Today in Doug Ford’s ongoing War on Progress, we learn that the Ontario government has launched a website “to give parents a portal to provide feedback about concerns related to the curriculum being taught in the classroom.”
Translation: A place where parents can narc on teachers who they believe are sensibly teaching sex-ed instead of reverting to the 1998 curriculum, as Doug Ford wishes.
A quick catch-up: in 2015, Ontario’s Liberal government introduced a more modern sex-ed curriculum. It introduced topics like bullying, sexting, same-sex relationships, and gender identity to the classroom. Reasonable stuff. But when Doug Ford’s PC government was elected into office earlier this year, it vowed to repeal the new curriculum. That means students will learn about sex the way it was taught the last time the curriculum published – in 1998 (with a few revisions in 2010). Most notably, the topic of consent is not part of the program.
Here’s a link to the website – fortheparents.ca – so you can be sure that this is real.
Doug Ford & the Minister of Ed calling on parents to file complaints against Teachers. Unprecedented, outrageous, and shameful! This is a blatant attack on the professionalism, the profession judgement, of teachers.#shame @@ETFOeducators @OFLabour @CanTeachersFed pic.twitter.com/T9jvOseSrz
— Sam Hammond (@etfopresident) August 22, 2018
Sam Hammond, tweeting above, is the President of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO).
While it’s perfectly normal to offer parents a way to give feedback on their child’s education, Ford’s rhetoric on the issue is concerning.
“We expect our teachers, principals and school board officials to fulfill their obligations to parents and children when it comes to what our students learn in the classroom,” Ford said. “We will not tolerate anybody using our children as pawns for grandstanding and political games. And, make no mistake, if we find somebody failing to do their job, we will act.” It’s unclear exactly what this “acting” will look like.
In addition to the website, Ontario is creating a public interest committee for “ensuring curriculum-based misconduct issues are fairly dealt with at the [Ontario College of Teachers].” On a related note, Ford has led a controversial effort to cut Toronto City Council in half.