Ontario’s Health and Physical Education Curriculum

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
  • Tablets
  • Myspace
  • Myspace died
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • 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1999/2000 (secondary) to teach sexual health and all other components of the grades 9-12 H&PE curriculum which is now out-of-date and well behind the standards set in other provinces.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> :

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 10.59.45 PM

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.

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Girl In A Band by Kim Gordon

This is a book released by Kim Gordon, one of the founding members of the, now extinct, band, Sonic Youth. She is labelled the epitome of coolness, the harbinger of unstated sexuality, one of the first indie feminist songstress.

But the book proves all that to be untrue. From the book it is obvious that she is a very shy person who has been dominated by strong personalities throughout her life. From her schizophrenic older brother to her band mate and husband, Thruston Moore. In between these two relationship we come to know her relationships between her parents, partners, musicians and other artists who have played an influential role in her life.

The book is a straightforward account of her life from childhood. Not some earth shattering revelation but just a story of a person whose public perceptions mask a sensitive and an endearing person. She highlights her issues, her desires and her thinking behind each of her project be they songs from Sonic Youth or her numerous art and fashion projects.

I found her to be quite an interesting person which prompted me to do what I usually never ever do….. Learn more about a person I consider one of my heroes.

I started to look for her interviewees and other articles. Here is my favourite :

But as someone said “never know your heroes too well, they will disappoint”. And she definitely did. Her fascination with astrology and everything ” spiritual ” really put me off. I mean, come on!! She is obviously an intelligent person but this interview proves that she is a little bonkers. I watched it for 20 minutes and had to switch it off.

Other than that, the book is a great opportunity to learn about one of the minds behind the iconic band. Kim Gordon may be the queen of cool but she is just another person.

Highly recommended for the fans of Sonic Youth. Mildly recommended for non fans.

My Top 10 Albums Of 2014

My top 10 albums of the year. 

10) Transgender Dysphoria Blues by Against Me! 

Literally an album about being a transgender. The band is headed by a woman (formally a man) who went through all that she sings about. Except for the song “Osama bin Laden as the Crucified Christ” which is an odd song in the list and I would have been dismissed out right if not for a killer guitar line and powerful sound. What a song! 

 

9) Ultravoilence by Lana Del Ray 

Finally found that dark brooding sound that she has been looking for… probably helped that Dan Auerbach produced the album. Eagerly waiting for her next album. Hope she kicks it up a notch. 

 

8) Thrash Rock Legacy by Mounties 

A perfect summer record. A Canada indie supergroup which I honestly thought would fall flat on its face. But they really pulled it off and their sing “Headphones ” is my song of the year. 

 

7) To be Kind by Swans 

I will be honest, I have not heard the full album in one sitting. The album is more than 2 hours long!! But each song is sublime with angst and emotions embroiled within the music.

 
  

6) Alvvays by Alvvays 

Another pop wonder this year. One of the few albums that my daughter likes (that is on this list). The one thing I really liked about this album was how the sweet innocent voice was laced with ironic and sexy lyrics. Hope this band does well. 

 

5) Make My Head Sing by Jessica Lea Mayfield 

Shows what you can do with delicate vocals and loud guitar riffs. Love it! 

 

4) Popular Problems by Leonard Cohen 

Man, never thought I would have Leonard Cohen’s album in my top 10 once he hit 80 years of age. But what a powerful album from the versatile singer. When you compare his first album “Songs Of Leonard Cohen” from 1967 and “Popular Problems” in 2014, you will notice the massive change in his singing style. Excellent album. 

 

3) Love by Amen Dunes 

Got this album on a whim and have not stopped listening to ever since it was released. I loved it so much that I bought the vinyl and played that over and over again. Reminds me a lot of Van Morrison’s works. Spacey, hazy and, on song, surprisingly loud. 

 

2) Manipulator by Ty Segall 

25 year old and 8 album (not including multiple collaborations)!! I don’t think this musician is ever going to worry about burn out. With this album, Ty Segall has really elevated his music. A little less noisy than his previous albums (therefore, more accessible?) and the songs all have a melodies. Something I have not seen on his previous albums. Started listening to it when NPR was streaming the album and still am listening it on the vinyl I bought. 

 

1) St. Vincent 

Strange, weird, in-coherent. That’s what I initially thought. That is until, I forced myself to “listen” to the album. From the first song the journey into her album has been illuminating and wonderful. This is by far the best album of the year. 

 
This is a fun exercise and I look forward to it all the time. Here are my past “top 10 albums” links :

2009

2010

2011

2013

(Looks like I skipped 2012)

03November2014 : Top 5 Albums Of The Week

This week’s top 5 albums are :

1) Jessica Lea Mayfield (Make My Heart Sing)

You in the mood for minimalist sound mixed with brash guitar work all show casing one of the sweetest voice? Then give this album a try. Stunning comes to mind. From the crunching “Oblivious” to the beautiful “Standing in The Sun” to the emotional “Party Drugs”. This is one musician I will definitely see live!

