Whatever happened to …

… sex education?

Well, at least in Ontario.

You couldn’t pick up a newspaper or go online to any news site in Ontario and not read about Premier Ford delivering on one of his election promises and that was to revise the “sex-ed curriculum”.  At least, that’s the reference that you see in the news which helps sell advertising.  Learning about sexual health is actually part of the Health and Physical Education curriculum.  The 2015 revision is still on the Ministry of Education’s website here.  A page devoted to sex education can be found here.  Deborah Weston had blogged about the controversial 10% and it was featured in a This Week in Ontario Edublogs post here.

As you could imagine, this was big news.  A small collection of articles:

In terms of transparency, I tried to find positive articles about this change but was not successful.

I was even tagged in this post from Anthony Perrotta.  He sets the time context with dialup internet that was the norm in 1988

So, those who long for the good old days will get their wishes – at least until it can be revised.

I started to reminisce about my own learning in this and two memories came back.

  • In Sunday school, when about 12 or 13, the Minister’s wife was our teacher and it was kind of taught.  Mostly, I remember learning about this wonderful thing that would happen on my wedding night
  • The second memory is from formal education.  While we had talked about birds and bees and plants in elementary school, it wasn’t until either Grade 9 or Grade 10 when we actually had a health class and sex education was on the agenda.  Our class was all male – all with the level of maturity that comes with that age – and it was clear that our teacher would rather be teaching us basketball than this.  Of course, we adolescents didn’t make it easy for him.  I don’t remember specific content but I do remember lots of reel to reel movies

That was about it for my memories.  My parents had always made us respectful of others but I’m assuming that they left the actual nuts and bolts to either the church or the school.

It’s important to note that the document is not solely about sexual education.  There are lots of other things that have happened in our world since then – same sex marriage, sexting, …  The articles above nicely identify them as well.

For a Sunday morning, what are your thoughts?

  • Do you agree with the rolling back of the curriculum to 1998?  If this is successful, what other curriculum will get the same treatment?
  • Should schools be the ones to address this topic?  Or should parents step up?
  • What will a revised 2018 or 2019 Health and Physical Education document look like?
  • Are you expecting a rise in sexual problems or intolerance as a result of this move?
  • Do the birds and the bees need a formal curriculum?
  • What should teachers and Health and Physical Education consultants do with the resources that they’ve collected since 2015?
  • Regardless of how you feel about this particular topic, how do you feel about politicians that swiftly move to keep their campaign promises?

Now, you have to have an opinion about this!  How about leaving a comment below and share them.

And, don’t forget the good old days.

6 thoughts on “Whatever happened to …

  1. Doug, I so appreciate how you’ve approached this topic here. My recent blog post addresses this very same issue, so I won’t double up on the points, but I will say, this is a conversation still worth having. Hoping that others weigh in on this here.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. If it wasn’t for what I learned in school, I’d know nothing! My parents (I’m 46, married & have 2 children) have never used body part words, the words “sex” or rape, nor have we talked about abuse. Thank goodness for my grade 8 health teacher!

    I will be keeping all of my materials, though I have few because other people have been teaching health to my classes, and I’ll be integrating them elsewhere – media literacy, social studies, reading, etc.

    I don’t know what to expect in a revised document, but fear it will reflect a conservative view point with references to heterosexual relationships only, and nothing specific. With so many of our grade 7 & 8 students transitioning to 7-12 schools, I hope everyone keeps talking about wreckless behaviour, consent, and safe sex.

    I’m in a book club for a book called “Being the Change” by Sara K Ahmed. It’s about helping students build a positive self identity. I blogged this week about the curriculum changes and how I fear they set us back. I know that in the Twittersphere it seems everyone agrees with us, but if that were true, the NDP would be in charge of Ontario right now, and the queen would have been meeting with Madam President. Clearly there are people somewhere who must be glad for the changes that have already happened (and I’m not talking about that one outspoken guy we all know at church!) There might even be a few teachers happy about it. I’m equally concerned that repairs to buildings won’t happen. I’ll be teaching the 1998 curriculum in a building whose roof is even older than that, and it isn’t aging well.


    Finally, thanks for the video! I’m sure I must have seen something like it in my high school home economics class. We did a two week unit on dating with Mrs P, and looking back I’m quite sure she must have been stretching her curriculum boundaries in order to make sure we had information she thought was important.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Doug,
    I remember our class being taken to the library where we were shown a video of a bunch of boys in some North American city all skateboarding around on those small boards that used to be the fashion. Then one of the boys met a girl…

    Then we took a survey, I’m guessing to assess our prior knowledge. The only question I remember was whether or not you could catch V.D. from a toilet seat. I had no idea what V.D. was, but I was pretty sure you could. Grade school toilets were pretty disgusting things back then.

    And that’s all I remember…


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