The status of AIDS curriculum development in Tennessee public schools

Connie Avent Wade, Tennessee State University


This study has been directed to the problem of determining the status of AIDS curriculum development in Tennessee's public schools. The following categories of interest were identified to investigate the problem. (1) The administrative processes of developing the curriculum, (2) The specific content of the curriculum including the methods and materials used to present it, and (3) The AIDS education teachers and the training they receive. An instrument was developed and a pilot study was conducted. After revisions the instrument was mailed to the 141 superintendents in Tennessee. The first mailing included the instrument, a cover letter, and a copy of a letter from the Tennessee Commissioner of Education, Dr. Charles Smith. Two weeks after the first mailing a follow-up letter and second copy of the instrument were mailed to the superintendents. After a second two-week period, the data from the instrument were compiled and tabulated. Sixty-seven percent of the school systems responded to the instrument. The study was conducted during the spring of 1988. Twenty-five percent of the school systems that responded to the questionnaire had AIDS curricula. Twenty-three percent were in the process of developing curricula, and another 7 percent have plans to begin during the summer or early fall of 1988. The research data showed that the AIDS curricula have been influenced by community values and morals, that counseling or referral is a part of the AIDS curricula, and that explicit terminology and graphic illustrations will be included when they are appropriate. The AIDS education teachers should participate in in-service training or attend workshops and be special area teachers of science, health, or family living. It was recommended that all Tennessee public school systems establish task forces to review research, develop a comprehensive curriculum, and share information with other school systems within the state. The curricula should begin in the elementary grades, devote a minimum of 20 hours each year, include a variety of teaching methods and materials, and a plan for evaluation.

Subject Area

Curricula|Teaching|Health education|Public health

Recommended Citation

Connie Avent Wade, "The status of AIDS curriculum development in Tennessee public schools" (1988). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI9017216.