2) Foxygen (…. And Star Power)

Their 2013 “We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic” was a masterpiece and I assumed that everything they did after that would be an ode to that album. Boy, was I wrong! “….. And Star Power”. Even though the first thought that came to my mind after listening to 82 minutes of eclectic, vintage, jumbled sounds was “Ostentatious”, the album is brilliant. There are numerous riffs and tunes to keep you satisfied. Moreover, the weirdness of the album is what I really love. You never know what you are going to get in the next 10 seconds. A totally un-formulaic album. Highly recommended!

3) Library Voices (For John)

This is a band that really surprised me. The last album was ho hum affair so I switched on this album thinking it will be the same like last one. The first song ” Some Mezcal Morning” proved to me otherwise. A slow, lush, bluesy and a melodious song that opens an album which proves that the group had gone through a radical change. I remember the previous album was some pop sounding, bouncy piece of work which one forgets after one listen. But this one is a wonderful album.

Unfortunately this is the only link I found. Hope you have Google Music

Some Mezcal Morning

4) Alvvays (Alvvays)

In an alternate universe this album would be at the top of the charts. Brilliant!!

5) Allo Darlin’ (We Come from the Same Place)

Another sophisticated pop album from the band that seems not want to change a winning formula. Either way.  Excellent album.

 

 

 

10Oct2014 : Top 5 Songs/albums For The Week

1) Jeff Tweedy is back with a new album “Sukierae”. I downloaded the album a few days ago and have not been able to digest the 20 songs on it. However, what I have heard so far, makes me love the guy even more! Beautiful sonic tunes. Urgent guitars on one song and then soft melodies on another. 4 out of 5 stars, so far. Here is the best one. It’s a live performance but the sound is really good :

2) Mounties. A Canadian band (of course!) that surfaced in my “to listen” list recently. Honestly, I had been ignoring them for a while but once I listened to Tokyo Summer on a whim, I was hooked. The band features the biggies of Canadian Indie rock scene (Hawksley Workman, Hot Hot Heat’s Steve Bays and Limblifter’s Ryan Dahle). The album is heavy on Synth which really is not my scene unless accompanied with a heavy dose of guitar and drums. And this one delivers! Here is my favourite song from the album which so personifies my attitude towards headphones :

3) Elephant Stone. A Quebec band that is into Sitar and rock. I have always liked that combination. A little too sweet and sugary for me but I really like the sound.

4) Interested in something soothing, lush folk rock? Especially from someone who specialises in blazing guitar work with lots of feedback? Then look no further than the new album by J Mascis. Tied To A Star. Wonderful album!

5) The New Pornographers have returned!! With an OK album :( I guess the expectation is usually very high when you are an institution in Canada. Anyway, I really like the album. Just thought it would be much better than it turned out.

3Oct2014 : Top 5 Songs/albums For The Week

Here are my current top songs/albums.

1) Ty Segall. Boy this performer gets better and better with each album! And that is a rarity in the music business. His new album is outstanding! Cannot find one song in that is “yeah, that’s meh”. Here is the track that captures you right away.

2) Here’s another band that keeps getting better. To be honest the album “Sunbathing Animals” is not “Light Up Gold” but it’s close. The best song from the album “She’s Rolling”. The song is fairly standard, it’s the close that really gets you!

3) Interpol is back! And boy did they surprise me. I thought it was going to be another mish mash album. A few earth shattering songs mixed with some boring ones. But no, this album is great from the start to finish. Ok, I have to be honest, towards the end of the album, I do lose interest but from Interpol, I will take it.

4) Found this band when I was playing around with Google music (yes, am a fan of Google Music and I think Spotify sucks) and was immediately taken by their bluesy grunge sound. Excellent EP (Comfortable Skin). They take a down turn when they slow down their music. Guys, you were not built for slow, romantic songs.

5) The Raveonettes are back! With another album that proves that these guys are the band to follow. Haunting video. Excellent song.

Top 5 Songs/Albums I Am Listening These Days

1) Lana Del Rey – Shades Of Cool

Am very impressed by the new album by Lana. I think she finally found the sweet spot between sadness, violence and a desire to abandon it all. And it is all encased in lush melodies that make you sad and yet makes you want to get to the end of the album.

 

2) Evil – Interpol

Interpol is band that I love to hate. They put out killer songs like Evil, Next Exit and Not Even Jail in on one album and the rest of the album is….meh. Why, Interpol? Why do you do this? They did this again on their third album Our Love To Admire.

 

3) Pink Floyd – Interstellar Overdrive

Bought the vinyl recently and cannot stop listening to this album. Love it!

 

4) Fanfarlo – Myth To Myself

The voice, the sound and the synergy from this band is astounding! Good to see this band has consistently produced great music!

Heard this band is a amazing live : This video sure does prove it

 

5) Lou Reed – The Raven

I have not heard all of Lou’s solo work but this album has always stood numero uno for me. Disturbing, haunting and yet riveting. Just like the man himself.

And this reading by William DaFoe on the album will give you chills down your spine.