Thursday, March 14, 2019

Back To Basics

Doug Ford  announced yesterday that education in Ontario is going back to the basics. Kristin Rushowy reports:

While he wouldn’t commit to keeping class sizes at their current levels, he said “I think the people of this province will be quite thrilled when they see” his government’s education reforms, which are expected to be unveiled Friday.
“I can tell you — we are going back to the basics. We’re going to make sure our students understand math, reading, arithmetic … We need to put more training with our teachers, and focus on our students.”

This from a man who knows nothing about education. It's true that math test scores have been going down over recent years. And the math curriculum needs overhauling. It has been trying to teach large concepts to kids before they can grasp large concepts. So a more student focused curriculum might help. But Ford thinks that the place to begin reforms is with the last generation:

Education Minister Lisa Thompson is set to announce changes to the math curriculum on Friday, which will fully come into effect in September 2021. Boards will hire a “math learning lead,” and the province will support 1,000 schools — roughly one quarter of all elementary and secondary schools — with extra numeracy help.
It will also require all new teachers to pass a math knowledge exam before they can be certified to work in public schools, and require the province’s 16,000 middle-school teachers to earn additional qualifications in math.
The government will also direct teachers to “focus on fundamental concepts and skills” and move away from “discovery math.” It will also boost online resources for students and parents.

Ontario's Conservatives are -- as usual -- looking through the wrong end of the telescope. They were born too late. And they're too stupid to figure that out.

Once again. life is not going to be easy for educators in Ontario.

Image: Trendsmap


Lorne said...

Not to sound selfish, Owen, but I am oh so glad to be retired. Seeems to me, we fought this battle years ago

Anonymous said...

Back to 1 room schoolhouses.


Owen Gray said...

I feel as you do, Lorne. I'm glad I'm not there. This is another blast from the past.

Owen Gray said...

Exactly, UU. This is about marching backwards -- proudly.

Anonymous said...

Conservatism is always about "marching backwards" on all fronts. R

Owen Gray said...

I agree, R. That is the essence of the disease.

zoombats said...

(especially in prehistoric times) a person who lived in a cave.
a hermit.
a person who is regarded as being deliberately ignorant or old-fashioned.

How appropriate is this definition? Who are these people that will be thrilled with this decision to go back to basics? the thirty one percent of a very poor voter turnout? Well we all know that argument. You know who you are but I doubt any of them read this blog or for that matter are teachers. Shades of the nineties. We all remember those chaotic times. This guy makes my head hurt.

Owen Gray said...

George Stantayana got it right, zoombats. Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. We are repeating recent history.

Toby said...

There is some sense in 'back to basics.' A teacher of computer skills once told me that students who did not have a grasp of reading, writing and math did poorly on the computers. The problem is that those who do not have basic skills are more easily fooled by their own mistakes. One can't play Jazz until learning the instrument. How often are we confronted by cashiers who can't add up the coins in his/her hand?

Having said that, I certainly don't trust the likes of Doug Ford or his minions to devise any sort of plan for education.

Owen Gray said...

There are certain "basics" that everyone has to learn, Toby. The problem is that, for Ford, "going back to the basics" means going back to the way things used to be. The problem with that s that life goes on and you can't return to a Golden Age.

Marie Snyder said...

I predict that he'll declare teaching an essential service to preempt strikes come fall. And he'll mandate extracurriculars as part of our teaching day so we can't effectively work to rule. And then will other professional unions will become eroded? How far down can we slide in the next three + years?

Owen Gray said...

I wouldn't be surprised if he tried any of those things, Marie. I'm sure he'll challenge your union. Mike Harris did that twice for teachers here. Strikes are very unpleasant and diffcult. But, sometimes, there is no other recourse.