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.
Sex Education Investigative Series
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.
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 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)
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.
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.
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.