consent. While there's mention of the value of communication and making one's own decisions, consent — actual consent — needs to be an explicit component of any responsible sex-ed syllabus.
The majority of these guidelines speak to STI prevention, and some of them highlight issues that adults, well beyond student age, often struggle with, like, "communication and negotiation skills related to eliminating or reducing risk for HIV, other STDs, and pregnancy." This would hopefully lead to a classroom discussion around sharing your STI status with a partner. Unfortunately, other guidelines from the CDC have the potential to lead to problematic discussions around this particular issue, specifically in regards to the suggestion that educators emphasize the "importance of limiting the number of sexual partners." This could reinforce already-prevalent slut-shaming rhetoric.
While it's comforting to see the CDC support healthy sexual relationships elsewhere in the list ("how to create and sustain healthy and respectful relationships"), it's easy to worry about the lack of guidelines for approaching these subjects sensitively and in a way that doesn't shame students.
The current state of sex ed in America may seem bleak — hey, parents are now live-tweeting their kids' abysmal, abstinence-only lessons about sex — but it's important to remain hopeful that schools and the CDC will catch up and create a more inclusive, sex-positive educational environment for teens. That way, future generations won't have to look back at their sex-ed classes and cringe as much as I do.