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Sex Education

Few topics in the history of American schooling have been as fraught with controversy as that of sex education. Since concerned leaders introduced advice manuals into the nineteenth-century landscape to combat social decay and disease, sex education has remained a highly contested site in which conflicting beliefs about adolescence, morality, relationships, and public health have been played out across the twentieth century. Sexuality is simultaneously a personal and profoundly public matter central to human relationships, public health, and the reproduction of citizenry.

From nineteenth-century medical pamphlets to HIV/AIDS prevention today, sex education raises complex questions for American educators: What role should schools play in such private and public terrain? What should constitute the curriculum, and what should be its purpose? When does sexual information shift from ...

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