The Texas State Board of Education will meet today in Austin to consider changes to how children are taught about sex and health in a curriculum that hasn’t been revised since 1997.
Texas public schools are required to follow an abstinence-first education model, though school districts aren’t required to provide sexual education under the Texas Election Code.
The 15-member board took a preliminary vote Wednesday to overhaul the minimum standards for what Texas students learn about health and sex, a process that has taken more than a year.
The sexual education guidelines that do exist don’t require any instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity.
The state board is expected to hold a final vote today which would continue to focus on abstinence, but with new attention on prevention.
And starting in 2022, seventh and eighth grade Texas students will learn about forms of birth control beyond abstinence, but middle schoolers still won't have to learn about the importance of consent or the definitions of gender identity and sexual orientation.
Over the last several months, panels of educators and medical professionals developed recommendations changing these health and sex education policies.
The state board determines what 5.5 million Texas public school students learn.