NEW YORK — City schools have failed to provide substantive sexual education courses to large numbers of middle and high school students, according to a new report.
Only about 43 percent of 8th graders completed a state-mandated semester of health education, according to New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer. Citywide, about 90 percent of middle and high school students don't have a city-licensed health teacher.
"Most parents expect their schools to be teaching sex ed, and as our report shows, it isn’t happening," Stringer said. "When just a fraction of eighth grade students are getting mandated instruction, I’m alarmed."
The report comes as the number of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia cases skyrocket. In Manhattan alone, Health Department data shows rates of syphilis increased by 27 percent from 2015 to 2016, while rates of gonorrhea rose by 13 percent and rates of chlamydia increased by 6 percent.
New York state law requires students receive at least one semester of health education in middle school and another in high school. The city's Education Department instructed school's to include sexual health as part of the curriculum back in 2011.
Stringer has called for a chancellor’s regulation mandating sex ed for all middle and high school students.
"It’s commonsense," he said. "It should be codified in the rules, and it should be considered part of a standard classroom education for all – not a luxury for a few.”
An Education Department spokeswoman said they'll be announcing a sex education task force to "address ongoing challenges and ensure students get the sex education they need."
"We are committed to providing all students with a comprehensive health education that includes medically accurate and age-appropriate lessons on sexual health.”