I’m going to try and keep everyone updated at least once a week about all the goings on in education – and maybe with bits of gossip from the front. We go to a lot of meetings and there are lots of plans afoot in education – Bills that are going to mean big changes to the way boards work, potential changes to curriculum and new policy about parent engagement.
First a quick update on the consultations on the School Information Finder
The “Finder” is a tool on the Ministry of Education website that allows users to find out an array of information about individual schools across the province: things like schools’ EQAO test score results, the percentage of newcomer students, special education students, parents with university education and families below the Low Income Cut off.
When it appeared, lots of people objected to the site because it encouraged users to compare schools based on these very narrow factors. Initially it actually had a “school bag” that users could put three schools in to compare their stats. The province took away the school bag, so now you have to use a pen and paper to compare schools.
Though the site has been in place since the spring, this month the Ministry of Education is holding “consultations” on the content on the site. (Which brings the phrase “closing the barn door after the horse has fled” to mind). They did a survey of over 800 parents – asking them what they would use a site like this for – and they’ve brought together the Provincial Partnership Table (representatives from principals’ councils, Directors of Education, Deans of Education, teachers’ federations, trustee associations, the Ontario College of Teachers, Aboriginal Associations, students’ groups and the four provincially recognized parent associations) to ask how the site could be changed to make it more acceptable.
for more on the parent survey, click here
for more on Week 2 of the consultation, click here
Bill 177 hearings announced
The Standing Committee on Social Policy will hold public hearings in Toronto on Monday, October 26 and Tuesday, October 27, 2009 regarding Bill 177.
The Bill itself makes a number of amedments to the Education Act concerning the role of trustees, school board chairs and Directors of Education. The most significant aspects of this Bill and a previous Student Achievement Bill passed in 2006 are the rights they grant to current and future Ministers of Education to make regulations that have huge implications for school boards. So we should all pay careful attention to the progress of this Bill.
You can click here to read a synopsis of the Bill.
To make an oral presentation on Bill 177, contact the Committee Clerk, Katch Koch, by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 22, 2009. Collect calls will be accepted: (416) 325-3526. Or people can make written submissions to Katch Koch, Committee Clerk, Room 1405, Whitney Block/Bureau 1405, Queen’s Park, Toronto ON, M7A 1A2 or by Fax: (416) 325-3505
Elementary curriculum review
There is a new report out about the elementary curriculum. And a survey for parents, community members and educators.
Do you have concerns or suggestions about Ontario’s elementary curriculum? Do you worry that it might be overcrowded? Does it focus on the right things? Do you have ideas about what would make it more engaging? Here’s your chance to tell the Ministry of Education what you think.
Click here for the report, and for the survey.
Coming next week – more on the exciting doings at the Provincial Education Partnership Table.