The school year has officially kicked off and for teachers, there is still confusion regarding the sex-ed curriculum.
The president of ETFO (Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario) Kawartha Pine Ridge Teachers Local, Shirley Bell, says about two weeks ago, school boards were mailed a document outlining what should be taught, with little notice.
“The government quietly directed boards to use a 2010 interim curriculum that is not widely known,” said Bell. “It was never distributed to teachers, so I think there’s some confusion because they have never had the ability to figure out, ‘OK, what’s the difference between the 2010 and the 2015?’ and there is no training,” said Bell.
WATCH: ETFO outlines next steps in fight over Ontario sex ed curriculum
Bell said the Liberal government was looking to revise the 1998 curriculum and created a document in 2010 but it was never used. Another version was then created in 2015.
“The main differences being there are things in the 2015 curriculum that are expectations that are expected to be taught and in the 2010 interim curriculum, they are just teacher prompts, so suggestions — if someone talks about this, you could have this conversation,” said Bell.
Bell says usually when a new curriculum is announced, teachers are given one year to prepare and review — not two weeks.
WATCH: Ford opens up website for parents to ‘snitch’ on teachers
She says teachers are also uncertain about the creation of the “snitch line.” It’s a line where parents or anyone can call to lodge a complaint they have in the classroom.
“That anonymous complaint can never be addressed fully and I think it leaves teachers really vulnerable to possibly bullying comments to being harassed in the workplace and it doesn’t actually solve a problem if there is a genuine problem in the school.”
ETFO is now fighting to keep the 2015 curriculum in place while they do the consultations about the new document. They are also fighting to eliminate the snitch line, saying it undermines their professionalism and responsibility in the classroom.
“I think our teachers are amazing. If we didn’t have the teachers dedicated to the work, we wouldn’t have an education system that works,” said Bell.