SAMPLE PERSUASIVE OUTLINE – GOOD
February 17, 2005
Topic: Comprehensive sex education in public schools
Goal: To persuade my audience to support the Family Life Education Act.
Thesis: We should support the Family Life Education Act.
A. Attention Gaining Device: Let’s do a little survey. How many of you know
what AIDS is? How many of you know what HPV is? HPV, or human
papilloma virus, is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the US
today. HPV can lead to genital warts and is the leading cause of cervical
cancer (King). Why didn’t more of us know that?
B. Significance for this audience: . Public schools have been very good about
getting the word out about HIV and AIDS but has fallen short in educating
about other more common STDs. The Family Life Education Act attempts to
address this problem and the problem of unwanted teen pregnancy in order to
reduce the frequencies of both.
C. Thesis: We should support the Family Life Education Act.
D. Preview: But, first, I will remind you what the Family Life Education Act is,
discuss the role parents play, the morality issues surrounding sexuality
education, and how comprehensive sex education affects adolescent sexual
Transition: So, what is the Family Life Education Act exactly?
I. The Family Life Education Act is a bill meant to encourage comprehensive sexuality
education in public schools.
A. According to text of the bill, $100 million a year of federal aid would go to
comprehensive sex education that includes abstinence training.
B. In order for a school program to get funding under this act, it would have to do
a number of things including:
a. Be medically accurate,
b. Stress the importance of abstinence as the only certain way to prevent
unwanted pregnancy and STDs,
c. Encourages communication about sex and sexuality between parents
d. Teach how drugs and alcohol affect decision making when dealing with
e. Give detailed information about the different forms of contraceptives
available along with information on their proper use, and
f. Discusses the health benefits and side effects of all forms of
contraception used to prevent pregnancy and STDs.
Transition: But, as I’m saying this, I know that some of you are concerned about the role
that schools would be taking in teaching these things.
II. There is disagreement about whether schools would be taking over a parent’s role in
teaching sexuality education.
A. Many of you are opposed to comprehensive sex education because you feel
that schools would be taking over the role of parents in teaching their kids about
B. However, this is not what proponents of the Family Life Education Act are
suggesting schools should do.
1. It is always the place of parent to talk to their kids about sex and to
decide how much their kids learn.
2. The Family Life Education Act would require schools to encourage
C. Schools would not be taking over the role of school but rather adding to their
1. Schools already take on the additive role of teaching kids about the food
pyramid, to stay away from drugs, that it’s important to wash your hand
regularly, and how to drive a car.
2. According to a study done by the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 36%
of teenagers in the US say they learned “a lot” about sex from their
3. Sexuality education is an extension of the role that schools already play.
D. Often, there is a barrier to communication and the Family Life Education Act
attempts to speak to this problem.
1. Parents and kids have a hard time thinking of each other as being
sexual. So, neither wants to talk to the other about sex.
2. Among those that do have conversations about sex with their parents,
most only get superficial information.
3. Many parents don’t have all of the information themselves.
Transition: But what of the moral issues connected with teaching kids about
III. I know that some of you feel that teaching kids how to use birth control and condoms
is like telling them it’s ok to have sex before marriage and that that in and of itself is
A. Many of you feel that teaching kids about contraceptives is immoral.
1. Sex before marriage is immoral.
2. By teaching kids about contraception, you’re telling them that sex
before marriage is acceptable.
B. However, I argue that teaching kids about contraception is not immoral.
1. Teaching kids how to use condoms and birth control does not tell them
it’s alright to have premarital sex.
2. Along with this information, kids are reminded that abstinence is the
only way to get full protection from STDs and unwanted pregnancy.
C. It is true that is done with knowledge is what has the potential to be immoral.
1. The knowledge itself is not immoral
2. Though everyone would agree that it is the place of parents to define the
morality of premarital sex, not public schools.
D. Once we get past this initial concern of morality to the public health at stake,
contraceptive education is in everyone’s interest
Transition: An issue connected to the morality issue is whether contraception education
encourages kids to have premarital sex. If it does, then it would be less effective in
reducing teen pregnancy and STD rates.
IV. There is disagreement on whether abstinence-only education or comprehensive
education is more effective.
A. Those in favor of abstinence-only programs suggest that they are more
effective at reducing teen pregnancy and STDs.
1. In a speech in 2000, Bush reaffirmed his belief by saying, “It is
important to understand the power and promise of abstinence education.”
2. Bush and other supporters of abstinence-only education believe that it
works because it reduces or delays adolescent sexual activity.
B. However, abstinence-only education is not consistently effective in reducing
adolescent sexual activity.
1. In a report from the Council of Scientific Affairs within the American
Medical Association, it was stated that there is no significant evidence
supporting the claim that abstinence-only education delays or reduces
adolescent sexual activity.
2. Abstinence-only programs do not take into consideration children that
are already sexually active, were sexually abused, or come from non-
C. While abstinence training can be effective, it must be combined with
contraceptive education in order to be most effective in reducing teen pregnancy
and STD rates.
1. Somers and Gleason’s study that was published in the journal Education
found that comprehensive education reduced adolescent sexual behavior
more than abstinence-only education.
2. When kids hear the whole story about different forms of contraception,
they can see that abstinence really is the best way to prevent STDs
D. The Family Life Education Act aims to reduce teen pregnancy and STDs with
the only proven effective model: comprehensive education. A model supported
by the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the
American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Public Health Association,
and the Society of Adolescent Medicine.
Transition: In the end, this is a difficult issue to address because of all of the emotions
and strong opinions tied to it on both sides.
A. Review of main points: I talked you about what the Family Life Education
Act entails, the role parents and schools play in educating our children, the
moral issues surrounding comprehensive sexuality education and explained
why comprehensive sexuality is the most effective way to protect kids from
unwanted pregnancy and STDs
B. Restate thesis: I hope that you all understand the points I have tried to convey
and that you will join me in supporting the Family Life Education Act.
C. Restate significance: This is an issue that affect all of us, whether you have a
younger sibling going through the public school system or not.
D. Concluding device: The Family Life Education Act is the best option to give
our children the most protection.
Boyer D. Teens get Bush's views on sex: stresses abstinence lessons in school. The
Washington Times, Friday, September 15, 2000.
Council on Scientific Affairs. Report of the Council on Scientific Affairs. [Action of the
AMA House of Delegates 1999 Interim Meeting, CSA Report 7-I-99]. Chicago, IL:
American Medical Association, 1999.
Family Life Education Act of 2001, H. R. 3469, 107th Cong., 1st Sess. (2001) Retrieved
October 13, 2003, from http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-
George W. Bush. The True Goal of Education. [Speech at Gorham, NH, Tuesday,
November 2, 1999].
Kaiser Family Foundation. (1996, June 24). Survey on teens and sex: What they say teens
today need to know and who they listen to. [News release]. Princeton Survey Research
Associates. Retrieved November 11, 2003 from
King, B. M (2001). Human Sexuality Today. (4th ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice
Somers, C. L., & Gleason, J. H. (2001). Does source of sex education predict
adolescents’ sexual knowledge, attitudes, and behavior? Education, 121(4) 674-681.
Notes on this outline:
- Overall, this is a very sound outline. The four step could be cleaned up in some
places (like point II) to better indicate the comparison between the two arguments.
- I would like to see clearer statements of the argument being refuted and clearer
explanations of how the refutation affects the opposition’s argument.
- Also, the in text citation needs some work.