sex education

HAT Forum: Responsibility of Institutions in a Pluralistic Society

HAT Forum
Saturday 7 March 2015, 11:00-1:00
519 Church St., Meeting Room #304
Topic: Responsibility of Institutions in a Pluralistic Society
Proposed by: Richard Dowsett

1. In a pluralistic society, what approach should institutions (judicial, education, health) take with regard to communicating values and knowledge that may be controversial for some?
2. Do these institutions have a mandate or possibly a duty to promote certain values and knowledge in the name of socialization and education?
3. Should institutions "teach the controversy" and openly discuss minority viewpoints in the name of pluralism?
4. Should institutions remain "neutral" to values and only present facts?
5. Discuss these questions in terms of the current debate of the sex education curriculum and the ongoing questions of teaching creationism and religious education.
6. Do the answers change when the venue changes from the Public system to the Separate Schools to private schools?


New sex education curriculum for Ontario announced

Ontario has unveiled its new, long-delayed updates to physical and health education, including sex education. This includes many of the changes in the ill-fated proposal from 2010, which HAT had supported but that the government withdrew under pressure from fundamentalist groups. It also includes some new topics.

A good summary of the changes from the Toronto Star is here.

If you want to exam the curriculum in all its detail, here are the pdf files from the Ministry of Education website. (Note that these are the full health/phys ed curriculum. Sex education requirements are part of the "healthy living" strand in each grade's curriculum.)

The curriculum for Grades 1-8: See pp. 92-95, 106-110, 120-124, 139-144, 155-160, 171-177, 194-201, 214-220 for Healthy Living strands.

The curriculum for Grades 9-12: See pp. 101-108, 120-126, 139-144, 154-160

Petition for sex education curriculum including consent

Two Toronto middle school students are campaigning to include consent as a topic in updated sex education curriculum. You can sign the petition at
https://www.change.org/p/ontario-ministry-of-education-make-consent-a-topic-in-the-2015-ontario-health-curriculum?recruiter=2662069&utm_campaign=signature_receipt&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition

Recall that the last time the province considered updating the sex education curriculum, in 2010, the government abandoned all changes in the face of a public campaign by fundamentalists. The new proposal, over 4 years later, has much the same content as the abandoned version, which HAT had supported. Humanists should learn from our failure in 2010, and be more active in pressing for a long-overdue update.

A news article with a little background on the overall changes:
http://www.thestar.com/yourtoronto/education/2014/10/30/ontario_to_update_elementary_sex_education_program_parents_will_be_surveyed.html

An article about the aforementioned campaign:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/wynne-praises-girls-push-for-consent-in-sex-ed-curriculum-1.2895434

Sex ed opponents claim victory in Ontario

Sex ed opponents claim victory in Ontario
The decision by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty to back away from a controversial new sex education curriculum for the province's schools has been greeted with relief by some interest groups and concern by others.
"It's become pretty obvious to us that we should give this a serious rethink," McGuinty told reporters Thursday.
"We by no means are gloating," said Rev. Ekron Malcolm, director of the Institute for Canadian Values, "but we give God the glory. It's a victory for the Canadian children."
The new sex education curriculum that had been planned for Ontario grade schools will not be introduced when the 2010-11 school year begins, McGuinty announced.
Religious groups objected to the revised curriculum and raised a voluble campaign against it earlier this week. They promised a huge demonstration on the front lawn of Queen's Park to protest the sex education changes. "It is unconscionable to teach eight-year-old children same-sex marriage, sexual orientation and gender identity," said Charles McVety, head of the Canada Christian College.

EVENT: RELIGION, SEXUALITY, AND SCHOOLING: A PUBLIC FORUM, Feb 10, OISE

RELIGION, SEXUALITY, AND SCHOOLING: A PUBLIC FORUM
Thursday February 10, 2011, 5 - 7pm; OISE, 252 Bloor Street W, UT Library
Refreshments Provided, Wheelchair Accessible

This forum aims to address the ongoing tensions surrounding religion and LGBTQ sexualities in schools and society. The need for such a forum has been magnified by the tragic suicides and increased bullying of queer youth as well as the debates over establishing gay student organizations and offering sex education curriculum in schools. These events have prompted many to look at the ways in which institutions of education and faith can play a stronger role in creating more supportive and affirming spaces for LGBTQ youth, adults, and families.

Confirmed Panelists
Paul Marai - Trustee; Halton Catholic District School Board
Jen Gilbert - Associate Professor, Faculty of Education; York University
Tyler Pennock - Aboriginal Recruitment Officer; University of Toronto
Suhail Abualsameed - Coordinator, Salaam, Queer Muslim Community
Scott McGrath - Chair, Annex Shul

- thanks for info from HAT member Doug!