Sweeping changes to education governance proposed
Legislation introduced by former Education Minister Gerard Kennedy shortly before he resigned from Cabinet will make sweeping changes to the way teachers govern their profession.
The then-Minister told the College that he expected the Student Performance Bill (Bill 78) to be passed into law in June so that teachers could vote for a reconfigured College Council this fall.
The legislation, if passed, will add six more teachers to College Council and create a Public Interest Committee to oversee the Council's duty to serve the public.
Bill 78 would amend the Education Act, the Ontario College of Teachers Act and other education-related statutes to increase the size of Council to 37 members from 31. Elected positions would number 23 while government appointees would remain unchanged at 14.
In introducing the bill, Kennedy also announced the creation of a Public Interest Committee of up to five non-College appointees to "advise the College Council of matters relating to the Council's duty to serve the public interest." The Minister would designate the committee chair.
A Ministry of Education background paper that accompanied release of the bill says that the Ministry will work with the College "to put in place conflict-of-interest guidelines that would prohibit Council membership for representatives of specific organizations."
The backgrounder also says the legislation would statutorily affirm the College's duty to ensure that its registration process is fair and transparent.
The Ministry says the amendments are intended as support for the government's Excellence for All commitment to "turn the Ontario College of Teachers into a professional body that sets the highest standards for the profession and earns the respect of teachers and parents."
In addition to College governance changes, the legislation would make support for new teachers mandatory, enable school trustees to pay themselves more and make school boards more accountable for meeting the government's expectations for student success.
The bill would enable the province to set Ontario-wide education outcomes and allow for the Ministry of Education to require school boards to meet those outcomes.
"We expect forthcoming regulations to provide details that will address election boundaries and categories for the six additional positions, the conflict of interest guidelines for Council members, and the duties and accountability of the Public Interest Committee," says College Registrar Doug Wilson.
Other highlights of the Student Performance bill include:
More free admission deals
Our March issue outlined many attractions and stores throughout the province that offer discounts or free admissions to College members.
Since then, the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough has written to say it is pleased to offer College members free admission. "We know they will be impressed with the many interesting exhibits and hands-on experiential programs we offer. Our curriculum-based educational programming suits a wide variety of grade and subject areas." For more information visit www.canoemuseum.net or call Carolyn Hyslop at 1-866-342-2663.
The Art Gallery of Ontario wrote that it will also offer members of the Ontario College of Teachers free general admission for the coming year. For special exhibitions you will need to pay the amount of the upgrade. This benefit is for College members only and standard admission fees will apply to those accompanying you. Members must present their 2006 membership card and be prepared to show picture ID, should it be requested.
Remember to keep your membership card with you and ask, wherever you shop or visit, if you can get a discount or free entry. Then tell your colleagues so we can all take advantage of the generous support out there for Ontario teachers.
You'll never know if you don't ask!
Certified teachers more effective
Certified teachers more effective
A six-year Stanford University study of 4,400 Houston teachers and their 132,000 students found certified teachers produced stronger student achievement than uncertified educators participating in the Teach for America program.
Rather than hire uncertified teachers, education professor Linda Darling-Hammond said districts should combat staffing shortages through improved pay, mentoring and subsidies to attract prospective teachers to traditional certification programs.
For Darling-Hammond's full report visit schoolredesign.net and click on See the Study under the heading Does Teacher Preparation Matter?
In 200,000 Members (March 2006), we wrote that Crystal Kechego had been a school social worker. While she does have a Social Service Worker diploma, she worked as an educational assistant at Wiiji Nimbawiyaang school.
Golden experience for educators
Katie Weatherston says she can't wait to get in front of a classroom next fall to share her Turin Olympic experience with elementary students.
Weatherston, who is from Thunder Bay, donned her Maple Leaf uniform and helped our Canadian women's hockey team dominate the Olympic competition en route to a gold medal.
One of several athletes featured in our December issue, Weatherston now faces a difficult challenge in trying to combine life as one of Canada's top athletes with her other passion - teaching. The 23-year-old is studying psychology and plans to complete her teacher education at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire in June, 2007.
Weatherston was one of the youngest on Team Canada and could be a part of that squad for years to come. She plans to juggle teaching and hockey next year and hopes to excel in both.
