Portland’s Family Living and Human Sexuality program is popular, successful and constantly under fire.

That’s because the program which brings health care professionals into fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms to talk about sensitive topics employs two people, and those positions are always considered for elimination at budget cutting time.

This summer, the positions are again on the chopping block, but at least the stated reason is not the price tag. School district officials are considering changing Family Living for another curriculum that would be presented by classroom teachers.

The new curriculum is being sold as an improvement over Family Living, because it has been successful elsewhere. We are not convinced.

Health care professionals are better prepared to teach this material than classroom teachers, even if the teachers receive some extra training.

Classroom teachers already have enough duties without being asked to give this subject the attention it deserves. Students may be more likely to ask questions about topics like puberty or sexual abuse with someone who drops into their classroom than with their regular teacher, whom they have to face every day.

And the Family Living program gives parents the opportunity to have their children opt out of the lessons. That’s much easier to accomplish in a few stand-alone visits than in a program presented in between other subjects over the course of a school year.

There is no evidence that Family Living is a bad program. In fact, Portland’s teen pregnancy rate, which is 2.5 times lower than the national average, suggests that it is doing something right.

If school officials are trying to save some money, they should say so. These are tough times economically and all budget cuts affect something of value.

But they should stop trying to tell people that this cut would be an improvement, because it would not.