Texas’ New Health Education Standards Coming Along Well

Aug 19, 2020 by

“Texas’ New Health Education Standards Coming Along Well”

By Donna Garner

8.19.20

I have just read through this document, “Final Recommendations Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) Health Education, Kindergarten – High School” and am very excited about so many of the important facts and concepts that our Texas public school students will be learning in the years to come.

In the interest of time, however, I am not going to list all of the positives but am going to point out just a few statements which I believe need to be improved. I have listed these below along with my comments: 

COMMENTS FROM DONNA GARNER – HEALTH EDUCATION TEKS – WORK GROUP F – RELEASED PUBLICLY BY TEA ON 8.18.20

Health Education TEKS Review Final Recommendations – August 2020 – Group F: https://tea.texas.gov/sites/default/files/Health_Education_TEKS_Review_Final_Recommendations.pdf

(4), P. 10, Grade 3 — (B) describe the importance of seeking trusted adult guidance in setting goals from a parent or trusted adult

Better wording: (B) describe the importance of seeking guidance from a parent or trusted adult about setting goals

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(5), P. 11 – Grade 6 – (B) identify how adolescence brain development in adolescence can impact emotions, decision-making, and logic

Better wording: (B) identity how brain development in adolescents can impact their emotions, decision-making, and logic

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(6), P. 14 – Grade K – (B) discuss the relationship between positive and negative emotions and stress and emotions

My comment: “Positive stress and negative stress” — Could an adult, much less a kindergarten student, understand what “positive stress” is? 

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(12), P. 25 – Grade 2 – (B)… telling a parent or trusted adult

My comment:  I love seeing the words “telling a parent” used throughout these TEKS. That should be the first recommendation to give to students K-12.

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(21), P. 43 – My comments:  Learning to develop successful relationships (e.g., friendships) is the basis for good physical, mental, emotional, and psychological health. Why not weave into our Health Ed TEKS most of the positive character traits mandated by HB 1026 (86th Legislature) for K-12?  A few of these traits are listed in this Section 21 already (i.e., mutual respect, trust, support, and honesty, commitment, reliability), but why not include many more of them in this section?  It would be a natural place in school curriculum to discuss and integrate compelling and enjoyable activities that emphasize most of these positive character traits (now mandated by law) to be taught in our Texas public schools:  

Courage

Trustworthiness (including honesty reliability, punctuality, and loyalty)

Integrity

Respect and courtesy

Responsibility (including accountability, diligence, perseverance, and self-control)

Fairness (including justice and freedom from prejudice)

Caring (including kindness, empathy, compassion, consideration, patience, generosity, and charity)

Good citizenship (including patriotism, concern for the common good and the community, and respect for authority and the law)

School pride

Gratitude

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(21), P. 44 – Grades 7-8 – (G) describe the benefits of healthy marriages or committed relationships, including companionship, social, emotional, financial, and health benefits

Better wording: (G) describe the benefits of healthy marriages (preferred) or committed relationships, including companionship, social, emotional, financial, and health benefits

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(22), P. 47 – My comments:  This entire section on consensual contact has been much improved.

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(23), P. 49 – Grade 7-8 and Health I — (H) describe the importance of telling a trusted adult, early pregnancy testing, and seeking prenatal care

(G) analyze the importance of telling a trusted adult, early pregnancy testing, and seeking prenatal care

My comments: “telling a parent or a trusted adult” – The word “parent” has been left out in both statements.

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(24), P. 51 – Grades 7-8 – (G) explain the importance of STI screening, testing, and early treatment for sexually active people, including if there is a concern or during yearly physicals

My comment:  This wording is very awkward.

Better wording: (G) explain during yearly physicals the seriousness of STIs by screening, testing, and administering early treatment if needed for sexually active people

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(24), P. 53 – Health I — (K) analyze the effectiveness and the risks and failure rates (human use reality rates) of barrier protection and other contraceptive methods, including how they work, and may reduce the risk of the prevention of STIs and pregnancy

Better wording:  (K) analyze the effectiveness, risks, and failure rates (human use reality rates) of barrier protection and other contraceptive methods that might reduce the risk of pregnancy and/or STIs but only if the contraceptives are used correctly and consistently

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(24), p. 53 – Grades 7-8 – (L) analyze the effectiveness and the risks and failure rates (human use reality rates) of condoms and other contraceptive methods, in the prevention of STIs and pregnancy

My comment: Leave out the comma after “methods.”

My comment: I am very glad to see the statement “human use reality rates” used throughout this section on contraceptives.

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