The story for another star teacher/athlete was not so happy: Marcel Rocque and his teammates on Randy Ferbey's Alberta squad have won nearly every major curling title, dominating the sport in recent years.
That success brought challenges Rocque never expected. As a physical education teacher at Riverbend Junior High School in Edmonton, Rocque would be missing close to two months of classes in order to train and attend competitions as a member of one of the world's best curling teams. So he took an unpaid leave of absence from his job to focus on the Olympics.
He felt the sacrifice could lead to Olympic gold. But Rocque and his team had a dreadful experience at the Olympic trials, losing to Brad Gushue's Newfoundland rink, which went on to win the gold medal in Turin.
"You pour four years of blood and sweat into dreams," Rocque says. "Obviously, it's easier to say it was worth it when you're successful."
Rocque is teaching again in Edmonton, and must now decide if he wants to commit another four years to curling in an attempt to represent Canada in Vancouver in 2010.
Behind the medallists
In the 1960s, Jim Waite was an elite curler and a teacher at Oak Park Elementary School in London.
This year, as coach, Waite was proud to see the Canadian men's team win its first-ever Olympic gold medal, and amazed by the homecoming the athletes received in Newfoundland, where they even had streets named after them.
Several athletes featured in Nurturing the Naturals (Professionally Speaking December 2005) also returned home with gold medals. The online article looked at athletes competing in Turin whose parents are educators.
Skeleton star Duff Gibson, who left Turin with a gold medal around his neck, began his sports career at Sir John A. Macdonald Collegiate in Scarborough, where both his mother Carole and father Andy taught. Carole Gibson told us, "The children were basically raised in a gym."
Unfortunately, Duff's father Andy passed away just before the Olympics this year.
"It wasn't until after the race that I started wondering what Dad would be thinking now."
Gibson says his dad was a great athlete, coach and educator whose main goal was to help shape well-rounded individuals.
"If I was to dedicate anything to my dad, it wouldn't be the race," says Duff. "It would be that I was as graceful a winner as I would have been if I had lost. I think he would be proud."
Jennifer Botterill and Hayley Wickenheiser, two of the stars of the women's hockey team, also helped lead their team to gold.
But not all athletes with teacher parents fared as well. Warren Shouldice, a member of Canada's highly rated freestyle ski team, finished just out of the medals in 6th spot. Cross-country skier Milaine Theriault finished 46th in the 10-kilometre classic and 54th in the 15-kilometre double-pursuit events after having a baby and attempting a comeback.
Jeremy Wotherspoon, who has won more races than any male speed skater in history, has struggled at the Olympics since winning silver in 1998. He was hoping to put a disappointing fall in the 2002 games behind him. But he finished 9th in the 500-metre race and 11th in the 1000-metre event.
For Wotherspoon, the Olympics have proven a different kind of learning experience. As his parents say, the games have given their son perspective about what's really important in life.
Engineers take province to court
Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) - the engineers' equivalent of the Ontario College of Teachers - has taken the provincial government to court regarding the ability to self-regulate.
In March PEO Council, including its 12 government appointees, applied for a judicial review with the divisional court to rule on whether amendments to the Ontario Building Code "duplicate, contradict and otherwise interfere with the important statutory role of PEO to license, discipline and regulate its members."
The engineers argue that changes to the building code, which took effect in January, appear to prohibit anyone who hasn't qualified or registered under the building code from engaging in building design or general review activities.
The code amendments require licensed engineers to qualify by paying for and passing code-knowledge exams.
"This course of action follows two years of discussions with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing," said Kim Allen, PEng, CEO and Registrar of the engineering regulator. "Unfortunately, all of our proposals were rebuffed in favour of those that would create a system paralleling the new legislative requirements. As a regulator PEO cannot support overlapping legislative responsibility for, and requirements imposed upon, the same licence holders."
PEO administers the Professional Engineers Act by licensing professional engineers and by setting standards for and regulating engineering in Ontario so that the public interest is served and protected.
Teachers' Qualifications Review
According to Charles Gerba's Germs in the Workplace study at the University of Arizona, apples are not the only things left on teachers' desks.
