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(Source: Deborah Roffman)

For years, I heard about my friends’ horror stories and waited for the dreaded Birds and Bees talk — but it never came. In my family’s traditional culture, abstinence is the only option: there was no need for the Bird and Bees talk. Even talk of periods was hush hush. I learned about periods in my 5th-grade human growth & development class. It opened up an entirely new branch of conversation with my mom, who told me to let her know immediately if I ever started bleeding from “down there.”

While my sexual health education wasn’t perfect, it was enough. I didn’t realize not everybody had the same experience. I was in 6th grade when a close friend started menstruating and had no idea what was happening to her body. As I got older, I realized with horror that many of my friends, still confused, conflicted and experimenting with relationships and sex, didn’t know about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HIV and AIDS. …

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(Source: Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction)

In 2019, the Washington State Legislature delinked graduation from state standardized testing and provided students with multiple pathways to graduation by passing House Bill (HB) 1599. Language from HB 1599 would permit any two credits of CTE to qualify for a CTE graduation pathway, allowing for mix and match of CTE credits across CTE program areas. While Washington is correct in delinking graduation from standardized testing, the state is doing students a disservice by refusing to acknowledge the cohesion that is established when students take CTE classes in a row.

According to the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Education (OSPI), CTE pathways are aligned with rigorous industry and academic standards that correspond with intensive courses and training opportunities to prepare students for a chosen career. “CTE students graduate from high school with career goals, job skills, and leadership skills knowing exactly where they will go next to further their academic and hands-on education and training,” said OSPI’s website. …


Ashley Lin

On a mission to increase access to quality global education through innovation, technology, and storytelling. Currently: wondering, wandering, whiteboarding…

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