State Board Finalizes Medically Accurate Health Education Standards
By David Doolittle

immunization

Thanks to an organized push by the Texas Medical Association and its physician members, the State Board of Education last week approved new Texas curriculum standards that include more comprehensive and medically accurate instruction on multiple health-related topics.

Late in the 18-month revision process, anti-vaccine groups pushed for amendments that would’ve weakened, removed, or made optional all classroom instruction on immunizations.

TMA, county medical society leaders, and the Texas Pediatric Society were instrumental in making sure those amendments were not included in the final standards, known as the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).

The enhanced standards require public schools to teach the importance of immunizations, including the effectiveness of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, beginning in seventh grade. The standards also include more detailed instruction on vaping, firearm safety, mental health, suicide, and sexual health. 

TEKS are the state standards for knowledge and skills every Texas public school student must demonstrate before advancing to the next grade or graduating. Texas’ health education curriculum standards have not been updated since 1997.

Update: This story has been updated to report the standards were finalized

Last Updated On

November 23, 2020

Originally Published On

November 19, 2020

Related Content

Immunization

David Doolittle

Editor

(512) 370-1385

Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

More stories by David Doolittle