The Sex Education Debates by Nancy Kendall
I reference this book quite a bit in my The Case for Sex Ed series, because it’s just that informative. Kendall did fieldwork in 5 U.S. states in order to understand how each school system implements federal, state, and local regulations about sex education. The results are fascinating, and Kendall’s ethnographic approach gives us a glimpse into how sex ed policies play out on the ground. While Kendall aims to approach the topic objectively, her findings guide her to condemn abstinence-only sex ed, because it does not and cannot serve the needs of the most vulnerable population: the students themselves. If you’re looking to understand how public school sex ed looks today, and what the main differences between abstinence-only and comprehensive sex ed are, this is the book to read. It’s not too bad with the academic jargon, either.