Millroy: I believe Ford made the wrong move

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I have no quarrel with new Ontario Premier Doug Ford wanting to keep his election promises, but I do wonder how much thought he has given some of them.

He is dumping cap and trade, which simply means he is turning it over to the federal government to impose. I think he would have more control over how it would affect Ontario by being inside the tent rather than now being on the outside.

And then we have his Conservative government ditching the sex-ed curriculum that was put in place in 2015, reverting to the curriculum that had not seen any changes since 1998 and which does not include such topics as same-sex marriage and online safety.

The change is to be made for the new school year.

“The sex-ed component is going to be reverted back to the manner in which it was prior to the changes that were introduced by the Liberal government,” Lisa Thompson, the province’s new Education Minister, said. “We’re going to be moving very swiftly in our consultations, and I will be sharing with you our process in the weeks to come.”

By consultation I gather she means with faith groups and social conservative family organizations, those who balked at the new curriculum and who naturally will agree with the new government’s plans.

On sex-ed I don’t.

The sex-ed curriculum adopted in 2015 was long overdue because of the rapid changes in society. Children coming up today are miles ahead in terms of learning and understanding than those of only 20 or 30 years ago.

We should be going forward to accommodate them, not taking steps backward.

During the election campaign, Ford said many parents felt “ignored” when the curriculum was rolled out.

But the Liberal government of the day said at the time that it had consultations that included educators, experts and one parent from each of the province’s 4,000 elementary schools.

And opponents of the new curriculum certainly had their say, making it clear that they felt it was

age-inappropriate, arguing that lessons on gender identity, same-sex marriage and masturbation should be provided by parents.

Yet I wonder how many parents actually do provide this education.

I know I wasn’t one of them. I wasn’t taught anything by my parents and I must admit I didn’t feel qualified to teach my children.

Therefore I would have been happy to have those with training do it for me.

Chris Markham, executive director of OPHEA, a not-for-profit organization that pushed the Ontario government to update its curriculum, told The Globe and Mail back in May that, “If parents could just take the time to sit down and look through the curriculum, I think they would be calmed.”

I think they would too.

In Grade 1 the curriculum calls for the identifying “of body parts, including genitalia (such as penis, testicles, vagina, vulva), using correct terminology.”

In Grade 3, it describes how “visible differences (such as skin, hair and eye colour, facial features, body size and shape, physical aids or different physical abilities, clothing, possessions) and invisible differences (including learning abilities, skills and talents, personal or cultural values and beliefs, gender identity, sexual orientation, family background, personal preferences, allergies and sensitivities) make each person unique, and identify ways of showing respect for differences in others.”

In Grade 6, it identifies “factors that affect the development of a person’s self-concept (including environment, evaluations by others who are important to them, stereotypes, awareness of strengths and needs, social competencies, cultural and gender identity, support, body image, mental health and emotional well-being, physical abilities).”

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, who also heads the Official Opposition in the Ontario Legislature, criticized the government’s decision to revert to the old curriculum, saying the current document is more responsive to the issues students face today.

“Going backwards in terms of keeping our kids safe and giving them the information they need to stay safe is not the right direction for the kids of this province,” she told reporters.

Sam Hammond, president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, was also quoted as saying the move “shows an absolute lack of understanding of student realities in 2018 by the Ford government and the Minister of Education.”

Cathy Abraham, president of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association, said that in 1998 there was no discussion in schools about consent or sexting. “There are pieces of the curriculum that back in 1998 wouldn’t have been there because it hadn’t become a thing yet,” she said. “This is about the safety of our children.”

But Tanya Granic Allen, whom Mr. Ford removed as a Progressive Conservative candidate over homophobic statements and who has been a vocal opponent of the sex-ed program, praised the government’s move.

“The Minister of Education needs to require all teachers not to teach children any of the age-inappropriate or culturally insensitive parts of the current curriculum. At the top of the list, children should not be taught the “unscientific and controversial gender theory,” said Ms. Granic Allen, who heads the group Parents as First Educators.

In other words, ignore everything that has been going on around us on this issue for the past 20 years or more.

I believe Ford made the wrong move, that he has listened to the wrong people and he, like U.S. President Donald Trump, who is attempting to undo everything former President Barack Obama did, might be caught up in attempting to undo everything the previous Liberal government did.

I would suggest Ford and his minions interview some of the students who have been taught under the new sex-ed curriculum as well as their parents to get a better handle on how it has gone over.

Whatever the outcome, I believe that the sex-ed curriculum put in place in 2015 should stand.

It will give students the information they need, information I will bet in the majority of cases they are not getting at home.

