#DougFord; #PCs, #newsex-educationcurriculum; #PeterTabuns; #KateCurtis
Toronto, Jul 17 (Canadian-Media): in an attempt to quell concerns over his government’s controversial decision to scrap the updated lesson plan, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Tuesday that People across Ontario will be consulted before a new sex-education curriculum is drafted, media reports said.
Doug Ford. Image credit: Twitter handle
The education minister's statement in the legislature that concepts like gender identity, consent and cyber safety would still be taught in the fall only to backtrack on her comments hours later.
This led to the newly elected Progressive Conservatives (PCs) being accused of flip-flopping on the issue Monday.
When Ford pledged to repeal and replace the curriculum, which the Liberals updated in 2015, it sparked anger from some teachers and parents who say that document was outdated.
“We’re going to hit 124 ridings,” he said, calling it “the largest consultation ever in Ontario’s history when it comes to education.”
Ford also attempted to allay concerns from critics that reverting back to the old curriculum means important issues like cyber safety, gender identity and consent wont’ be taught, putting children at risk.
“I think everyone is going to be pleasantly surprised,” he said. “I really do. I don’t think this is the end of the world. I think it’s actually healthy. When it comes to teaching our kids, we have to consult with the parents.”
Ford’s opposition to the new sex-ed curriculum during the PC leadership race earlier this year got him the support of social conservatives within the party base.
Ontario's New Democratic Party (NDP) legislator Peter Tabuns said the reason the Ford government is replacing the curriculum is to please social conservatives.
“Look at who (Premier Ford’s) backers are,” he said. “We’re talking about some very deeply conservative, social conservative thinkers who think we should be back in the 19th century or earlier.”
Going backwards, Tabuns said, puts children at risk.
Meanwhile, a group of teachers have started an online pledge form, urging fellow educators to sign up and promise to continue to teach the updated version of the curriculum in their classrooms this fall.
Kate Curtis, speaking for the group who created the pledge, said the teachers are acting out of a sense of moral and ethical duty to their students.
“We as teachers know that we have a professional and ethical obligation to make sure that our students are safe, that they feel included both in our classrooms and also that they’re reflected in the curriculum.”
Curtis said the 1998 curriculum does not reflect the reality of a teenager’s life in 2018 and does not accurately reference cyber safety, consent or gender identity.
“The world has changed immensely in the last 20 years,” she said. “Students are reflecting that change at school … we really have to reflect that.”
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)