Originally published in The Australian REBECCA URBAN
The NSW government will dump a contentious sex education course for senior high school students that teaches radical theories about gender and sexuality.
Instead, classroom time currently devoted to the Crossroads curriculum is likely to be spent teaching Year 11 and 12 state school students how to drive a car, manage their finances and improve their mental health.
The imminent scrapping of Crossroads, which presents gender as a social construct and sexuality as constantly changing, was flagged yesterday by Education Minister Rob Stokes after a departmental review urged closer scrutiny of sex education materials and greater oversight by school principals.
The review was conducted by William Louden, former dean of education at the University of Western Australia, who also led the federal government’s review of the controversial Safe Schools program. Mr Stokes said he would adopt all Mr Louden’s recommendations.
“This report has led to a broader discussion about the relevance of the Crossroads curriculum in its present form and whether there may be better ways to use the 25 hours of classroom time involved,’’ Mr Stokes told The Australian.
“The Department of Education is undertaking a rethink of the program to ensure a focus on practical skills that young adults need for life outside school.
“These include topics such as basic financial services literacy including use of credit cards and consumer protection laws, mental health, domestic violence, drug education and safe driving skills.’’
The Louden review, prompted by revelations in The Australian that state schools in NSW are using teaching resources which promote gender as a “non-binary’’ continuum and encourage teachers to “de-gender” their classrooms, found most activities associated with the sex education curriculum were age appropriate.
However, the review identified some resources as being not suitable for all students. Among these is a Year 7 and Year 8 unit titled “Exploring Sexual Risk” which included “medically accurate but explicit material on sexual practices and the risks of infection”.
Another lesson titled “Generation XXX”, introduced students to hypothetical scenarios involving pornography and sexting. In one scenario, a young person called Sam is pressured by a partner to try “the type of sex that is common in … pornography” and “looks like it would be painful, and certainly not enjoyable”.