Ontarians: Do you really want your kids to learn about sex from Google, YouTube and Yahoo Answers?

Sometimes in a democracy, it’s tempting to think that every major policy change comes about because of a government’s ideological bias or because the government of the day has friends it wants to reward.

Such a view, however, underestimates the extent to which policy changes originate in this country not from the politicians or their supporters, but from analyses and consultations that started in a certain government department and eventually resulted in a set of recommendations being presented to the minister in charge.

Policy changes that originate from within a department are usually based on solid research, and might have involved looking at what has worked and what hasn’t worked in other jurisdictions — the type of research that politicians and their office staff lack the time and expertise to do.

That kind of process was almost certainly what was behind the controversial changes to Ontario’s sexual education curriculum, which were supposed to take effect in the fall of 2010, that premier Dalton McGuinty’s government shelved today amid controversy. As the Globe and Mail reported today (April 22, 2010):

The new curriculum, outlined in 208 pages that were quietly posted on the Ministry of Education’s website in January, would for the first time have taught Grade 3 pupils about such topics as sexual identity and orientation, and introduce terms like “anal intercourse” and “vaginal lubrication” to children in Grades 6 and 7. The new curriculum was set to begin in Grade 1 with lessons about the proper names of body parts.
The changes were part of a regular review of Ontario’s physical education and health curriculum, which hasn’t been updated since 1998. They went nearly unnoticed until a Christian group, led by evangelist Charles McVety, threatened to pull its children from school.

Only Ontario’s education ministry can confirm or deny this, but these changes — the first to Ontario’s sex ed program since 1998 — are likely due to a need to combat the use of the Internet as a source of misinformation.

Based on my own recollections, the timing seems about right: it probably was about Grade 3 or so that we started telling dirty jokes and using crude terms in the playground, and we knew a heck of a lot more detail by Grade 6, regardless of whether or not it was in the curriculum. (The Internet boom was a decade into the future at that time.)

Some of those more colourful details will continue to be officially unspeakable in the Ontario educational curriculum. With the exception of those kids who lack both friends and an Internet connection at home, those details will continue to be available for Ontario’s young men and women here…

Source #1: Google

Here…

Source #2: YouTube

And here…

Source #3: Yahoo! Answers

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About theviewfromseven
A lone wolf and a bit of a contrarian who sometimes has something to share.

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