A proposal by Manitoba teachers for sweeping inclusion of sexual-orientation issues throughout education curricula would likely be a first for Canada, maybe for the U.S. too.
"I certainly am not aware of any" such broad measures in any other jurisdiction, said Carolyn Duhamel, Manitoba School Boards Association executive director.
"I expect most school boards don't know it's out there. Obviously, it's something we'd have to give some thought to," Duhamel said.
The Manitoba Teachers' Society executive wants its 15,000 members to endorse a resolution calling on the province to "ensure that same-sex families and LBGTTQ people and themes are reflected in all curricula."
The MTS holds its annual general meeting May 23 to 25.
"Any curriculum change is generally a long process" that can take years to develop material and incorporate it into each year of a subject, let alone all subjects, said Duhamel. "That's a fairly lengthy and complex process."
However, she said, it may be that if approved by the MTS and accepted by the province, teachers could have some flexibility in designing lesson plans that work in the themes the MTS wants, which would be a shorter process. "If you're talking about integrating themes of learning, they have some latitude in what they choose to get to those learning outcomes," she said.
Provincial curricula must be followed by all Manitoba schools, public and private. The Manitoba Federation of Independent Schools has not responded to an interview request. Opposition education critic Kelvin Goertzen (Steinbach) was not available Thursday.
Thursday's Free Press story, which broke news of the teachers' impending policy vote, set off an online firestorm, with 565 responses posted on the WFP website by Thursday evening.
-- kefri: "In other news, math class will now be a 5 minute slide show in between a lecture on global warming/sky falling environmentalism 101 and anti-bullying social justice reform class. Because, really, in the NDP utopia that we are headed towards, jobs skills really are not that important. Who needs to read as long as we all feel properly guilty for being white, straight, Canadians!"
-- Nicholas James: "This is fantastic news. A more inclusive picture of society is a great step. This isn't an agenda or some trick to 'turn kids gay'. This is an accurate reflection of society. Way to go MTS!"