McGuinty government delivers more respect for teachers
Legislation to end "teacher testing" passes
December 15, 2004
TORONTO The divisive and ineffective "teacher testing" program imposed by the previous government has come to an end, Education Minister Gerard Kennedy announced today.
"Ontario's 193,000 teachers are professionals and we're treating them with the professional respect they deserve," said Kennedy after the Professional Learning Program Cancellation Act, 2004 was passed by the legislature earlier today.
"Unfortunately for students, this program was neither professional or about learning, but rather the old politics of division."
The act ends the requirement that teachers take 14 courses in prescribed categories over a five-year period or lose their Ontario teaching certificate. The former government's approach created turmoil in the education system and was unsuccessful in advancing teachers' professional development:
- By September 2003, less than one in five teachers had submitted results to the Ontario College of Teachers for even one course of the official program,
- The program has cost the Ontario College of Teachers approximately $10 million to administer, paid for by additional annual fees levied on individual teachers, despite being imposed by the previous government against the College's recommendations,
- According to a report by the College, one in three new teachers have been leaving the profession within the first five years of practice.
The McGuinty government is working in partnership with the education sector on more effective, meaningful professional development for teachers and has circulated a discussion paper to the sector. The government has also taken a number of additional steps in 2004 to bring peace and stability to Ontario's publicly funded schools and support higher student achievement. These include:
- $1.1 billion in increased funding for new and enhanced programs and keeping up with ongoing costs,
- Funding that allowed school boards to hire approximately 1,100 more teachers, resulting in smaller classes in more than 1,300 elementary schools this school year,
- Targeted resources and specialized training for teachers to help improve young students' reading, writing and math skills,
- Student success leaders in every school board who help struggling high school students and share best practices with other boards to help lower the unacceptably high drop-out rates,
- An education partnership table that brings education leaders, including parents, teachers, students and others together to collaborate and find solutions in the best interest of students.
"We'll continue working with our education partners in the new year in a spirit of genuine partnership so we can build on the results we've achieved together for students in 2004," said Kennedy.
"Working together, we can ensure success for our students and a public
education system that is second to none."
Open Letter to Ontario Teachers
in Publicly Funded Education, December 16, 2004