AUSTIN, Texas — In the first changes to the sex education curriculum in Texas in more than 20 years, the State Board of Education on Friday approved teaching middle schoolers about birth control but decided against providing students with information on consent, sexual orientation and gender identity.
The revisions consist of teaching seventh and eighth graders about the effectiveness of birth control in preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Currently, only high schoolers get such lessons, though health courses aren’t required for graduation.
The new standards, which guide textbook content as well as instruction in public schools across the state, will go into effect in 2022. The board last updated the state’s sex education curriculum in 1997.
The board also approved teaching fifth graders about fertilization and sixth graders about sexual intercourse.
School districts in Texas aren’t required to offer sex education, but if they do, they’re required by state