The survey examined the bacterial levels of 616 office surfaces before concluding that educators have the germiest jobs - ahead of accountants, bankers, radio DJs, doctors and lawyers. Teachers have the germiest telephones, keyboards and computer mice.
Among some surprising findings is the fact that most desks harbour 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat.
Now, raise your hand if you eat at your desk.
New College of Teachers
A new professional self-regulatory body has been established in Australia effective January 2006. Licensing responsibilities of the previous Queensland's Board of Teacher Registration have been transferred to the Queensland College of Teachers - an independent professional body representing all members of the teaching profession in that province.
The Queensland College of Teachers was established by the Education (Queensland College of Teachers) Act 2005. The new organization's web site includes a secure log-in area allowing teachers to update their personal details and check their registration status.
The new college's web site is www.qct.edu.au.
new teacher support
Principals, boards to determine and provide support
Long-awaited details on the province's New Teacher Induction Program (NTIP) reveal a reliance on principals to assess and deliver support to new teachers, based on existing and yet-to-be-developed services available in school boards.
"The NTIP is a school-based program, which relies on principals to exercise their critical role as catalysts for professional development," says a Ministry memo to education directors.
If passed, Bill 78, an act to amend the Education Act, the Ontario College of Teachers Act and other education-related statutes, calls for on-the-job training in classroom management and communication with parents, mentoring by experienced teachers, orientation at the schools and boards, two evaluations conducted by principals and new accountability measures. A superintendent in each school district will be responsible for the NTIP, which is designed to "help new teachers achieve their full potential."
"New teachers have told us they need this type of support," said Marilyn Laframboise, Chair of College Council. "We're pleased that government is moving forward with this initiative. Students will reap the benefit of the skills, talents and knowledge of these innovative and energetic new teachers much sooner."
After surveying new teachers and consulting with education stakeholder groups across the province, Council submitted New Teacher Induction: Growing into the Profession to the Ministry in December 2003. Among its recommendations the paper called for a mandatory program of support for newly certified teachers in all publicly funded school boards.
Under the NTIP school boards can qualify for funding this year by offering orientation, mentoring, professional development and training for new teachers.
The NTIP replaces the Ontario Teacher Qualifying Test, one of the existing pre-conditions for full licensing. Subject to legislative approvals, the qualifying test would be scrapped and all graduates from Ontario faculties of education in 2004-05 and later would receive Certificates of Qualification.
Upon passage of the legislation, the Ontario College of Teachers will convert all current "provisional" certificates to Certificates of Qualification, and all Interim Certificates of Qualification (Provisional) to Interim Certificates of Qualification.
At the Ministry's direction, boards will notify the College when teachers successfully complete the program so that a notation can be added to their teaching certificates. A successful candidate would have to pass two performance appraisals in the first year of teaching.
NTIP evaluations by principals won't kick in until legislative amendments have been approved and new streamlined procedures are announced. However, principals are still expected to complete two Teacher Performance Appraisals for new teachers in their first year of employment, using existing procedures.
In addition, new teachers in French-language boards must become familiar with the Politique d'aménagement linguistique de l'Ontario pour l'éducation en langue française (Policy for Ontario's French-Language Schools and Francophone Community) and fully understand its impact on the board, school, classroom, students and school community. Boards are responsible for providing ongoing development of the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to teach in minority settings.
For more information visit the Ministry's web site at www.edu.gov.on.ca.
VISITORS: NIGERIA, NEW ZEALAND
Delegations visit the College to share and gather information on a range of education issues, including accreditation, qualifications and standards of practice.
College of Nurses
Nurses' regulatory body proposes new requirements
The Ontario government has approved significant changes to the reinstatement regulation at the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO). The amendments, which took effect February 27th, are intended to strengthen the CNO's public-protection mandate.
Former members and retired members must now meet continuing competence requirements before they will be reinstated. These requirements include graduation from an approved nursing education program or evidence of safe practice during the preceding five years.
The new regulations for nurses are posted on www.e-laws.gov.on.ca.
Public policy links
Policy.ca, a non-partisan resource for the public discussion of issues in Canadian public policy, is planning an addition to its site that will facilitate discussions about public policy among students in classrooms in different regions across Canada.
