Teachers, province to meet

But changes to school curricula won't happen overnight: Allan

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Education Minister Nancy Allan will meet within six months with teachers to hear why they want all education curricula to reflect sexual-orientation themes and issues.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/05/2013 (3417 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Education Minister Nancy Allan will meet within six months with teachers to hear why they want all education curricula to reflect sexual-orientation themes and issues.

But nothing will change any time soon.

“The most important thing for us right now is to have safe and caring school environments for LGBTQ youth,” said Allan, who knew the Manitoba Teachers’ Society would be dealing with a huge hot potato at its convention this past weekend.

Joe Bryksa / Winnipeg Free Press Education Minister Nancy Allan says the department's priority is safe and caring school environments for LGBTQ students.

Deal with it the teachers union did, overwhelmingly endorsing a motion the province ensure same-sex families and issues and themes of sexual orientation and gender identity are reflected in all curricula.

Allan cautioned any possible change to provincial curricula will not happen quickly.

“Curriculum change can take years,” Allan said.

“It’s all about young people in our public and private education system,” Allan said. “We want them to feel safe at school. We want them to reach their potential.”

MTS president Paul Olson said Sunday teachers don’t want an ‘absurd’ overnight overhaul of all curricula — the profession wants the government to give consent to teachers to let them teach kids the reality of the world in which they live, and it wants the government to have the teachers’ backs while they’re doing it.

Allan said she’ll talk to the teachers about their resolution, but her priority is getting anti-bullying Bill 18 enacted before classes start in September.

Allan announced Monday Manitoba is partnering with Egale Canada Human Rights Trust to provide students with resources to establish gay-straight alliances in their schools — a right Bill 18 would guarantee.

Based in Toronto, Egale Canada Human Rights Trust is Canada’s only national charity promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans human rights through research, education and community engagement.

Egale has already partnered with Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador to develop education resource kits.

Allan said the resources will be available to both public and funded, independent schools in the 2013-14 school year in both English and French.

Allan also said the number of GSAs in Manitoba has grown quickly during the past three years. In 2009, there were only two in the province but by 2012 there were approximately 35 and there are now about 60 in operation or in the process of being developed this year.

‘The most important thing for us right now is to have safe and caring school environments for LGBTQ youth’

As for the resolution from the teachers union, Allan said, “When it comes to curriculum, we are focused on improving the quality of education in Manitoba schools to improve student academic achievement,” Allan said.

“We are doing this by making it a priority to improve math and language arts curriculums. We are also making it a priority to improve education in the sciences. Students across Manitoba are learning in brand-new science labs because of infrastructure investments made by the provincial government,” said Allan.

“I am always talking to education partners about their priorities and will be discussing this and a number of other of MTS’s priorities with them in the near future. However, my top priorities right now are the passage of Bill 18 and improving the academic achievement of Manitoba’s students so they are prepared to succeed in the future,” Allan said.

The opposition Tories said they don’t comment on what unions put forward.

“If and when the government puts forward a policy, we will comment on that,” said an aide to leader Brian Pallister.

bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

 

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Updated on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 7:59 AM CDT: replaces photo

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