Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

June 01, 2006 18:27 ET

Education reforms miss the mark

Bill 78 causes concerns for teachers, students, and school boards Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, Education Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - June 1, 2006) - Elementary public school teachers have serious concerns about the changes to the governance of the Ontario College of Teachers contained in legislation passed by the Ontario government today.

Bill 78 amends the Education Act, the Ontario College of Teachers Act, 1996, and other legislation relating to education.

"Most problematic for teachers is the way in which professional self-regulation is handled in the bill," said Emily Noble, president of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO)

"While the bill increases the number of elected teacher members on the governing council of the Ontario College Teachers (OCT), it misses the mark in terms of establishing a truly self-governing regulatory body for the teaching profession."

The bill establishes a public interest committee, an unprecedented watchdog body, to oversee the operation of the OCT governing council.

"The committee is a slap in the face to both the elected and appointed members," Noble said. "No other profession is treated in such a paternalistic way. It sends the message that the government does not really trust teachers to serve the public interest in regulating the teaching profession."

As well, amendments to the bill did not include changes to the broad regulatory powers given to the Ministry of Education regarding the operation of school boards.

"While the government has the responsibility to set policy and guidelines, school boards must retain sufficient authority and flexibility to operate schools according to local needs," Noble said. "This bill gives the government the ability to override local control in an unprecedented way."

The Federation does welcome measures in the legislation that improve the supports for beginning teachers. Beginning in the fall new teachers will receive additional training, support from an experienced mentor, and a streamlined evaluation process. These measures should help address the relatively high numbers of teachers who leave the profession in their first five years.

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 70,000 public elementary teachers and education workers across Ontario, and is the largest teacher federation in Canada outside Quebec.

Contact Information

  • Johanna Brand, ETFO Communications
    Primary Phone: 416-962-3836 ext. 2339
    Secondary Phone: 416-948-2554
    Toll-Free: 888-838-3836
    E-mail: jbrand@etfo.org