People for Education presents their summary of the McGuinty Government’s extensive proposed budget cuts to education along with their viewpoint:

“Education is very expensive, but it is an investment, not just a cost. These cuts will have an impact on students, on the quality of education, and on school communities as a whole. The evidence is unequivocal that investments in education result in lower costs to health care, more tax payers, lower costs in social services and criminal justice, higher employment and a more engaged citizenry.”  

In response to the Fraser Institute report card on Ontario schools, Doretta Wilson of the Society for Quality Education reflects that students lack mastery of fundamental skills:

"Kids don’t know core fundamentals in literacy and numeracy in elementary school and the problems are compounded as they reach high school, college and then university. 'If the groundwork isn’t laid in elementary school, it’s going to be difficult in high school,' said Doretta Wilson of the Society for Quality Education. 'By that time, it’s almost too late to solve those problems.'

Read more: Is the ON curriculum too crammed to allow for mastery of fundamental skills?
Posted: 5 years, 10 months ago by CThinker #17
I agree with the premise that many of our kids lack mastery of skills because we are jamming too many strands down their throats. I am an intermediate teacher and the biggest complaint that the math teachers in the high school next door to my school have is that the kids we send them do not have enough basic computational skills - skills that are required to tackle word problems. They tell us to forget trying to ram through all the various strands and concentrate more on the basics. (Some even suggest saving problem solving until high school when students can conceptualize better and work more efficiently because of their solid foundation. Of course, elementary teachers don't have the luxury of reporting on just one math mark because - well - we have a MULTITUDE of strands to report on. I recently gave my class a quick computational math quiz designed to test their basic skills in a short amount of time (without using a calculator). MOST had forgotten much of what they had aced on a number sense test in the fall - and scored well below grade level. We discussed possible reasons for the low results and one valid answer was that we are relying too much on calculators in other strands and need to do more pencil to paper computations. I have told my students that we are going 'old school' for the last three months. And old school does not mean playing math games online using netbooks connected to wifi.

Professor Gary Miron, of the Faculty of Education at Western Michigan University, has extensive experience evaluating school reforms and education policies. In the wake of media sensationalism in the US about cheating on standardized tests, he opines on how the practice of standardized testing cheats students:

"The increasing focus and reliance on standardized tests to evaluate schools and teachers is resulting in cheating. That’s probably inevitable. But it’s also probably minimal. The bigger problem is a more serious type of cheating – one that’s perfectly legal and apparently acceptable.

Read more: Cheating on standardized tests… it’s more serious than you think!

The media's reactionary commentary to the McGuinty budget in - “Completing the job started by Mike Harris” by Hugh Mackenzie and “Changes possible to Ontario’s education system” by Sandie Benitah highlight the fiscal cuts to our Ontario public education system:

 ...Premier Dalton McGuinty’s ninth budget cuts education and post-secondary education by a total of over $660 million and points to another plan to force more school closures, to merge school boards, to impose pay freezes, and to disallow some 20,000 Ontario secondary students who yearly choose to stay in high school for a fifth year to complete their graduation diploma requirements from continuing to doing so....

Read more: The sacking of Ontario education

In The Globe and Mail March 12, 2012 article “Smaller Class Sizes Don’t Necessarily Make a Difference” journalist Gary Mason gives his spin on (class) size: …The B.C. Teachers’ Federation believes that class size is fundamental to quality education. The fewer kids in the classroom, the better the learning environment for students – or so the argument goes. Intuitively, it makes sense….Polls consistently show that Canadians support the idea of reducing class sizes.

Read more: Does (class) size matter or is it what you do with it that really counts?

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