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Education minister gives confusing interview about sex-ed curriculum

Last Updated Jul 26, 2018 at 8:21 pm EDT

The Ford government’s scrapping of the 2015 sex education curriculum has led to confusion leading up to the new school year regarding what children in the province will be taught.

The government has stated that teachers will be reverting to the “2014” curriculum, despite the fact that it was  crafted in 1998 — long before topics like cyber-bullying and gender-identity became prominent issues.

Education Minister Lisa Thompson originally created confusion by saying only parts of the current curriculum would be scrapped. She later backpedaled and acknowledged that the full document would be cast aside.

Since then, Thompson has been difficult to track down, but CityNews spoke to her briefly at Queen’s Park on Thursday, hoping to find some clarity on the crucial issue.

During the brief interview, Thompson continually referred to the “2014” curriculum and upcoming public consultations.

When asked how the province would deal with defiant school boards and teachers who have vowed to continue teaching the 2015 curriculum, she would only say that she had confidence that teachers would utilize the curriculum from “2014.”

Here’s a transcript of the interview.

Q: Okay straighten out the confusion about what curriculum is going to be taught in September?

A: In September teachers will be using the 2014 curriculum.

Q: But that’s based on the 1998 curriculum, it’s the same curriculum is it not?

A: Teachers are going to be familiar with the curriculum they are using because they utilized it in 2014.

Q: But it’s the 1998 curriculum. There is no such thing as the 2014 curriculum is there? Or can you provide that for us?

A: What we are going to be doing is asking teachers to use the 2014 curriculum as we embark on the most comprehensive consultation this province has ever seen when it comes to education. We made a campaign promise to respect parents and we are going to be doing that.

Q: There is no such thing as the 2014 curriculum. It’s the same curriculum that was taught in 1998 am I not correct?

A: The curriculum in 2014, teachers will be very used to…

Q: We are going around in circles. Are kids going to be taught about same sex and sexually transmitted diseases and everything else they were taught in 2015?

A: As I mentioned, in the fall we are going to be embarking on the most comprehensive consultation this province has ever seen. We heard from tens of thousands of people across this province during the campaign that they were not consulted and we are going to honour our campaign promise and respect parents and consult with them.

Q: So teachers that have vowed to continue teaching the most recent curriculum is there going to be any action against them?

A: I encourage them to become involved in the consultations. This is going to be the most comprehensive consultation that Ontario has ever seen and I encourage anyone who wants to share their perspective to do so.

Q: But I asked the question about teachers that are going to continue teaching the curriculum that was (in place) before you became minister of education, will there be anything to say to them or any sort of discipline?

A: I have every confidence that teachers will be utilizing the curriculum from 2014 because they are familiar with it and we will also be embarking on the most comprehensive consultation and in encourage them to get involved…”

Q: Okay, I’m confused now, the 2014 curriculum is…the teachers are confused. What do you have to say to a teacher who is confused about what they are going to teach in September?

A: In September teachers are going to be utilizing the 2014 curriculum and I will be encouraging every person in this province who would like to share their perspective to do so in terms of the comprehensive consultation that we will be embarking on this fall.