Two reports recently released by NYC’s Department of Education suggest that many students in NYC are not receiving the recommended amount of sexuality education. The reports resulted from three bills that NYC enacted in 2015 requiring the Department of Education to better track and evaluate health education and teacher training in schools.
The DOE’s report shows that although the vast majority of high school students complete a health education requirement, only 57.3 percent of NYC’s middle school students complete one semester before graduating. Many students are not receiving any health education in middle school, violating New York State’s health education mandate requiring one semester of health education in middle school and one in high school.
Data also demonstrate a wide disparity between school districts. For example, only 30.4 percent of eighth graders in Brooklyn’s Community District 13 have completed a semester of health instruction, versus 84.7 percent of eighth graders in Community District 27 in Queens. In addition, the reports show that a very small percentage of instructors received training on sexuality education. Only 1,160 instructors (7.6 percent) attended at least one session of sexual health education development between 2014 and 2016, and only 292 instructors attended two or more sessions.