Young people deserve to have the information, resources, and skills they need to protect their health and build their future — without shame or judgment. Sex education is essential to young people’s health, relationships, and life goals, and has a proven track record of helping young people develop the knowledge and skills they need to make healthy decisions about their relationships, their health, and their future.
In New Jersey, we know a lot of great sex education is being provided, but we also know that sex education can be underfunded, not prioritized, and often politicized. Based on the findings of New Jersey’s Sex Ed Report Card, there are multiple areas for improvement:
- In comparison to other states, New Jersey has strong sex education policy on the books. But some areas of the law are troubling, such as the requirement to stress abstinence and highlight failure rates of contraceptives.
- Sex education is not provided in a consistent manner from district to district, school to school, or even teacher to teacher. Decisions about how sex education is actually provided in the classroom are often made at the district or school level. New Jersey has a lot of school districts — nearly 700 — which means there is significant variation in how sex education is provided.
- Teachers want more training, guidance, and resources to teach effective sex ed. Many organizations, such as Answer and Planned Parenthood, already offer trainings for educators, but often schools and districts are strapped for resources or unaware the opportunities exist.
- Parents and students want more time spent on sex education in school.
Under the administration of Governor Murphy, New Jersey's Department of Education has recently adopted new and more comprehensive standards regarding sexual education. These standards include important information on sexual health, contraceptive measures, STI prevention, and gender identity. While the new standards are moving in the right direction, there is still more that needs to be done to protect New Jersey students' right to comprehensive sex education. Old laws still exist which harmfully limit the scope of sex education lessons throughout the state, and these laws must be overturned and replaced with new, more inclusive legislation.
Check out the Thrive Coalition, a coalition of nonprofit organizations committed to reproductive freedoms and sexual education in New Jersey, here.
Learn more about sex education here.