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Health education gets top marks

January 07, 2007

Re "Learning life skills the LAUSD way," Opinion, Jan. 2

I am surprised by Dinah Lenney's attitude in her opinion piece about health education in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Yes, students do have sex education in the fourth and seventh grades, along with instruction in the academic curricula. Therefore, are we to assume that students know everything there is to know about English and math by the end of the seventh grade? A continuum of K-12 health education and a demanding math-science curriculum throughout is required if we expect to have a healthy population and to prepare the next generation of healthcare professionals.

CHERYL DELLEPIANE

Santa Clarita

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As a fairly recent graduate of an L.A. Unified high school, I remember complaining to my mother about the required life skills course in which we filled out personality surveys and employment questionnaires. The other half of the requirement, however, is health. I'll never forget the rapt audience my teacher had when demonstrating how to put on a condom in a room of high school students who were just beginning to explore sexuality. Even the nutrition education seemed to get through to the generally resistant crowd, as they were starting to make their own food choices.

Lenney's daughter is lucky to have a mother who is invested in her well-being and education, but for many students this is the only exposure they will have to health curriculum. Although I too was frustrated by the requirements at the time, I learned many things that I never would have encountered elsewhere.

And for the record, in my last quarter at Stanford, I took a course that closely resembled "Life Skills," personality surveys and all.

KATHERINE TAYLOR

San Pedro

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