Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Strange Debate over Sex Education

I read in the news this week that leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, Patrick Brown (PCPO - Simcoe North) was caught in an embarrassing flip-flop on the sex education question. In short, Brown signed a letter in English and Chinese that was distributed to the riding of Scarborough-Rouge River, which is in the midst of a by-election, claiming to oppose the current curriculum. When questioned about this Brown disavowed the letter, saying it was a mistake.


I do not particularly care about Mr. Brown's policy reversal. I think it is rewarding that he intends to, at least for now, leave in the sex education curriculum. I really do not think those that oppose sex education actually care about sex education changes, they seem to oppose sex education in general. I went to dinner with a friend tonight who teaches in public school. She reminded me that the curriculum was last overhauled in the 1990s, and elements of it, including the section on growth and development was the same from the 1980s. Growth and development, you know, the things kids are going through and have the most questions about. It might be nice if teachers had some more up-to-date materials to work with.

I'm going to keep this brief. I do not see what leg opponents of sex education stand on. The program is voluntary. These parents can pull their students from the class with the understanding they will instruct them on these matters. The additions to the curriculum falls in line with how our schools and culture are changing more generally. Schools are attempting, at an institutional level, to be bastions of acceptance, or at least tolerance. It seems odd to endorse things like the Rainbow Coalition but not discuss what gender expression is.

North Americans have quite conservative notions about sex, in general. Sex is viewed in a pretty strange way, though I admit I share some of these more prudish tendencies. That said I hardly think going down the road that ignorance is preferable to knowledge is the right path. I hope governments continue to improve the curriculum rather than bow to the preferences of a vocal, squeamish minority

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