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Contact: Senti Sojwal, [email protected], 212-274-7339

NEW YORK - Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza today announced the launch of Health Ed Works, a four-year, $24 million initiative that will increase resources to ensure more students receive comprehensive health education, including age-appropriate sexuality education.

Statement from Laura McQuade, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of New York City:

“Today, we are one step closer to creating a New York where all people have access to the sexuality education they need to thrive. I want to thank Chancellor Carranza and Mayor Bill de Blasio and his Sexual Health Education Task Force for launching Health Ed Works and recognizing the importance of a holistic, integrated approach to health education in our city.”

NYC’s Department of Education longstanding policy recommends that sex education be taught once in a semester in middle school and once in high school.  While better than some school systems, this policy falls woefully short, and the reality is that many of the 1.2 million NYC students have not even been receiving this inadequate minimum. Over the past few years, the city has worked to improve sex education by allowing condom demonstrations in high school as part of sex education, and passing three bills that require the Department of Education to better track and evaluate sex education and school-based health care services in schools.

Even with those efforts, the gaps in the city’s sexual education continue to have a significant, lasting impact on young people’s wellbeing. Women aged 16 to 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence, and 25% of 8th and 9th graders report having faced dating violence. In New York City schools, one in 10 teenagers reports having experienced physical or sexual violence in a dating relationship within the past year alone.

“At PPNYC, we have long fought for our students’ rights to receive empowering and accurate information about their bodies and health so they can live their healthiest lives,” McQuade says. “As we celebrate today’s announcement, we look forward to continuing to partner with the city to see more efforts to include accountability measures and guidelines for comprehensive, inclusive sexuality and health education in all our schools.”

This $24 million investment was included in the Mayor’s FY 2019 executive budget and will:

  • Improve classroom instruction in K-12 schools and include the rollout of a new K-12 Scope and Sequence to help guide health instruction at all schools.
  • Expand professional learning opportunities citywide to improve the preparedness of health education teachers.
  • Provide targeted support to 500 schools to: develop an action plan to prioritize and improve ‎health education instruction; ensure health education teachers ‎in middle and high schools are more consistently assigned; and support teachers to provide high-quality, inclusive health instruction.  
  • Ensure 500 schools create a holistic, integrated approach to comprehensive health education and have health teachers complete DOE’s Health Education Professional Learning Pathway, a sequence of health education trainings. These schools will serve as model health education schools by meeting all City and State requirements by June 2022 and will develop school wellness councils to support and sustain a health community.

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Since 1916, Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) has been an advocate for and provider of sexual and reproductive health services and education for New Yorkers. Providing more than 100,000 patient visits annually, PPNYC’s health care centers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island offer sexual and reproductive health services, including gynecological care, birth control, cancer screening, pregnancy testing, abortion, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, HIV prevention, testing and counseling, transgender hormone therapy and vasectomy. Through a threefold mission of clinical services, education, and advocacy, PPNYC brings better health and more fulfilling lives to each new generation of New Yorkers. As a voice for reproductive freedom, PPNYC supports legislation and policies to ensure that all New Yorkers will have access to the full range of reproductive health care services and information.