WATCH: Doug Ford vows to replace sex-ed, math curricula
Doug Ford says he will scrap and replace Ontario's sex-ed curriculum and Discovery Math program, and tie post-secondary funding to free speech if he's elected premier in the spring election.
The Progressive Conservative leader announced three education promises Tuesday, ahead of Wednesday's official start to the provincial election campaign, saying that under Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne "schools have been turned into social laboratories."
Ford wouldn't say what parts of the sex-ed curriculum he takes issue with, only that parents were not consulted enough and that many of them feel that it teaches "too much, too early".
The curriculum, which was updated in 2015 for the first time since 1998, includes warnings about online bullying and sexting, but protesters have zeroed in on discussions of same-sex marriage, masturbation and gender identity.
Ford vowed to return to the 1998 model until a new sex-ed curriculum is developed with consultation from parents.
If elected premier, Ford said he would do away with province's "Discovery Math" curriculum, calling it experimental. The PC leader says with half of grade six students not meeting the provincial math standard, it's time for schools to get back to basics.
In September Wynne promised a refresh of the math curriculum and other subjects a week after standardized testing results were made public.
Ford is also promising to shake up higher learning.
He says too many universities are restricting debates and promises to ensure that publicly-funded universities defend free speech.
"But we have to remember that free speech is not an invitation to be reckless or hurtful and it all comes down to respect," said Ford.
A PC government would task the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario with fielding and investigating complaints of campus violations of free speech. Decisions about post-secondary funding would be tied to the council's findings.
Ford's campaign could not immediately say what sort of funding decisions may be affected if a school is found not to have adequately defended free speech.
with files from the Canadian Press and Siobhan Morris