By: Kevin Seguin
It's September, and school has already started here in Ontario Canada, where I am from. Once again, parents find themselves talking about, fretting over, or outright protesting the "new" Health and Physical Education curriculum. Sorry: "The SEX-ED curriculum". It's been a simmering issue since it was released, and with so many kids entering school for the first time, it's worth going over again. Some time ago I wrote a pretty lengthy review of both the objections to the curriculum and the facts about what is actually in it. At the time I was pastoring in a small church and the goal was simply to educate and stem the tide of fear-mongering that was building up around the issue; I intentionally tried not to editorialize.
It appears now, though, that protesters and people who ignore facts when forming an opinion are at it again. This time, in the words of Ottawa Citizen columnist David Reevley: "cherry picking and distorting" elements of the 245 page document "at the expense of the children the demonstrators say they’re desperate to protect." I couldn't agree more. Since I wrote my initial post I've spoken to a number of educators. In those conversations, I've learned one very important thing: Curricula are SUPER subjective. Leaving aside the fact that committed evangelical teachers will likely teach this course differently than, say, a committed Atheist, every teacher will teach this course differently. That's the nature of how curricula are written; there's broad room for interpretation by a teacher. Some teachers may teach in a way that is thoughtful, tolerant, and sensitive to each of their students. Others may, in fact, be the nightmare scenario that the fear-mongers at Campaign Life Coalition are afraid of.
Whatever is a conscientious, Christian parent to do?
My daughter is starting SK (in a public school) and my wife has been serving on the PTA from the get-go. We are looking forward to another year with teachers and a principal who have shown care and tolerance of us in all of our interactions so far. Our hope is to continue building relationships and partnering with them as co-educators of our kids. They get my kids for roughly 30 hours a week to teach them. I get them the other 138. Anyone who thinks teachers have more influence on worldview than parents is failing as a parent. Every educator I spoke with wishes (Prays even!) that the parents of the kids in their class did this. Besides, it gives you a chance to be a good witness for the Gospel.
Good parents are involved parents. You have more influence on who your kids become and what they believe than any school board, but you have to exercise it. The alternative is shipping your kids off to school to be educated by their teachers alone and abdicating your role in the home. If you do that, you've already lost them and it won't be any curriculum's fault.
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