Latest Update: Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star may have a point about why Premier McGuinty and his Liberal caucus scrapped the sex education curriculum after only 54 hours. He may indeed be worried that Ontario voters have had enough. Well, I know this Ontarian definitely has had enough. As DiManno writes:
“One can only imagine how severe the backlash must have been for McGuinty to reverse himself just 54 hours after strongly defending the merits of a new curriculum that had been formulated during two years of consultation. The contents were available online for several months but had disappeared by Friday: Poof, gone.
Scrapping the endeavour, with a promise to more fully engage parents in formulating the next “rethink’’ blueprint, might be seen as a victory for populist opposition. Conversely, it also reveals a government weak at the knees, anxious to appease an electorate that just might be angry enough to punish at the polls, even if that means turning turtle on some core beliefs. [My italics]
First Update: Premier McGuinty backs down on changes to sex education curriculum. Proof positive that if criticism and complaining is loud and clear, Ontarians can get results. More also at Blue Like You and the comment thread.
Original post begins here: This post is about Ontario Liberal Premier McGuinty’s new sex education curriculum.It needs to be scrapped for at least two reasons: (1) children at ages 7 and 8 are not ready for such abstract concepts; and (2) it is going to provoke a religious backlash. Meaning, that Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak’s comment that it simply needs to be re-studied seems to miss those two points.
(1) On the first point, we have a century of child development research and theories about how children learn and at what stages they learn it. Did the Ontario Ministry of Education or the team who wrote this curriculum not use any of that data? Here, for starters, are just a few links to some relevant sources: Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, the actual stages of cognitive development, plus this Google source.
The point is that children at the Grade 3 level are moving back and forth between pre-operations and concrete operations. Sex education and all the concepts connected to that subject would clearly require a child to be able to think abstractly, make inferences and draw conclusions. In fact, that stage of learning doesn’t happen until between ages 10 and 12, or even well after age 12.
So, when concepts and skills are presented too early, what will happen is that teachers and community speakers will get children who take things literally. The result? Children will become insecure, anxious and have nightmares. And why? Because the McGuinty government wants to be politically correct and seen as equitable by presenting, not only what sexual abuse looks like (which could be done in Health education) but about gender identity concepts as well.
(2) Second, there are the religious issues and clearly, the way the sex education curriculum is being forced on schools shows a complete lack of respect for the electorate and public stakeholders (e.g., those in the Catholic system).
In fact, given what we have heard and read recently about how parents will have to accept the full-day JK/SK program or keep their children at home, the McGuinty government has clearly become so union friendly and gone so far to the left they have moved completely off the page.
So, it’s long past time for a change. It’s also time that the Ontario PC Party fought these issues with some real leadership and gusto. I supported Tim Hudak’s leadership. I still support him. But, I want him and his caucus to know that they are not going to win the 2011 October election by simply not being the McGuinty government.
Ontarians need a real honest to goodness conservative choice. And, they need to embrace the Harris connection rather than fearing the Harris-Lite connection. As such, they need to put out advertisements to remind Ontarians what good the Harris government did. They also need to be on the offensive and put out ads debunking all the fearmongering the McGuinty government and the teachers’ unions have done about the Harris government.
McGuinty’s new sex education curriculum is just one more reason Ontarians need a PC government.