Musings —02.23.2015 08:25 AM—
If Sun News Network was still among the living, I’d have several chase producers asking me on today, to talk about the Ontario government’s new sexual education curriculum.
Lala and I had a vigorous debate about all of this yesterday morning, over espresso. For your reading (dis)pleasure, I summarize my main points below.
- A qualifier, to acknowledge that what I experienced wasn’t what my peers experienced: I’m a doctor’s son. Me and my brothers were having very open discussions about sex with our parents from an early age. What they taught us, right from the start, was the importance of respect (for your partner) and knowledge (for yourself).
- Another qualifier: I don’t know what is in today’s announcement. There were leaks to select media over the weekend, but we don’t know if those leaks are reliable, and if they represent the full picture. I suspect they don’t.
- That all said, I offer the following.
- The debate has already started to follow the same bullshit trajectory that these things always follow – Left-Right, conservative-progressive, blab blah blah. It’s a bunch of adults hollering at each other, while the kids sit largely on the sidelines, watching it all like it’s an ideological tennis match. Or not watching at all.
- Personally, I favour the curriculum being very comprehensive, for the obvious reasons: teen pregnancies, STDs, sexual assaults, ignorance, discrimination. All of those reasons, and more.
- But what I think doesn’t really matter. What matters is what the kids think, because the curriculum is aimed at them. And I am willing to bet that no shortage of adult experts, and adult educators, and adult academics, and adult parents were consulted. But the kids, not so much.
- Thus, my point: the sex ed debate should be about technology, not ideology. Because our kids aren’t waiting for us to have our little ideological debate. They have been on the Internet for years, being exposed to notions about sex that are neither respectful nor knowledgeable.
- I almost don’t care, therefore, what is in the curriculum. What I care about is that kids are able to access it, and explore it, in a way that works for them, ie., the Internet. The Internet is private and modern; a teacher in the classroom is neither.
- Put the new curriculum all over the Internet. Make it creative and interactive and relevant. Make it ubiquitous enough to help overwhelm the harmful, hateful shit that is out there.
- And, yes, of course, teach it in the classroom, too. But use Lala’s idea: have teams of impressive, energetic, smart young people go into classrooms to teach it. Not Palaeolithic old farts who the kids already see as irrelevant.
Kids who aren’t even in school yet are regularly accessing sexually explicit stuff that old farts like me (and perhaps you) didn’t even see, or hear about, until we were adults. The world has changed, duh.
The sex ed curriculum needs to change with it. It needs to be for, and about, the intended audience. Not a bunch of old people who haven’t had intercourse since Nixon was president. Technology, not ideology: that’s the key.
— Warren Kinsella (@kinsellawarren) February 22, 2015