes while reviewing programs. If scoring had been accurate, four programs that were approved for Mississippi schools would not have made the cut.  Photo by Stephanie Terrell.
Audio / Interactive / Mississippi / Multimedia / Sex Education Investigative Series

Mississippi Sex Education: Half Of Districts’ Programs Don’t Meet State Requirements

An investigation by the Southern Education Desk has found that the committee appointed by the Mississippi Department of Education to evaluate sex education programs for the state’s schools made mistakes in the approval process.

This is the first year all school districts in Mississippi are required to teach sex education. The question is: will it work? Photo by Black Glenn via Flickr.
Audio / Interactive / Maps / Mississippi / Sex Education Investigative Series

Mississippi Sex Education: Is What’s Being Taught Effective?

This is the first year that Mississippi has mandated sex education in all of its schools, trying to bring down its worst-in-the-nation teen pregnancy rate. But 75 percent of districts are teaching programs without a proven track record and critics argue that is handicapping the state’s sex education efforts. (Part one of a three-part investigative series)

Nashville Community Opens Up About Teen Sexuality
Community / Sex Education Investigative Series

Nashville Community Opens Up About Teen Sexuality

Parents, school administrators, university counselors and therapists gathered at an Adolescent Sexual Responsibility conference in Nashville to discuss sexual health among Tennessee’s teens.

Cristen Hemmins and other PLUS Parents rallied for evidence-based sex education is Oxford Public Schools. Photo by Annie Gilbertson.
Audio / Mississippi / Sex Education Investigative Series

Sex Ed Decision Reversed in Oxford, Miss.

The Oxford Public School Board has reversed its previous decision on teaching sex education and district schools will now teach “Abstinence Plus” rather than just “Abstinence Only.” Mississippi public schools have until Friday to submit their sex education choice to state officials.

Teen Birth Rates Remain High in Georgia
Audio / Georgia / Sex Education Investigative Series

Teen Birth Rates Remain High in Georgia

For the third straight year, teen birth rates are falling in many states, including Georgia. The numbers come from a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. But the trend is not spreading to many rural counties, and programs created to address the problem have been cut.

Unlike other subjects, sex education standards can vary from school to school. Image from the Associated Press.
Audio / Mississippi / Sex Education Investigative Series

The Standardization Of Sex Ed In The South

In most states, sex education decisions are still made at a local level. In Mississippi, where teen pregnancy numbers top the national charts, leaving sex ed decisions up to school districts has left many teens uneducated about sexual health.