 

34 COMMENTS

  1. To Weezer13579
    I am anonymous
    Is that better ?

    You have a few misconceptions about God
    Wrong about the compassion of God. He sent his son to die on the cross for our sins and for us to eternal life and a relationship with Him.That whoever believes or trusts what he has done for you will have eternal life.
    The problem is the world is blind to this.
    I don’t expect you to understand
    After you die there is judgement.
    Time for compassion is on this side of life. Not when you step on the other side into eternity. By then it’s too late

    It’s 2018 ?
    Is the world a better place?
    Man has distorted God’s laws and commandments
    Look at what man has done over the past 100 years to himself wars and more wars

  2. If people would just breathe for a moment/it will take time and consultation for this gov’t to rewrite the sex ed file/but sure it will be alot more palatable to parents when they do/ children in grade 3 or 6 are too young to learn about the topics discussed/young girl age 10 grade 6 has a girl crush asked teacher if she was gay then( hell i still have a girl crush every now and then(,”you know girls that you may secretly have a girl crush too come on dont lie)but this young 10 year old girl is extremely confused about her sexuality now because she did/so this new curriculum is very age inappropriate/ as for bible quotes “when man walks with man……..”

  3. I agree.. I think it’s a dangerous thing to do.. at least out a freeze on Health teaching this year if you want.. but don’t enforce a curriculum of 1998 that teaches misinformation and bias against minorities. No information is better than wrong information. What’s the rush? Develop new curriculum as long as it’s encompassing of the needs of our youth then make change.

  4. Excellent article, Doug.
    I know I received no sex education from my parents. Nor did getting that information from schoolyard friends provide a solid foundation.
    The sexual health component of the Physical Education and Health curriculum is not simply about the mechanics. It does incorporate changing societal influences with the goal.of keeping young people safe.

  5. I think Ford is smart enough to reconsider the sex ed curriculum decision he made. he has shown that he will listen and change his mind when facts are presented. For example he was originally all for destroying some green space and after public outcry and consultation he reversed his decision. When he considers all that will be presented to him I think he will leave the program the way it is…MODERN AND UP TO DATE FOR THE TIMES.

    • Im not holding my breath on the green space issue, he was willing to make a closed door deal with developers once, he will probably be willing to do it again.

    • Are we talking about the same Doug Ford?!?! I bet you a billion, trillion dollars that doesn’t happen.

  6. Lol at the bible thumpers!! How about we just go back to parenting. Sex ex is personal and the government is not going to tell me what I can and can not teach my child. Keep it in the home. Problem solved!

    • No one was telling you what you can and can not teach your children. And you always had the option to pull your child from the class

    • Sorry, Lorraine, sex ed is not a personal I to be left to.parents alone. It is a societal issue. It is far better to provide young people that will help keep.young people safe than to hope they will get reliable information from their reluctant parents.

  7. Excellent article Doug. Ford is wrong. The updated sex-ed curriculum is well researched, consulted and addresses real life in today’s age. Where was the consultation with parents to revert back to 1998? There wasn’t. Regressive, backwards are the actions and thinking of “FordNation”.

  8. Ford made the RIGHT move regarding the sex Ed curriculum

    The new sex Ed curriculum goes against the bible ie same sex marriage. A society that goes against scripture will only bring God’s wrath and curse

    As for cap and trade Ford made the RIGHT move. Not denying climate change but there is no accountability to where the money goes. Just another tax grab. Until that is in place cap and trade should be rejected

      • You haven’t read the bible obviously or you would not be asking
        All of the bible goes against it
        Google it

        • Anonymous, I am well versed in scripture, which is why I asked. I know of no scripture that prohibits same sex marriage.

          • David
            The bible makes references to marriage between man and woman only.
            No where in the old and New Testaments does it mention union between the same sexes.
            Do you think that if it was sanctioned by God I.e. union between same sexes that it would be mentioned !!
            It isn’t .
            Homosexuality is condemned and an abomination to God
            In fact God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for that

        • But this is ok right?

          Genesis 19:30-38 King James Version (KJV)

          30 And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters.

          31 And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth:

          32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.

          33 And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.

          34 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.

          35 And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.

          36 Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.

          37 And the first born bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day.

          38 And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.

    • Time to join the rest of us in 2018, Anonymous. If you believe so highly in your “God”, why are you posting as “Anonymous”?? Your “God” doesn’t sound very loving, accepting or compassionate to me. As a matter of fact, neither do you.
      David and Mark we’re on the same page. My parents never taught me anything related to sex-ed. And highschool gave us the bare minimum in gym.
      One other thing left out of the 1998 agenda is online predators and sexting. Parents NEVER think it will happen to them/or their child. So naive! Everything i read about the 2015 curriculum sounded appropriate to me.

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