Educators, doctors and counselors from around the state have gathered in a Des Moines suburb to talk about sex education. James Wagoner, president of the Washington, D-C-based “Advocates for Youth,” is the keynote speaker at the two-day conference and he advises parents to have a wide-ranging talk with their kids. Wagoner says parents need to talk about more than just “the plumbing” with their kids. He says parents have to outline their own values so their children can understand and carry on those values to the next generation. Wagoner also says policymakers need to put money in “science-based” programs that work. “For too long we’ve allowed controversy and confusion to block our investments into programs that are proven by evaluation to lower teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease,” Wagoner says. According to Wagoner, successful programs encourage discussion about sex at the family level. He says they also offer information about both abstinence and contraception. Experts say 70 percent of young people in the U-S are sexually active by the age of 18. The meeting was organized by FutureNet, a group that seeks to force sex ed programs in Iowa schools to be “science-based.” You can find more information about the group on-line at www.iowafuturenet.org. The group’s meeting concludes today (Wednesday).
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