With students preparing to head back to school, the provincial government has announced parents will soon have the opportunity to voice their opinions on what kind of curriculum their children should be taught in school.
The province-wide public consultation will include online input and telephone town halls in every region.
Parents will have the chance to have their voices heard on topics like math, science, job skills, financial literacy, cannabis legalization, mental health, sex-ed, and ways to improve standardized testing, among others.
This input will be used to shape the Education Ministry’s decisions for the 2019-2020 school year.
During the consultation period, teachers will use a revised interim curriculum, which will include a health and physical education curriculum used from 1995 to 2014.
Ford has since issued a warning to teachers considering whether to teach the current sex-ed curriculum introduced by former premier Kathleen Wynne in 2015, saying the province “will act” if a teacher fails to do their job.
The modernized sex-ed program, which has been referred to as “controversial,” is opposed by social conservatives, covers topics like sexual orientation, same-sex relationships, sexting, and consent.
“We expect our teachers, principals, and school board officials to fulfil their obligations to parents and children when it comes to what our students learn in the classroom,” Ford said.
“We will not tolerate anybody using our children as pawns for grandstanding and political games. And, make no mistake, if we find somebody failing to do their job, we will act.”
Earlier this month, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) denounced the provincial government’s decision to repeal the current sex-ed curriculum and advised teachers to continue exercising their professional judgment when it comes to teaching all sections of the current curriculum.
No specific penalties have been mentioned, however, ETFO has said it would “vigorously defend” any educator who continues using the modern sex-ed curriculum.
Ford also announced the government is also drafting a “Ministry of Education Parents’ Bill of Rights” to “ensure that the rights of parents are respected throughout and following the reform process.”