We are heading into an election here in Ontario. I am always really interested in election debates, especially how the discussion circles around education issues.
So far, we seem to be talking about sex education and how we need to return to some other time when parents and the church were the arbitars of essential information.
Oh yes, and there is the old rallying cry – back to math basics!!
Can we do better than that? Are there other issues that we should be discussing?
Really, we only get a chance to do this every four years and public education is vital to the maintenance of democracy. Actually, we need democracy to flourish and we have to step up and declare how our schools can best do this. At its heart, that is what education is all about.
So, I am conducting my own little survey. What are the issues that are important to you? Especially if you are an educator, what should we be talking about as we lead up to June 7th?
We only get to do this once every four years so it would be great to weigh in and record your answer.
Let’s let this survey run and see what we come up with. I will summarize the answers in this blog.
Let’s use this time wisely – just so you know, you can fill this survey out as many times as you want!
After five days, people are beginning to respond. Here are some of the issues that people are writing about:
Why are we publically funding Catholic educational schools and no other religious educational schools?Standardized testing.Class sizes (especially kindergarten) and resulting violence and behaviour issues.Mental health supportViolence in the classroom
On Twitter there are more comments
We need to see this kind of discussion, these are essential issues and it is really important that politicians listen and respond to these comments.
Each of these points deserves to be addressed, no matter how uncomfortable it makes politicians.
Publically funding only one religion in a publically funded school system is blatant discrimination and against the Human Rights Act of the Province of Ontario. Catholicism should not be promoted as the major religion in Ontario, and yet it continues to be provincially funded as such. Why?
The money spent on EQAO from start to finish, as well as release time for staff, could be put to better use in teacher training, lower PTR, resources and engaging families to support learning. There is little research backing the educational benefits of standardized tests. But they have to be replaced with what does work and in an equitable way.
My daughter was supposed to be entering JK in the Fall and we’ve chosen not to enrol her, because 36 kids stuffed into a play-based program with limited resources and objects being thrown at the teacher’s head is not my idea of a good learning environment for ANY child. It fills me with sadness that as a public school teacher I don’t feel safe enrolling my own child in my local public school.
Because students with and without learning disabilities, with and without strong home support, with and without basic math skills and reading skills….everyone may at some point in their school career need mental health support. Our part time counsellor is a former EA with little training. She is trained to support children with small grief issues, or those how need help with social interactions or managing their parent’s divorce. Instead, she is spending all of her time supporting kids with some really big mental health challenges. There isn’t anyone else who can support them at school. We need full time counsellors, even in elementary schools
Many occasions of violence towards other students and staff with no consequences
This is becoming a really long post, but it is important. There is a lot of excellent information here and I hope someone takes a look. All of these are issues that have caught the public’s eye in the past. Collectively, they are a call to take a hard look at our current system and seek out ways to make it better and more responsive to the concerns of parents and educators in our province.
We can do so much better than a few sound bites about ‘new math’.
Update – the responses to the survey continue – you can go to this summary to see what people are writing
Of all the issues what are the most important? You can have your say here