Sutherland Newsletter – February 11, 2010


Proponents of “comprehensive” sex education claim that sexually-transmitted disease (STD) and pregnancy are rampant among Utah teens and, therefore, the state’s health curriculum needs to be “updated.”  They want the curriculum to include more explicit instruction in contraception, and they want teachers to encourage students to use it.


However, digging into the data leads to a different conclusion.


In an opinion-editorial, “No need in Utah for ‘comprehensive’ sex ed,” published in the Salt Lake Tribune on Friday, February 12, 2010, Sutherland Policy Analyst Matthew C. Piccolo takes a close look at what the numbers have to say about Utah teens, STDs, and proposed changes in the state’s sex-education laws.


To read the published version of the op-ed, click


To read the full version, with statistical sources, click here.



As lawmakers in Washington, D.C. begin negotiations to reauthorize No Child Left Behind (NCLB) – a 2002 law that mandated the expansion of standardized testing and established a national framework for school accountability – they may be interested to know the results of a survey recently conducted by Sutherland Institute.


As reported in What Utah Teachers Think About “No Child Left Behind”: An Independent Survey, conducted by Sutherland Institute Policy Analyst Matthew C. Piccolo, 81 percent of Utah’s teachers view NCLB unfavorably, compared to just 14 percent of teachers who view the law favorably and four percent who have a neutral opinion of the federal education law.


“This survey reveals that Utah teachers generally believe that No Child Left Behind was developed with good intentions.  However, an overwhelming majority of teachers believe that NCLB standards and expectations are unrealistic, unreasonable and unattainable,” Piccolo said. “The results indicate that teachers, overwhelmingly, do not support No Child Left Behind.”


Specifically, many educators who responded to the survey believe NCLB sets students and schools up for failure.  Respondents said the current law does not consider students’ special needs or circumstances and frustrates them when they make progress, but still can’t pass tests.


The survey, that sampled Utah public school teachers from every school district and charter school across the entire state, was conducted via e-mail between Nov. 9, 2009 and Feb. 2, 2010. Sutherland received 1,020 responses, including nearly 90 percent from traditional public school teachers and 10 percent from charter school teachers.