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Ontario government must wait for public consultation results before prescribing solutions for math outcomes

October 25, 2018

Given that a province-wide public consultation on mathematics and other education topics is currently underway, it is surprising that the Ontario government is putting the cart before the horse in determining what needs to be done to improve student math outcomes.

“This government is in the middle of province-wide public consultations on math and other education subjects and has already decided that teacher candidate testing on math is the solution,” said Sam Hammond, president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO).

Today’s bill would mandate teacher candidates to complete a math test before seeking their teaching registration. The Progressive Conservative government tried to introduce teacher testing in 1998 until it was determined that other supports were more appropriate.

“This proposed teacher candidate test will not increase math outcomes. If improvements are sought as a result of the public consultations, the government needs to look at the math curriculum and the support provided to teachers and teacher candidates. This includes professional learning, resources such as textbooks aligned with the curriculum and more time to build pedagogical knowledge around the subject.”

“In the last two years, tens of thousands of public elementary teachers have upgraded their math instructional skills, in part through funding from the previous government’s Ministry of Education. Parents learned more about the math curriculum through evening school sessions put on by school councils. They were funded by the Parents Reaching Out grants that were cancelled last week by the current government,” added Hammond.

“Testing doesn’t grow confidence, competency or proficiency. We need to ensure that our school boards and educators have the proper resources needed to deliver curriculum effectively. This government has yet to address the fact that the education funding formula is short-changing students, schools and educators in terms of support and resources, something that has been heard repeatedly in response to the public consultations.”

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province. ETFO’s Building Better Schools education agenda can be viewed at buildingbetterschools.ca.

For more information, contact ETFO Media Relations:
Valerie Dugale, 1-888-838-3836 x2331, cell 416-948-0195, vdugale@etfo.org