As many of you are aware my I’ve spent nearly 15 years in public education, teaching and consulting on health and physical education. In 2008 I was part of the technical analysis of the 1998 curriculum identifying areas that needed to be revised, and then in the summer of 2009 I was a member of a diverse writing team for the health and physical education curriculum from grades 1-12. This was an amazing experience which connected me with awesome leaders across the province and led to my consulting position at Ophea and experiences trainer teachers from across the province for the past 8 years.
Last week, in less than a month in office, Doug Ford announced that Ontario public schools will revert back no the 1998 curriculum, disregarding all research, parent and student consultation, and international best practices on sexual health education. This 42-page document refers to “Sexually Transmitted Infections” and “STDs”, the Internet as the “World Wide Web,” and has no mention of consent, social media, and the devise families we see today. It also contains minimal reference to mental health, and the application of relationship and social skills in a sexual health context.
Last week I was interviewed by Macleans Magazine on what I thought Teacher’s would do regarding this change. I know great teachers will make the best decisions for their students. That’s our job. As the article states ” Teachers, she explains, will be able to have discussions in the classroom about current events happening in their communities, or issues arising from their use of social media, which will serve as opportunities to introduce ideas from the 2015 curriculum. ‘It’s about having valuable conversations with students that they might need in a way that’s relevant to them,’ she says.”
Ophea has also put out a statement saying that they will not be revising their health lessons reverting them back to the 1998 content and state “Ophea and OASPHE continue to believe that students have a right to learn from an up-to-date, research-based Health and Physical Education curriculum that includes human development and sexual health education.” View Ophea’s advocacy tools here.