Recently there has been much debate over the adoption, implementation, and maintenance of comprehensive health and sexuality education programs in Massachusetts public schools. Advocates of school-based comprehensive health education programs often use a public health approach to substantiate their position. They cite national and statewide statistics about adolescent sexual activity and unsafe sexual practice as a basis for providing students with the facts and the skills to make decisions to prevent pregnancy and the transmission of sexually-transmitted diseases. Opponents often speak about the parents’ role in educating their sons and daughters and object to public school instruction that regards homosexuality and safe sex as acceptable choices.
In the literature, many models of community organization focus on the decision-making structure within the community, rather than on the process of social change. Therefore, we often know who makes community decisions, without knowing much about how and why these decisions are made. In this study the process of social change is explored by conducting comparative case studies of two Massachusetts communities.