OTTAWA, Ontario, February 9, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A pro-family think tank is raising alarm bells in a new report about Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s controversial equity and inclusive education (EIE) strategy, saying that it weakens both freedom and equality.
The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada warns in a report that the EIE strategy and McGuinty’s new anti-bullying bill promote intolerance by creating a hierarchy of victims, and risk promoting activism through the classroom.
Noting the government’s EIE documents call for students to move “beyond tolerance to acceptance and respect,” author Peter Jon Mitchell writes, “If tolerance is the respectful interaction of diverse viewpoints, then moving beyond it to acceptance will constrict both freedom and equality in Ontario schools.”
“Diversity will only flourish in Ontario schools when students are encouraged to respectfully interact with different thoughts and opinions,” he writes.
The EIE strategy, launched in 2009, requires school boards across the province to adopt equity policies that recognize special rights for homosexuals. It sparked a strong backlash from moral conservatives and led to the government’s decision to force schools, Catholic and public, to allow gay-straight alliance clubs.
For his part, Mitchell expresses concern that the Ministry of Education is using the classroom to promote “social reform” rather than to impart knowledge and skills. He warns that the EIE strategy “provides greater latitude for activist educators and special interest groups.”
The strategy encourages schools to build partnerships with community groups, he notes, which he says is beneficial in itself but has often proven “problematic” in practice.
He points out, for example, that the Ministry of Education caused controversy in 2007 when they partnered with the Tides Canada Foundation to show Al Gore’s The Inconvenient Truth in classrooms across the province.
Many parents and educators have also been concerned that McGuinty’s government has partnered with homosexual activist groups to promote the EIE strategy in the school boards.
A key problem with such partnerships, Mitchell says, is that they grant the groups “unquestioned legitimacy” in the eyes of students.
“Parents should be asking what role activism plays in education and whose views are represented in the classroom,” Mitchell writes. “Special interest and community groups have a role in school, but students should not be coerced to participate in activism or activities that compromise their own beliefs and positions.”
According to Mitchell, McGuinty’s anti-bullying bill is problematic because it would codify a simplistic definition of bullying based on stereotypes.
“The definition assumes bullying is unilateral and from a stereotypical position of privilege directed to a minority or position of real or perceived limitation,” he writes. “This isn’t always the case as there are also low status bullies who are simultaneously victims of bullying themselves. The proposed government definition does not recognize this bullying dynamic.”
He notes also that in the bill the government “seized the opportunity to strong-arm Catholic boards by specifically mandating gay/straight alliance clubs in all schools where students request them.”
Find the Institute of Marriage and Family’s full report here.