(U-WIRE) ATHENS, Ohio – Beginning in 1999, Florida will become the first state to require all public high schools to teach a marriage and relationship skills class. The elective class will deal with issues such as love, intimacy, commitment, problem solving and communication.
Many states have school districts with elective marriage classes, but only Florida will require schools to teach it. Curriculum and class length vary from state to state. In “Connections,” for example, a curriculum taught mostly in California, students are “married” for a week and have to deal with life and relationship crises.
We believe teaching certain relationship skills is important, but the class curriculum should not discuss marriage because of the moral and religious issues involved. The meaning of marriage may depend on one’s culture, religion or upbringing, so schools run the risk of offending someone.
High school classes that attempt to deal with relationships should focus on communication aspects, not love or intimacy. Teaching how to discuss, listen, and work together would help students during high school and could apply to relationships later in life.
Basic communication skills are the backbone of the marriage curriculum and, without discussing marriage itself, should be taught in high schools. Ohio should not require school districts to teach relationship classes. These classes should be dealt with in the same manner as other electives, and the decision to teach them left to each school district. Some Ohio schools cannot afford to add the program and should not have to do so.
Communication skills are a necessary part of life and should be taught in high schools. With marriage eliminated from the curriculum, relationship classes can be useful to students now and down the road.
-Staff editorial from Ohio University’s Post.