Tuesday, May 24, 2016

TDSB enrolment plunges as parents pull children from school over sex ed

Manahil Arshad Khalil, a 12-year-old with glasses and an impish smile, sits in her Toronto bedroom, at a computer. When she finishes scribbling a math equation she holds it up to the screen and watches a Skype window framing the face of a young woman in Pakistan – her teacher.

Taped to the wall is a piece of paper on which Manahil has written her daily schedule, signing it “Manahil!!!” Like her 10-year-old sister and seven-year-old brother, she does roughly two hours of science a day, two hours of math, an hour of Islamic studies and an hour of social studies. The children take just 45 minutes of break time.

Last year, they were students at Thorncliffe Park Public School. But now they’re home-schooled, after their parents pulled them out in reaction to Ontario’s new sex-ed curriculum.

That decision put Manahil and her siblings among an estimated 2,000 kids permanently withdrawn from public school over their parents’ fears of sex ed, and whose education is now largely a mystery to authorities.

In a province that barely oversees elementary-level home-schooling and private schools, it could take years to understand the bigger implications of the “missing children.”  (more...)

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