Hello my 2 or 3 followers. How have you been? Here is my upteenth atempt and upping my follower count to at least 5.
So there has been a lot of noise lately about the newly introduced Health and Physical Education in the province of Ontario. I had ignored it up till today. Considering that my daughter will be directly impacted, I thought let me look into this issue.
My main concern is the reason behind the change. Why was it done?
Turns out the previous curriculum has been in place since 1998 (elementary schools). That’s not too recent right? Actually, it is far too old. Do you know what has happened since 1998? Digital revolution!
- Mobile phones
- Myspace died
- On and on and on.
Man, I bet you have upgraded your car twice since 1998.
Well, turns out the government thinks so too. So our civil service did what any “civil” service would do, research the hell out of it. The research culminated in April 2010 (link) but it’s finding were quickly quashed and key sections relating to health and sex were blown away :
In April 2010, after misinformation was used to attack the Human Development and Sexual Health section of the elementary health and physical education (H&PE) curriculum, the Ministry of Education withdrew that portion of the document. A few months later, they also backed away from releasing the secondary H&PE curriculum. Ever since, teachers have been using all or part of a 15-year-old document 1998 (elementary) and 1999/2000 (secondary) to teach sexual health and all other components of the grades 9-12 H&PE curriculum which is now out-of-date and well behind the standards set in other provinces.
After much deliberation (read : political haggling) on 23-Feb-2015, the government revealed the new Health and Physical Education curriculum. The idea behind the new curriculum was to update it for “today’s child”. The key aspects of it are <Link> :
Benign so far!
Well, as it turns out, the civil service/government and scientists and public health agencies and studies from WHO and studies from UN and parents and students have produced sufficient evidence that Ontario is severely lagging in the area of sex education (Link).
Here is a quick comparison with other provinces under Sexual Diversity.
Given that all students, including those from families with same-sex parents, should see themselves reflected in what they learn at school, references to families with same-sex parents or sexual orientation and gender identity were included in expectations, examples and/or prompts at all divisions (primary, junior and intermediate). In subjects across provincial curricula, diversity, mutual understanding and empathy are encouraged and celebrated.
Ontario’s 1998 Curriculum Grade 8 : distinguish the similarities and differences between themselves and others (e.g., in terms of body size or gender)
2010 Revised Ontario Curriculum (now part of the 2015 curriculum) requires students in grade 3 to describe how visible and invisible differences make each person unique (including sexual orientation) and identify ways of showing respect for differences in others.
Notice how in the new curriculum, it is in grade 3 that students should identify the differences in sexual orientation. While in the older curriculum, this was taught in grade 8? This is astonishing. My daughter, a 12 year old, would be taught now that there are people out there with different sexual identity. A fact that she has already learnt from books/tv/talking to peers. Utter bullshit.
This is but one example. Another one that really scares me is that although teen pregnancy has dropped significantly, STIs have increased 79% in from 2001 to 2011 (link). This is really scary. So children and teens are careful not to get pregnant but are not careful enough to avoid STIs. This is a simple WTF. It was found out that kids and teens are regularly indulging in oral and anal sex as a misguided attempt at not getting pregnant. This is crazy. Thankfully, that gap will be closed by teaching the kids in grade 8 the dangers of this kind of thinking.
So why are some citizens up in arms about the new curriculum?
Their core argument boils down to : let kids be kids. But there is no mistake. This is a fight between research based curriculum and religious dogma.
The people protesting are headed by Campaign Life Coalition (a rabid anti-abortion group). And heavily helped by conservatives in the society.
I would urge you to spend 30 minutes and read this document (link) which clearly lists down what is being taught and why.
To me the idea behind the change is to bring the Physical and Health education standard upto to 21 century where kids experiment with sex no matter what the parent say. It is better to prepare them for the consequences in a classroom setting than the dinner table.
Updates to follow.