School boards put out statements on sex-ed curriculum issue

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The big question is hanging over the sex-ed education that will be imparted to school students. It really isn’t what will be taught to students, but rather what won’t be taught that is worrying and unsettling some parents.

This week the Toronto District School Board and the Peel District School Board have released statements on what to expect in both elementary school and high school.

Going into the new school year, TDSB and PDSB high school teachers will continue to teach the 2015 secondary school curriculum — including the revised sex-ed curriculum.

However, when it comes to elementary schools, the TDSB said it will be teaching the 2010 curriculum — which is really the 1998 curriculum.

The Director of Education for the TDSB said he is confident teachers will “continue to deliver the provided curriculum in ways that align with Ministry direction, and create a learning environment for students that is safe, inclusive and focused on their success and well-being.”

“From the beginning, we have been vocal about our concerns with regards to the inclusion of important topics such as online safety, gender identities, sexual orientation, and consent. Our central staff have been reviewing both the 2010 and 2015 curriculum documents to determine which topics are covered and which are not. While that work is continuing, it is already clear that many important topics remain in the curriculum,” John Malloy wrote.

“While the wording may be different than the 2015 curriculum, the 2010 curriculum still contains many critically important topics. In some cases, these topics are now covered under “prompts” as opposed to “expectations,” but they remain in the curriculum. As a result, educators will continue to have discussions about diverse families, online safety, consent, etc.”

Meanwhile what will be taught to Peel elementary school children is still a work in progress.

The Peel Board said the Curriculum & Instruction Support Services is expected to send out a memo that will clarify elementary HPE curriculum expectations, as well as provide an analysis of the re-issued elementary HPE curriculum and the 2015 curriculum.

“It is also important that families know that they can share concerns about how their children are taught directly with teachers. As is our long-standing process, we will continue to encourage parents/guardians to raise concerns first with their child’s teacher, as per our Public Concerns Policy #85. If concerns are raised about the curriculum itself, those should be directed to the Ministry of Education.”

Surprisingly the Toronto Catholic District School Board, will continue to teach the 2015 version of the sex-ed curriculum.

The Fully Alive program will be taught at both Catholic elementary and secondary schools across Ontario.

The sex-ed curriculum has been controversial and any attempt to update it and reflect information and messaging on the subject given the extent of smartphone usage among students has been resisted fiercely by the religious right and a large number of visible minorities, many of whom happen to be new Canadians. It remains to be seen if parents who were opposed to the updated 2015 version of the sex-ed curriculum will also be averse to any such education at all. -CINEWS

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