Ontario must replace outdated sex-ed curriculum

Ophea to crowdfund $200,000 for sex-ed public awareness

TORONTO, Oct. 10, 2013 /CNW/ - Today Ophea is calling upon Ontarians to support a new sex-ed public awareness project aimed at getting the provincial government to act now. Ontario students are running the risk of spending another year with an outdated Health and Physical Education (H&PE) curriculum that is now 15 years old. The Ontario government is stalling on updates to this curriculum despite numerous calls to action from parents, health professionals and educators.

Ophea aims to raise $200,000 with an innovative crowdfunding project and will use donations to place public service announcements (PSAs) in newspapers across Ontario. The PSAs will dispel myths around sexual health education by providing straightforward information on what the updated curriculum actually includes. Ophea hopes to rally parents and the public and draw attention to the urgent need for action. In turn, it aims to pressure the government to release the updated curriculum, especially at the high-school level.

"Ninety-three per cent of Ontario parents and a coalition of over 50 medical and education organizations support an updated H&PE curriculum" said Dr. James Mandigo, Associate Dean at the University of Brock and past president of Ophea. "The challenge is that Ontarians aren't receiving accurate information about the curriculum. Some media and a small minority of individuals have sensationalized sexual health education and we need to separate the facts from fiction."

"If this curriculum is not finalized for the 2014/2015 school year, a full cohort of students will graduate in 2015 without ever having had the benefit of learning from an updated, current, research-based curriculum," said Chris Markham, Executive Director and CEO, Ophea. "We want it to be clear, now is the time for the Ontario government to take a leadership role and bring forward the new curriculum that Ontario's students deserve."

In June 2013, Ophea and its 50 partner organizations called upon the Ontario government to account for stalling revisions of the 1998 H&PE curriculum. At a media conference Ophea released three studies showing that:

  • Ninety three per cent of Ontario parents are calling for an updated sexual health component to the H&PE curriculum;
  • Ontario's H&PE curriculum is the oldest in the country and does not meet the standards set by other provinces;
  • The withdrawn 2010  H&PE curriculum revisions for human development and sexual health are in line with programs in other provinces; and
  • Ontario's current H&PE curriculum is out of step with other provincial policies, such as the Accepting Schools Act and the Equity and Inclusive Education policy

In April 2010, the Ministry of Education withdrew the sex-ed section of the new elementary H&PE curriculum after misinformation was used to attack it. A few months later, the ministry also shelved the updated high-school H&PE curriculum in its entirety. Since then, teachers have been using a 15-year-old program for elementary sex-ed and all of high-school H&PE. These programs are the oldest curricula being taught in Canada and well behind the standards set in other provinces.

People interested in learning more and supporting the campaign can visit http://igg.me/at/OurRightToLearn

About Ophea
Ophea is a not-for-profit organization that champions healthy, active living in schools and communities through quality programs and services, partnerships and advocacy. Ophea's vision is that all children and youth will value and enjoy the lifelong benefits of healthy, active living. To learn more about Ophea visit www.ophea.net.


SOURCE: Ophea

For further information:

Media Contacts
Ruth Kates 
Marketing and Communications Leader
Ophea
ruth@ophea.org
416-426-7020

Chris Markham
Executive Director & CEO
Ophea
chris@ophea.org
416-409-3784

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