SD7 - Report on Survey of Family Life Education Programs

Executive Summary:
[6-20-07 - The summary and report was replaced by DOE in order to include updated survey results that were not available when the report was printed.]

The 2006 General Assembly, through Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) No. 171, requested the Virginia Board of Education (BOE) to survey Family Life Education programs in our public school divisions. SJR 171 requested information on all aspects of the program including:

• Whether the local school division offers Family Life Education instruction
• The qualifications of Family Life Education teachers and teacher training
• The number and percentage of children who opt out each year
• Parental and community involvement in the program

To meet the requirement of SJR 171, a survey was sent to each school division in the state, requesting information specified in SJR 171 for the 2006-2007 school year. Responding to the survey was voluntary.

Summary of Survey Responses

Of the 132 school divisions serving students in the state, 120 divisions, or 91 percent, responded to the survey.

A summary of the survey results for the 120 responding school divisions follows.

• Program requirements for Family Life Education vary among school divisions.
• Eighty-one percent offer abstinence-based programs. Abstinence is stressed, but information on birth control and condom usage to prevent the spread of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) is also included.
• Fourteen percent offer abstinence only programs. When discussing pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease, abstinence is the only prevention information discussed.
• Ninety-three percent of the school divisions use the Virginia Board of Education Guidelines for Family Life Education.
• Sixty-five percent of the divisions reported Family Life Education is taught by classroom teachers at the elementary level. At the middle school and high school levels, 66 percent of the divisions reported the responsibility is with the health teachers.
• Two thousand one hundred forty two teachers have been trained to teach Family Life Education.
• Of the school divisions reporting, a total of 7,580 students opted out of Family Life Education. This number represents less than five percent of all students enrolled in the divisions that reported.
• Eighty-seven percent of the school divisions include parents on their committees that discuss Family Life Education.

The survey responses will be used by the Virginia Department of Education to assess policy and program implementation, resource allocation, and technical assistance. The actual responses to the survey questions are provided in this report using the survey format.