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Ontario's new health curriculum

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/22/2018 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 1,080 times Debate No: 116773
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Premier of Ontario, Canada, Doug Ford, Recently introduced a new curriculum in Ontario's public schools for sex-ed education. These include removing education on informed consent, Contraception and gender identity, Among other things. I firmly believe that students should be taught these topics, And that learning these topics improves their knowledge of such subjects. However, I am interested in knowing the opinion of someone who agrees with the new curriculum.


An interesting topic. Perhaps I can narrow the debate a bit for us. I will grant that there are numerous benefits that the 2015-2018 sex-ed curriculum has over the 1998-2014 sex-ed curriculum. For example, Updating the curriculum to include digital issues, Bullying, Sexting, Consent, Contraception, Etc. . . So, I agree that these are good things. Might I then list five of the issues with the 2015-2018 sex-ed curriculum that actually seem to be sources of controversy:

1) Sexual Orientation and Exploration Stuff

The curriculum teaches students about various types of sexual orientations and sexualities. As a result, Students become aware of things they may not have become aware of. If this leads to positive outcomes, This is fine. For example, If a person didn’t know that vaginal sex could lead to pregnancy, And the curriculum taught them this, And led them to avoid this result when they don’t want it, Great. If the result is negative, That is not fine. For example, If a person would not have otherwise tried oral sex because the person was not inclined to do so, But being exposed to the idea inclined them to try it because it was normalized, And they didn’t really want to, That is bad. I presume that some of the lessons from the curriculum lead to good results, Others to bad results. Due to this mixture of results, I prefer the opt-in model, Not the opt-out model that Wynne’s curriculum used, As described in (5), In order to do no harm.

2) Intellectual Diversity of Content

There are debates happening in Ontario, With various sides being endorsed. Most obviously on the sex-ed issue, Some of the population thinks homosexual relations and transgender identities should be fully supported, And some of the population thinks they should not. Less obviously, Some of the population thinks that sex prior to marriage is problematic, Others think sex without love is problematic, Other cultures within Ontario endorse more traditional arranged marriage customs, Other cultures within Ontario espouse traditional gender roles in marriages, Etc… The curriculum of a province should reflect the intellectual diversity that exists in the province that is being educated – this is why it is called public school. However, The 2015-2018 curriculum does not provide this intellectual diversity of opinions, So does not offer a holistic picture of where the province is at on these ranges of issues. For these reasons, The curriculum has been regarded as transparently partisan, And nefariously so. For example, The curriculum presupposes that homosexual relations are as morally acceptable as heterosexual relations. Fine, I agree on this. But, Not all do. The curriculum does not state ‘the case against accepting homosexual relations and the case for accepting homosexual relations’, Rather it only offers the case for accepting homosexual relations – and then it denounces the entire spectrum of people who don’t agree. Well, That doesn’t reflect the current state of the discussion in Ontario, Nor does it reflect all the values of the students/parents in the class.

3) Gender Identity Stuff

Students are introduced to concepts of the plasticity of gender identity. Again, This can be good or bad. If a student is genuinely feeling a misalignment of genders, And the education on the matter provides clarity that helps them develop their identity as they most desire, That is great. But, If a student would not otherwise have ever considered transitioning to another gender, And hearing about it puts the idea in their head, Which they later ultimately reject, But only after being confused for years, That is bad. I suspect both cases occur, So I prefer the opt-in model discussed in (5), In order to do no harm. Moreover, The intellectual diversity of content fails here. The curriculum only discusses the position originating in feminist theory (de Beauvoir, At its roots) that suggests that gender and sex are independent. This is one of many possible views that academics and the public hold on the topic.

4) Descriptive vs. Prescriptive

The public school system should describe the values that exist in that public sphere, Not prescribe values that one side wishes to be inculcated in their future citizens. The STEM fields are great with this, Same with reading and writing. The same could be true of the sex-ed curriculum. If the curriculum only explained what sex is, How it happens, Various ways people do it, Etc… without prescribing values, That would be fine. But, The curriculum does not stop at describing sexuality, Or the intellectual diversity of the province on the issues. Rather, They are attempting to inculcate values in children. This is exceptionally grotesque. Children should be raised by parents, Not the state. The state should not be stepping in while children are young and vulnerable, And teaching them values that may differ from their parent’s values. Of course, The common objection is: no values are being taught in the curriculum other than inclusivity and acceptance. Well, Those are values. And, Some parents are trying to raise their children with other values, And it is not up to the provincial curriculum to impede that, Nor should anyone hope to do so. To see this, Imagine that Ford decides to add a new piece to the curriculum on some ‘right wing value’. Perhaps Ford decides students should be educated on how to fire hand guns, Or how to make a billion dollars in a business. Then, Imagine the curriculum does not mention the ‘left wing values’ against guns, Or against greed, Respectively. That would be transparently partisan. And, Left leaning parents would not want their children exposed to that. Same issue in reverse.

5) Consent and Opt-In

The curriculum emphasizes consent. Great. The focus is usually on consent in sexual relations or touching. Great. That needs to be taught. The curriculum says you cannot force yourself upon someone who does not consent. Great. That is true, And should be taught. The problem is that the Wynne government forced this curriculum on the parents and students, Without their consent. And, When the parents asked her to stop, She just kept right on shoving it down their throat. That is disgusting on its own merits, But so hypocritical as well. A document teaching consent, But not caring to attain consent in the first place. Wow. Anyway, The objection to this is: well, Students/parents can opt out, So they aren’t forced to participate. Well, That is not how consent works. The message is not: if someone doesn’t remove themselves from me, I can keep doing what I want to them and assume I have their consent. Rather, The message is: I need to continuously have permission from them. So, When Wynne chose the opt-out rather than the opt-in method, She failed. On opt-out, The default is you are going to hear the curriculum unless you pull yourself out. On opt-in, The default is you are not going to hear the curriculum unless you put yourself in the special class being offered. I suggest the opt-in, Not only as showing care for consent, But also a good model of education. Universities and high schools allow students to select among options of what classes they want to take. This should occur, To some extent, At the lower levels as well. Why not inform the students/parents that in two weeks there will be parallel units being taught for 40 minutes per day, One on feminist theories of gender identity, One on world religions, And one on computer programming (or whatever), Then let the parents/students select what they want to learn about. It seems clear to me what will be popular and what will not, But I am happy to let the chips fall where they may. This seems like a more consensual type of education experience, And it will prepare students for high school life as well.

Anyway, That should get us started. Feel free to take the discussion in whichever direction interests you most.

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Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by dfghdfhjrtygre 3 years ago




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