On his show Last Week Tonight last Sunday, John Oliver turned his attention to the stunning lack of uniformity and accuracy among varying sex education courses across the United States. As fate would have it, the debate here in Ontario about our own reformed sex ed curriculum heated up again this week, but we’ll leave it to Oliver to explain why it’s essential.
The reason why the sex ed debate came up in Ontario again this week is because one Ontario MPP, Progressive Conservative Monte McNaughton, was attacked by both Premier Kathleen Wynne and Education Minister Liz Sandals for supposedly advocating that parents opposed to the new sex ed curriculum should take their kids out of school. McNaughton was invited by the Parents Alliance of Ontario to speak at an information session about home schooling at an event in London.
“For an MPP at Queen’s Park … to be at a sort of ‘how to withdraw your kids from school’ seems pretty outrageous to me,” Wynne told the Torstar News Service.
“It really shines a light on the different value systems … I believe that updating our health and education curriculum, supporting kids in our publicly funded schools to be safe, to have the information they need is very important,” she added.
McNaughton insisted that he wasn’t advocating that parents should remove their kids from the Ontario public school system, although, “I stand with Ontario’s parents and support their individual choices. On matters like this, parents should be the first educator for their children,” he added in an e-mail statement.
In the end, the Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP might not have been at the PAO event to endorse the idea that parents should take their kids out of school if they oppose sex, but a flyer for the event did affirm that “thousands of Ontario parents are worrying about the upcoming sex education” and that home-schooling their kids to avoid it is an option. McNaughton was one of the most outspoken opponents to the new curriculum when it was released last spring.
Any arguing about whether or not to take the kids out of school may be moot though. The bigger threat to education this fall is a labour disruption among teachers as uncertainty about securing a new contract before the new school year grows. Presently, all the major teachers unions are back at the bargaining table, but there’s no guaranteed that agreements will be in place when the school year begins on September 8.