WARNING:  This page may contain explicit and disturbing examples from CSE materials.

BIG DECISIONS  |  Child Harm Level:  Extremely High

TARGET AGE GROUP:  13 – 15 year olds

NO EVIDENCE of Reducing STD's

NO EVIDENCE of Reducing Teen Pregnancy

NOT Evidence-Based

Contains Harmful Elements

While called an “abstinence-plus” curriculum, Big Decisions: Making Healthy, Informed Choices about Sex (volume 4) gives little credence to abstinence, failing to set abstinence as a standard or even to promote or teach the benefits of delaying sexual debut.

 

Instead, Big Decisions targets children 13- to 15-years old with shrewdly cloaked content, including “fun-sounding” games and role plays, to prepare children, and even encourage them, to be sexually active.


Big Decisions: Making Healthy Informed Choices about Sex (volume 4) was designed primarily for 8th and 9th grade students (children ages 13 to 15). As of May 2018, the curriculum had been implemented in at least 23 different school districts in Texas and in other school districts across the U.S.

Harmful Elements

BIG DECISIONS exposes children and youth to multiple harmful concepts, through statements and various activities, such as role plays, games, and videos that are harmful and sexually engaging to children.

Examples of Harmful Content & Activities:

“Contraceptive BINGO” on pages 146 – 147 is one of the activities used in the BIG DECISIONS program. 

Role Play Scenario:

Activity 9.2, Situation #1, After School, gives the following as part of the scenario for children role play:

“Do you have a condom?... No, but this feels good… Let’s go to my bedroom.”
(Big Decisions, pg. 273)

Evidence of Failure
Big Decisions, like most CSE programs, cannot be considered an effective, evidence-based program for the students it was designed to serve. 
There is no evidence that Big Decisions is an effective curriculum for reducing risky sexual behavior among young people.

In fact, on page 13 of the introduction to Big Decisions (4th edition), the curriculum writers admit:

 

  • “Although it has been well received by many, Big Decisions cannot be said to be ‘evidence-based’ by the federal definition. While it can be said to be ‘evidence informed’or ‘promising’, the curriculum has not yet been shown to improve sexual risk behavior in a study conducted with a control group.”

 

“An evaluation of Big Decisions: an abstinence-plus sexuality curriculum” was published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy in 2010. Although the study claims that the “results suggest that Big Decisions provides a promising approach,” when it comes to “reaching minority students with both abstinence and risk-reduction message[s],” the study was conducted by the curriculum developers themselves (who, of course, would want the program to appear “promising”). The study consisted only of a pre- and post-test survey that didn’t measure changes in behavior or actual outcomes regarding sexual debut, pregnancy, STDs or condom use. Instead, it measured only the students’ self-reported “changes in attitudes” and in “behavioral intentions,” or what the students said they intended to do.

For more evidence on the ineffectiveness of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE), visit SexEdReport.org to see the latest, most comprehensive analysis on CSE programs.

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