Chicago Board of Education to Consider Proposed New Health Education Policy

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - HealthA new sexual health education policy, framed around age-appropriate instruction and medically accurate information for all Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students, will be presented to the Chicago Board of Education next week. The recommended policy would make CPS the largest urban U.S. school district with an established and comprehensive sexual health education curriculum specifically designed for every grade level to ensure age-appropriate material and with minimum instructional minutes for each grade across a broad scope of family and sexual health education topics for K-12 students.

The proposed policy would align with the new national standards and supports priorities in both President Obama’s national HIV/AIDS strategy and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Healthy Chicago initiative. It would replace the District’s older Family Life and Comprehensive Sexual Health Education policy, which was approved in 2008. The proposed policy will set more modern standards for instruction of students from kindergarten through 12th grade and, for younger grades, will integrate aspects of family life education that were a part of the previous policy. The new policy will also establish a minimum number of instructional minutes and topic areas for all grades; previously, a standard was in place for fifth grade students only.

The proposed policy was developed by the CPS Office of Student Health and Wellness (OSHW). Beginning last June, OSHW collaborated with various stakeholder groups to provide recommendations and feedback in the policy’s development. Among the participants were Mikva Challenge, Chicago Department of Public Health, Planned Parenthood of Illinois, University of Illinois Chicago, Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health and CPS high school students.

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