To save money, Portland school officials would like to make sex education, which had been taught by a dedicated team of Family Living instructors in all of the city’s schools, part of the citywide health curriculum.

But unfortunately, there is no citywide health curriculum.

This is not true just with health. Portland’s practice of treating each school as a separate unit means that there are differences in the way that even the core subjects are taught from building to building.

This means that a child who moves from the East End to North Deering not only has to accommodate a new environment, but maybe a different way of learning math.

This not only makes life hard for the children who move, but could build inequities into the system where there can be variance in quality between the schools.

If the draft budget that will be voted on tonight passes, Portland will have one more year of the Family Living program to develop and implement a city-wide health curriculum that includes age-appropriate human sexuality classes in grades 4, 7 and 10.

That time should also be used to develop more consistent programming in other subjects throughout the district. It may be Maine’s biggest school district, but Portland is too small to have so many ways to teach the basics.


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