File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / oksun70File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / oksun70

Union Stands By Teachers Despite Threats From Ford

The union representing local public elementary teachers is refusing to abide by Doug Ford's sex-ed curriculum changes.

On Thursday, Lambton Kent Elementary Teachers' Federation (LKETFO) President Laurel Liddicoat-Newton told Blackburn News the union will stand by its decision to defend teachers who use the modernized curriculum.

Ford announced Wednesday there would be consequences for educators who continue to use the 2015 version put in place by the former Liberal government. The Conservatives are instructing teachers to use an interim sex-ed curriculum from 2014 while extensive consultations on a new curriculum are held.

Liddicoat-Newton says the 2014 version is actually from 1998, and that it's missing so much about what kids need to learn in 2018.

She says the current 2015 curriculum provides educators with the necessary tools to teach their students.

"It was developed in consultation with the ministry, over 4,000 parents, students, teachers, faculties of education, universities, colleges, more than 70 health-related organizations, and thousands of people who provided feedback," says Liddicoat-Newton.

Premier Ford also announced parents will be able to report teachers for using the 2015 curriculum, a system critics are calling a "snitch line."

Liddicoat-Newton says this system could only damage the relationship between teachers, students and parents.

"Having a ministry of education snitch line that bypasses those systems already in place to deal with issues at the school level will prohibit parents and educators from addressing classroom concerns constructively," she says. "As we've seen from social media, anonymous portals, and comment threads, these are toxic, counterproductive, they will not improve any situation, and in this case, will damage school culture."

Liddicoat-Newton says in order to resolve the issue, the Tories need to let teachers use their professional judgement. She says going back and eliminating something that was working is ridiculous.

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