Ontario’s teachers are trained, certified professionals with expertise and experience in delivering curriculum, managing classrooms, and evaluating student progress. We regularly engage in self-directed professional development, often at our own expense, to ensure our knowledge and skills are up-to-date. We have a practical understanding of how schools operate and what is needed for students to learn and grow.
And yet, government consultations and policies don’t respect teachers’ professional judgment and expertise. For example, curriculum updates are announced without any prior consultation with, or training for, the teachers who will have to deliver the curriculum; COVID-19 management plans were made with no input from the classroom teachers who will have to manage the students; and valuable time, energy, and resources continue to be wasted on things like standardized testing.
Successful education systems depend on interactions between teachers and students. Teachers should be empowered to tailor our units, lesson plans, and assessments to meet the diverse needs of all students.
The government should seek out and listen to frontline workers in our schools. International research has shown that schools work best when there is a collaborative, collegial, professional relationship between policymakers and teachers. There may not always be agreement, but by working together we can try to do what is best for Ontario’s students.
The Ontario government needs to listen to frontline education workers. Tell them to make decisions based on evidence, not ideology.
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