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happy news from The Miss G__ Project

January 8, 2009

Some of section15.ca’s favourite agents of change give us an update about what they’ve been doing, and the results of their efforts. Great news! Public schools in the province of Ontario are getting Women and Gender Studies and comprehensive early sex-ed programming. What next? Plenty. Here’s what they write:

women and gender studies: coming to a school near you!

Not too long ago (in Miss G__ time), we told you that – after three years of mobilizing, organizing, envelop-licking, ass-kicking, government-pestering and some court-jestering – we convinced the Ontario Ministry of Education to include a WGS course in the provincial curriculum. To seal the deal on an overall more equitable and inclusive curriculum, they’re also drawing up Equity and World Cultures courses, which is mighty fine by us.

Anyone hungry for more of the dirty details on the actual process and timeline can check out this article outlining what we’ve done so far, and (more importantly) what’s left to do:

external website iconThe Miss G__ Project, by SARAH GHABRIAL, Education Forum magazine, Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation

Basically, Miss G__’s done everything an advocacy group can, and right now it’s up to education professionals and other dedicated folks to take up the cause in a big way and move on the next steps:

  • a WGS subject council must be created to maintain the standards and relevance of the course, and to make sure it stays true to an intersectional approach that does not reproduce oppressions
  • school boards must approve and/or create professional development days on gender equity and feminist teaching
  • faculties of education must ensure their graduates meet woman-affirming and gender-critical teaching standards
  • women and gender studies departments must reach out both to faculties of education and to local school boards to create cross-disciplinary course work and research

If any of these important initiatives catch your fancy, please email us and let us know! It’s all on you now, sweet friends – the students of Ontario are depending on you! (No pressure or anything!)

themissgproject@gmail.com

because there’s no such thing as too much sex ed

The Ontario Ministry of Education seems to be on quite the curricular roll these days. It has recently moved to include some comprehensive/early sex-ed programming in the curriculum – starting in grade 6 – which is set to be rolled out by 2011. This coincides perfectly with the new WGS course that will be available province-wide at that time, which we think is downright providential.

Here’s an editorial written last month about the decision:

external website iconNew approach to sex ed, editorial, Toronto Star | December 29, 2008

However, awesome as this news is, there are still downsides that need critiquing, as has been pointed out by Xtra:

“But the report still recommends allowing parents to withdraw their children from classes teaching subjects they disagree with, such as homosexuality. It also contains no means of forcing teachers to learn about the subject matter.” — external website iconOntario Safe Schools Report calls for change, by KRISHNA RAO, Xtra | December 23, 2008

Miss G__ is thrilled by the news, but plans on bringing attention to these pitfalls to our contacts at the ministry. and if you have a bit of time, we think it would be a great idea if you all sent an email congratulating Minister Kathleen Wynne on the great stuff she and the ministry are up to, but asking her to reconsider aspects of the plan that are weak on tackling homophobia and transphobia in classrooms.

email Ontario Minister of Education Kathleen Wynne: kwynne.mpp@liberal.ola.org | info@kathleenwynne.com/

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