為什麼要反對安省新版性教育課程

謝安國牧師(銀禧社社長)

一. 性教育課程內容有許多過早及過份露骨的內容,例如:一年級(五至六歲)就介紹生殖器官,三年級介紹十分複雜的概念如性取向(sexual orientation),性別身份認同(gender identity),四年級談到約會,七年級提到不同的性行為等等。

二. 2010年的課程修訂因為家長大力反對而收回,當時政府答應會作出詳細咨詢。去年十一月,省府宣佈進行對省內4000家長的咨詢,填寫一份問卷調查。這份問卷調查根本沒有提及任何實質的課程,基本是用作支持省府作出修訂的支持。其實,真正的咨詢是公佈內容,讓家長和公眾可以直接的發展意思,省府聽取後再作出修訂才落實。

三. 有人說:家長可以行使孩子豁免權-家長若不喜歡,可以通知學校,不讓孩子上課。這是不負責任的說法。省府是選民選出來的,省教育廳的責任就是發揮領導作用,藉著咨詢家長,達成共識,與家長合作,讓孩子得到最好的教育。

四. 有人說:安省的性教育已經很多年了,已經落伍了,不能應對新時代的挑戰,必須更新。這個我們是同意的。正因為這是關乎我們孩乎的性觀念,至為重要,更加不能急進,多用一年時間,又有何妨,重要的事,花多一點時間把它做好,比草率了事好得多。

五. 有人說:我們這些反對的家長是"恐同"(homophobic),都是因為恐懼同性戀的概念所以反對性教育課程修訂。這指控是不對的,須知我們反對的性教育課程內容,是因為它過早,在小孩子心智還未成熟時,把不恰當的概念教授。我們同意性教育應介紹不同家庭組合,不同性行為,不同性身份認同等概念,但必須要在孩子心智能領會的年齡階段來教。若當他們心智未成熟時就教授,這和洗腦有什麼區別呢?

六. 有人說:家長反應過敏了,這只是課程大綱,內容有不少都是建議性的,不是定案。這是明白寫在課程內的東西啊,怎麼又說不可當真呢?那什麼是真?什麼不是真?這可令家長迷糊了,我們花時間去讀課程修訂,仔細的去分析,都是為了孩子的教育。我們看到那些教師和學生的對話內容建議,就產生很大的憂慮。省府教育廳不是有責任澄清嗎?

Myths and Facts about the Anti-Sex Education Movement

Rev. Dominic Tse

Since the release of the Ontario 2015 revised Sex Ed Curriculum late February, a grass root movement of opposition has been gathering steam.  Since March, members of this movement organized protests at various Government-led info sessions, at community events where Premier Kathleen Wynn attended, and staged a major rally at Queen’s Park on April 14, where thousands (different media outlets’ estimates ranged from 2000 to 5000 people) of parents, grandparents protested the implementation of the 2015 revised Sex Ed curriculum this coming September.

Moreover, representatives of this movement attended numerous forums, media interviews and debates, to express their opposition to the 2015 revised Sex Ed Curriculum. Their voice was loud and clear. However, the government has so far failed to adequately engage these parents, but instead branded the movement as driven by people who were ill-informed, backward-thinking, anger-driven, unreasonable, fuelled and coached by Conservatives. It was this condescending attitude on the part of the government that has stalled any dialogue and engagement with the movement.

Myth1: They were ill-informed.

Fact 1:  In a recent Forum held in York Region, the first speaker was given the task to present the Sex Ed Curriculum and could have used a more fact-based approach by simply presenting the data, namely, the actual contents of the controversial parts that the opposing parents abhorred. However, the speaker chose to adopt a condescending attitude by asking for a show of hands from those who have actually read the curriculum, not some interpretations. An overwhelming majority of parents raised their hands, showing that these parents were not ill-informed. Most of them were not born in Canada and spoke English with an accent. However, thanks to immigration policy adopted by the Federal government, which placed education as a high priority, these new Canadians are elites in their Country of origin and possessed a high level of skills in research and critical thinking. They spent hours going through the entire curriculum, researched the relevant criminal codes, and conducted extensive research on comprehensive sex education in other provinces and US jurisdictions. Their presentation was highly informative, reasonable, supported by data and research materials. To call them as ill-informed and misled is simply an insult.

Myth 2: They are against Sex Ed and against updating Sex Ed.

Fact 2: In the Forum, many speakers who spoke in support of the government’s curriculum spend a great deal of time, either from personal experience as educator, as sexual health nurse, or as researcher, to support the notion that Sex Ed is necessary and critical to our youth’s well-being. Their assumption is that parents are all reluctant to talk to their children about sex and that the school must step in to fill in the void. This assumption underpinned much of comprehensive sex education for decades. However, the parents who were present in the forum presented a fundamental challenge to this long-held assumption. Most of these parents were born in the 70s, 80s, even early 90s, children who basically grew up in the front of the computer, internet, and were the first adaptors of communication technologies. They expressed again and again that they were ready to talk to children about sex, according to their own religion, values and worldviews. They were not against sex education or updating the Sex Ed curriculum. Their objection was against the value system and the materials presented in the 2015 revision.

Myth 3: The movement was orchestrated by the Conservatives

Fact 3: Numerous news organizations branded the April 14 protest as orchestrated by the Conservatives or Conservative organizations. While it was true that several Progressive Conservative MPPs spoke at the rally on April 14, and some of the people in the movement may be members of the Conservative Party, provincial or Federal, it is totally untrue to call the protest movement a Conservatives-orchestrated movement. The movement was born shortly after the 2015 revised Sex Ed curriculum was released in late February. Many members of the organizing committee were previously not involved in politics. They were motivated by real concerns for their children after studying the curriculum in details. Seeing some members of the Conservatives present in the movement and then drawing the conclusion that it is a Conservative-orchestrated movement is a clear sign of a logical fallacy.

Myth 4: The movement is irrational and filled with anger

Fact 4: Yes, there is anger, but not from irrational fears or manipulations. The movement studied the curriculum carefully and decided to oppose. It was a very rational process. They were angry because they felt betrayed, ridiculed, and ignored by the government. In 2010, when then Premier Dalton McGinty pulled the 2010 revision, he promised to do a better job in consulting the parents. In November 2014, instead of doing a thorough consultation process, the government announced that only 4000 parents would participate in a survey, without even releasing the contents of the curriculum. In late February, 2015, the government released the 2015 revised curriculum and announced that it will be implemented in September, without bothering to release the result of the so-called survey of 4000. This is definitely not consultation, and the parents have a right to be angry about the process. Their anger was further fuelled by the condescending tone in the government’s presentation of the new curriculum.

Myth 5: It is impossible to let every parent be part of the consultation process

Fact 5: In this day and age, it is definitely possible to allow all parents to participate in a province wide consultation process on this curriculum. Taking a cue from the Toronto Casino consultation, the provincial government should develop a website that allows all parents to comment on specifics of the curriculum. Numerous town hall meetings in major cities throughout the province can be held to solicit inputs from parents. A panel chaired by a respected individual, e.g. a retired judge, would then compile the inputs and then release a report. Parents or representatives of parent organization should be given seats in this panel. Then the Ministry of Education should finalize the curriculum based on the report. There is no reason why this process cannot be completed within a year.

The government should stop evading the issue, which will not go away, simply because it is education, a day-to-day concerns parents must deal with. The government cannot continue to ignore the concerns, which are very real, and should start engage the parents as partners.