Newly elected Premier Doug Ford’s command to revert to the 1998 sex-ed curriculum–one that critics say fails to address internet culture, sexting or LGBTQ issues–has been met with ire from a number of educators.
The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) recently asked teachers to ignore the government’s mandate and continue teaching the 2015 curriculum, prompting the PC government to implement what some critics are calling a teacher “snitch line”.
Now, the Peel District School Board (PDSB), which oversees public schools in Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon, is weighing in on the controversial change to the curriculum.
“As we head into next year, I know that some of you may be wondering about the province’s recent announcement regarding changes to the elementary Health and Physical Education (HPE) curriculum, and upcoming consultation into education reform,” wrote Peter Joshua, Director of Education, PDSB, in a news release.
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“First, secondary teachers will continue to teach the 2015 secondary HPE curriculum. No changes were made,” he wrote.
“Second, in the coming days, Curriculum & Instruction support Services will send a memo to schools that clarifies elementary HPE curriculum expectations, and provides an analysis of the re-issued elementary HPE curriculum and the 2015 curriculum. Staff are reviewing the curriculum through a human rights lens.”
Joshua points out that the two curriculums differ in their human growth and development sections, adding that “comprehensive resources and lesson plans for this section will follow later” and that they are being prepared centrally.
Joshua says the resources will reinforce the board’s ongoing commitment to the well-being, safety and success of all students.
The PDSB is asking teachers to hold off on teaching the affected section for the time being, but to continue to address topics related to identity that fall under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
“At this time, we ask that educators not teach this section until lesson plans are available. With respect to topics related to identity and covered under the Ontario Human Rights Code, as always, we encourage teachers to embed this work in all curricular areas.”
Joshua says teachers have to prioritize safety and inclusion.
“We must continue to be guided by our moral obligation to ensure all students feel safe and included in our school communities. We have a responsibility, under the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Education Act and the board’s policies and procedures. I have every confidence that Peel educators will deliver the provided curriculum in ways that align with ministry direction and human rights legislation, while creating learning spaces that are safe, inclusive and focused on student success and well-being.”
Joshua says the PDSB will provide families with clarifying information in the coming days, and that parents who have concerns can share their thoughts with teachers directly.
“As is our long-standing process, we will continue to encourage parents/guardians to raise concerns first with their child’s teacher…if concerns are raised about the curriculum itself, those should be directed to the Ministry of Education.”
Joshua says parents can also expect updates to the province’s math curriculum.