Bridges4Kids Logo

About Us Breaking News Find Help in Michigan Find Help in the USA Find Help in Canada Inspiration
IEP Goals Help4Parents Disability Info Homeschooling College/Financial Aid Summer Camp
IEP Topics Help4Teachers Homework Help Charter/Private Insurance Nutrition
Ask the Attorney Become an Advocate Children "At-Risk" Bullying Legal Research Lead Poisoning
Bridges4Kids is now on Facebook. Follow us today!


New School Year Brings New Class: Parenting

Printer-friendly Version

Bridges4Kids Logo

Jennifer Radcliffe, Houston Chronicle, January 14, 2008

Sandwiched between lessons on counting calories and staving off disease, high school health teachers will offer hefty doses of parenting advice in the next school year.

A new state law requires that parenting and paternity awareness be included in the high school health curriculum by 2008-09. The State Board of Education plans this week to adopt a curriculum developed by the Office of the Attorney General, an agency charged with, among other duties, cracking down on fathers who fail to support their children.

"We saw that taking a preventive role would be very important," said Janece Rolfe, a spokeswoman with the attorney general's office. "We think it's certainly never too early for children to understand this."

The curriculum first was written in 1995 but is being revised to fulfill the mandate.

Jean Smith, who oversees the teen parenting program in the Alief school district in southwest Houston, said she's thrilled that students will be exposed to the information. Alief has used it for about five years in parenting and child development elective courses, she said.

"It's fantastic. It's real life about the paternity laws," she said. "They have pieces about relationships. The curriculum has activities where the teenagers can learn about themselves."

Middle schoolers could even benefit, Smith said.

"It needs to start sooner, frankly," she said. "If they're watching soap operas and movies and all of this by age 13, then they need to be exposed to what relationships are all about."

'Children raising children'

State Board of Education member Terri Leo said she could understand why others might think the ninth and 10th grades are a bit premature for most students.

Unfortunately, she said, statistics show that many teens need the facts.

Birth rates among 15- to 19-year-olds in the United States rose slightly in 2006 to 41.9 births per 1,000 girls, according to recent data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

"If they're going to become parents, which I prefer they not do at this age, they need to know some of this information," said Leo, a Republican from Spring. "We all hate sometimes having to have these discussions, but I do think there are difficult things we need to talk about with these kids."

Mercedes Alejandro of Houston, whose 16-year-old daughter has two pregnant friends, applauds the state for making sure teens are informed.

"It's kind of like, it happens or it's going to happen, and the consequence if we do nothing is that it's going to be children raising children children who are unaware or unprepared," she said. "And the information about the child support, the boys need to hear that."

Perry has 'concerns'

Donna Price, secondary science and health academic coordinator for the Humble district in northeast Harris County, agrees that the topics have merit but is concerned about how teachers are going to squeeze the lessons into an already crowded class.

"The tricky thing is that health in high school is just one semester," she said. "Trying to pack it in and making it meaningful is definitely challenging."

She also wonders whether the information will seem pertinent. "You're talking about 15-year-olds," she said. "For them to be able to cognitively process it and understand the consequences, you can only hope for the best."

Gov. Rick Perry also had concerns about prescribing such a specific curriculum. Last spring, he explained why he wasn't going to sign the law.

"These goals are worthy of attention in high school health classes," the statement said. "However, I have serious concerns about the Legislature mandating programs be included in the Texas curriculum. Additionally, it is always my preference to focus on preserving a high-quality core curriculum that focuses on college and workforce readiness."

State education board President Don McLeroy said he hasn't heard any concerns about the plan and expects it to win easy approval on Friday.


Here are some of the topics expected to be covered in the proposed Parenting and Paternity Awareness curriculum:

What is a parent?

Establishing paternity

Benefits of legal fatherhood

What it takes to be a parent

Single parenting

Parents who don't pay

Love, marriage and a baby carriage: What's in your future?

Choosing healthy relationships

Marriage and families

Looking at relationship violence

Source: Office of the Attorney General


back to the top     ~     back to Breaking News     ~     back to What's New


Thank you for visiting

bridges4kids does not necessarily agree with the content or subject matter of all articles nor do we endorse any specific argument.  Direct any comments on articles to

2002-2021 Bridges4Kids