OSSTF/FEESO - Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation

OSSTF/FEESO - Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation

September 17, 2009 16:43 ET

OSSTF/FEESO Calls for Public Consultation on Bill 177

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 17, 2009) - The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) is warning that components of Bill 177, which is presently in its second reading, threatens the autonomy of local school boards and their ability to maintain the integrity of student achievement results.

With Bill 177 embedding student achievement in the day to day operations of school boards, and the development of a Provincial Interest Regulation which outlines when and how the Ministry of Education could intervene to supervise a board, the provincial government is proposing a substantial change in the relationship between the Ministry of Education and school boards. The change will clearly lead to a weakening of school board governance and contribute to the continuing erosion of credit integrity.

Not only does Bill 177 offer no support to education employees or trustees working on the behalf of students, it actually undermines their efforts. The proposed legislation fails to recognize the special circumstances that boards may face in effectively serving special needs or at risk students that may not translate into appropriate test scores, credit accumulation rates or graduation rates.

Instead of supporting genuine student achievement, components of Bill 177 promote a system where statistical excellence is the goal, not quality education. Rather than increasing the public's confidence in education, it will diminish it by creating an education system where authentic learning and assessment and evaluation are replaced by the fear of not measuring up to a benchmark, thus triggering intervention by the Ministry of Education.

The success of a student, a school or a school board cannot be measured solely by statistics. Ensuring that school boards are able to provide the necessary staff, resources, programs and supports to enable students to achieve their goals and be prepared for their futures is an important task entrusted to the Ministry of Education. Balancing the need for support and the necessity for intervention is difficult, but the Ministry must ensure that any actions it takes truly puts students first and everything else second. OSSTF/FEESO does not support Bill 177, in its current form, as this is clearly not the case. OSSTF/FEESO calls upon the government to delay final reading of Bill 177 and move to real public consultation on the legislation and its impact upon school board governance, student achievement and credit integrity.

OSSTF/FEESO will continue to work with the government on education-related initiatives which will protect and enhance public education.

OSSTF/FEESO, founded in 1919, has 60,000 members across Ontario. They include public high school teachers, occasional teachers, educational assistants, continuing education teachers and instructors, psychologists, secretaries, speech-language pathologists, social workers, plant support personnel, attendance counsellors, and many others in education.

Contact Information

  • Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation
    Ken Coran
    (416) 751-8300 or 1-800-267-7867