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Ontarians trust doctors, academics — but not religious leaders — when it comes to sex-ed

Ontarians trust doctors, academics — but not religious leaders — when it comes to sex-ed
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They don’t trust religious and community leaders, their children’s friends or the internet, gleaned during the Ford government’s consultations on education.

Those consultations — launched last fall — led to last week’s major announcement from Education Minister Lisa Thompson that saw changes to class sizes and initiatives on “back to basics” math instruction , science/technology education, promotion of the skilled trades, among others.

Regarding sex-ed, 91 per cent of respondents said consent should be taught and 94 per cent said “medical terms for body parts” should also be a part of the curriculum, says the report of aggregate data .

Some 68 per cent said gender identity/gender expression should be included, with 30 per cent saying it should not.

(The government has now moved such discussion to Grade 8, but says it will be opt-outable despite concerns about human rights obligations raised by school boards.)

Almost three-quarters of respondents said sexual orientation should be covered in the curriculum, with one-quarter opposing it.

Thirteen per cent of those taking part in the online survey said contraception should not be taught.

The government’s consultations also found that about 84 per cent of parents who responded to a question about math spend time helping their children with math at home, and about 40 per cent have hired a tutor.

As for standardized testing, 31 per cent respondents thought it should continue as is — testing literacy and numeracy in Grades 3 and 6, math in Grade 10 and a mandatory literacy test in Grade 10 — and 29 per cent say the tests should be done away with.

Fourteen per cent wanted more EQAO tests, and 18 per cent voted for less frequently.

The consultations — which included telephone town halls and online surveys and submissions — garnered responses from a total of 72,000, though the number of responses to particular questions varied widely.
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