BY KYLEEN GRAY
Education reform is big news in Ontario these days. But what does it really mean for students; will schooling really change that much? Read on to decide for yourself.
Change #1: Curriculum Revisions and Updating
Impact: Financial literacy has been added as a mandatory section of the Civics/Careers course in grade 10, the sex-ed curriculum has been revamped from the Wynne governments’ more Liberal revision in 2015, math will be returning to a ‘back to basics’ strategy and away from the Liberal’s ‘discovery math’, and the revision of the First Nations curriculum document has been put on ice — indefinitely.
Change #2: Staffing and Hiring Practices
Impact: The Ford government plans to cut 3,475 Ontario teaching jobs. Schools will operate with lower teacher numbers, and class sizes will become larger. This will also impact extra-curricular teams and activities as there will be fewer people to run school programming. Hiring will move away from a seniority-based structure.
Change #3: Cell Phone Ban
Impact: Cell phones will be banned from classrooms. Students will be able to have cell phone access between classes or before and after school.
Change #4: Standardized Testing
Impact: All new teachers will be required to take a standardized ‘math test’ before earning their teaching certificate. Mr. Ford has created a new job at EQAO for a failed PC candidate from the last election, as the ‘head’ of EQAO with a note about a complete ‘revision’ of the standardized testing system…but no real specifics about what changes will actually occur.
Change #5: Education Funding
Impact: There has been a 25 million dollar funding cut to EPO (education programming – other) funding. These cuts will impact ‘non-academic’ program funding often related to socioeconomic, special education and extracurricular programs/ initiatives. The Ford government has also made a 100 million dollar cut to fixing school infrastructure, which will likely result in the closing of older schools. Funding has also been cut in relation to any food and beverages at any staff meeting of government employees.