Sexuality Curriculum Policies: Rural is Not Always More Conservative

Susan Roberts-Dobie, Mary E. Losch, Danielle Vsetecka, Andrew Morse


This study examined sexuality education policies of school districts following the enactment of a law by the state of Iowa in 2007 requiring schools to include curriculum related to human growth and development education. The authors compared responses from superintendents in rural and urban areas in the state of Iowa regarding their districts’ sexuality curriculum policies. All public school superintendents in Iowa (n=364) were mailed a survey; 131 (36%) responded. The sample was representative of the state both geographically and by size of district. Findings indicate that while rural states (or more-rural areas within rural states) may be publically perceived to be more conservative than urban areas, their sexuality education policies show little statistical difference. Additionally, Iowa’s sexuality education policies were found to be equally or more inclusive in comparison to previously reported national results. Community opposition to sexuality education was not evident. Superintendents indicated that state directives were the most influential factor driving district policies on sexuality education.


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