Canada: Ontario reverting to old sex-ed curriculum in fall

TORONTO — Ontario schools will go back to teaching the same sex-ed curriculum they did in the late 1990s this fall after the province’s new government announced Wednesday it was revoking an updated version brought in by the previous regime.

Just over a week into the summer break, Education Minister Lisa Thompson said ministry staff were working to inform school boards of the decision to revert to the curriculum that was in place before 2015.

The older curriculum will remain in effect until the government completes a “fulsome consultation respecting parents” on how to modernize the material, she said.

The newer sex-ed curriculum sparked controversy, particularly among social conservatives, when the Liberal government introduced it three years ago.

It was the first time the curriculum had been updated since 1998, and it included warnings about online bullying and sexting that were not in the previous version. But protesters zeroed in on discussions of same-sex marriage, gender identity and masturbation.

Ontario’s two largest teachers’ unions said they oppose the decision, noting that parents and educators were consulted extensively before the curriculum was updated. Read more via Toronto Sun

COMMENTARY: Ford government wrong to revert back to 1998 sex ed curriculum

One of the most consistent criticisms levelled at the revamped sex education curriculum was this patently false notion that parents were completely left in the dark about the change, and were not consulted in any manner on the issue. It remains a mystery to me how this piece of misinformation managed to regularly make its way into right-leaning newspaper columns and onto the radio waves of talk radio, my own station included.

Parents were indeed consulted. In fact, in the fall of 2014 the Ministry of Education surveyed approximately 4,000 parents, which according to the ministry, represented one parent for every elementary school in the province. The parent representatives were chosen independent from ministry input, and were put forward by individual school principals and parent committees. In addition to the parental consultation, there were 700 students that were consulted in face-to-face regional consultations, input provided from 2,400 educators, as well as 170 organizations that provided feedback to the government.

In other words, detractors of the curriculum are pushing flat out lies when they say parents were not consulted at all.

Similarly, critics of the curriculum have propagated falsehoods of the content of the curriculum itself, despite numerous fact checks — including this one from Global News — on the issue. Read more via Global News