This image has been updated from July 7th. This wordl includes some of the key words in the 148 responses to our survey.
This past week a very interesting article was published in the Hamilton Spectator by a retired teacher, Ken Durkacz – An open letter to Premier Ford on education.
So, I have to say I find all of his suggestions appealing and it would be interesting to see what others think. Here are the author’s main ideas, I will paraphrase, but you can click on the link above to get the details:
1. Eliminate standardized testing. It would save tens of millions per year, which could be reinvested.
2. Move to one publicly funded school system. It would save millions in the duplication of services.
3. If you must cut from boards, cut from the top. There is a widespread feeling among front-line workers in schools that boards are bloated with people in positions that have little to nothing to do with the day to day education of students.
4. Reintroduce principals and vice-principals back into teacher unions.
We tried to survey people interested in issues during the election and it did work a little. You can read how people responded to an open-ended survey I wrote here. Thanks to Google, the 44 responses to the survey are summarized here. If you ignore the obvious overrepresentation on Regulation 274, there is no clear consensus on what the major issue in Ontario education is. So, I think Dan is heading in the right direction by making some very practical suggestions on how to improve education in this province. People who took the survey certainly echoed what he wrote.
Rather than giving my opinion on what might be the most popular ideas, let’s open this up to others who have an interest in public policy and education in particular.
Here are some ideas:
- a survey (who doesn’t like a good survey) on what are the best ideas to pass on to Mr. Ford
- a series of podcasts on some of the key ideas in the article. We will take care of that using our series – First Hand Stories on VoicEd Radio.
- (a postscript – here is the first of our podcasts and here is our second podcast
- our third is here
- a summer panel discussion – what are the key ideas that the new government should be considered in education? I think this would be a great discussion for VoicEd Radio. Maybe one episode per idea?
Summer is a great time for wondering about new ideas and initiatives. Maybe the new Minister of Education, Lisa Thompson could be a special guest on one of these shows? I will certainly share the survey with her.
We will start with number 1 – a survey for all of you. How would you rank the four suggestions? Do you have your own suggestion? Let’s see if we can generate some interest in education issues here in Ontario for the summer.
After 59 responses in less than a day, the results can be seen here
It is a little hard to interpret the results except to say all four issues seems to be important to respondents. What is most interesting so far are the comments at the end of the survey.
It is unfortunate that most are dominated by the Regulation 274 robots. This is to be expected, but what is a bit disappointing is that other educators in the Twittersphere are not all that willing to enter the debate, retweet or even like this discussion. I do hope this changes, the debate on the future of education deserves to be joined by more education opinion-makers.
We have completed our first podcast on our response to the article – you can listen here
A follow-up podcast is now out here
Our third in the series is here