In early 2000, President George W. Bush pointed out the profound truth: "Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?"

It is rarely asked, even in a grammatically correct form - especially in Illinois where many assume that our children are already getting all the sexual health education they need to make responsible decisions. In fact, Illinois law does not currently require that sexual health education taught in our public schools be medically accurate or age appropriate. Research demonstrates that high-quality, accurate information enables teens to make healthy and responsible decisions about all aspects of their sexual health – decisions that help the teen today and throughout their lifetime. Recent declines in teen pregnancy, for example, have been linked to better contraceptive use, according to research at Columbia University.

Senate Bill 1619, now before the Illinois Senate Public Health Committee would remedy that situation by requiring that, if a public school in Illinois offers sexual health education, the programs must be medially accurate and developmentally and age appropriate, and include instruction regarding the benefits of delaying or abstaining from sexual activity. Download the Fact Sheet.

SB 1619 will also empower parents - school districts are required to make their curricula available for review, and parents can remove their children from sexual health education courses for any reason. Students cannot be penalized in any way if their parents remove them from a class.

The Senate Public Health Committee will meet on Tuesday at 1 p.m. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for live coverage of the proceedings.