Teachers and professors who teach public policy courses are invited to participate in the development of this feature. If you have ideas about what you would like to see and use in your classroom, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
College appears before Estimates Committee
Council Chair Marilyn Laframboise and Registrar Doug Wilson were invited to appear before the Estimates Committee of the Ontario Legislature on May 3. Members of the committee asked about the role of the College, the decision to create a full-time Chair and the independence of Council from the teacher federations. Laframboise pointed out that the College operates in the public interest. "I am confident," she told the committee, "that all our decisions are made in the public interest. I believe that all Council members truly understand what it means to be a regulatory body."
Bill 78 remains priority for new minister
Ontario's new Minister of Education has a clear agenda - higher student achievement, higher test scores, smaller class sizes, lower dropout rates and pushing Bill 78 through the legislature.
That's according to Sandra Pupatello's first electronic message to education stakeholders via the Ontario Provincial Education Network (OPEN). Pupatello was sworn in on April 5th to replace Gerard Kennedy, who resigned to pursue the federal Liberal leadership.
First elected in 1995 and re-elected in 1999 and 2003, Pupatello said she is committed to working in partnership with the education sector.
She was an honorary member of Windsor's Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow. In 1996, she was named Italian of the Year in Windsor-Essex County. The University of Windsor feted Pupatello with the Charlie Clark Award for Outstanding Service in 2001, and in 2003, she was named Windsor Woman of the Year.
"Tremendous gains have been made for our schools and students over the past two-and-a-half years, and I thank you for your hard work in that regard," Pupatello said in her OPEN message. "I would like to emphasize that I intend to work closely with you to move ahead on the priorities that are already in place.
"Over the coming weeks while the legislature is in session, I will be making Bill 78 (Student Performance Bill) one of my priorities. Despite this important work, I am committed to meeting with as many education sector groups, and visiting as many areas of the province as possible. My goal is to hear about your issues and concerns and to be sure that we are doing everything possible to maintain the partnership and collaborative atmosphere that is essential to helping our students succeed."
In addition to serving as Minister of Education, Pupatello remains as the Minister Responsible for Women's Issues.
Deaf-Blind Awareness Month - June is the birth month of Helen Keller, unquestionably the most famous person who was deaf-blind. An opportune time to educate the public about this unique disability.
4 - International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression - A reminder that many children throughout the world are suffering from different forms of abuse and that the rights of children urgently need protection.
Canadian Forces Day - Recognizes the contribution of Canadian Forces members to peace and security at home and abroad.
4-10 - Canadian Environment Week - Brings attention to the environment and the benefits of environmental protection.
National Water Safety Week - Promotes safety in, on and around the water.
www.redcross.ca ¨ ^ water and boating safety
5 - World Environment Day - Proclaimed by the United Nations to stimulate worldwide awareness of the environment and advance political attention and action. The 2006 theme is Deserts and Desertification.
8 - Clean Air Day Canada - Part of Canadian Environment Week, this day focuses on two key environmental priorities: clean air and climate change.
World Oceans Day - Encourages individuals to think about what the sea means to them while learning about the creatures and habitats found there, and how our actions affect them.
20 - World Refugee Day - Salutes the indomitable spirit and courage of the world's refugees - offering the encouragement, support and respect they deserve.
21 - National Aboriginal Day - Established in 1996 to provide an opportunity to learn about the aboriginal cultural heritages of Canada.
21-July 1 - Celebrate Canada! - Eleven-day celebration of Canadian diversity.
24 - Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day - In honour of the patron saint of French Canadians, officially proclaimed by Pope Pius X in 1908.
27 - Canadian Multiculturalism Day - Celebrates Canada's commitment to democracy and equality while promoting respect for the contributions of the various multicultural groups and communities.
1 - Canada Day - Marks the anniversary of the formation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867 - established by statute in 1879 under the name Dominion Day.
11 - World Population Day
22 - National Drowning Prevention Day
7 - Simcoe Day - Ontario civic holiday
9 - International Day of the World's Indigenous People
12 - International Youth Day
23 - International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition
Breakfast for Learning Month
SADS Awareness Month
8 - International Literacy Day
17 - Terry Fox National School Run Day
17-24 - AIDS Walk for Life Week
21 - International Day of Peace
For other international special days, observances and events, visit www.un.org and click on Conferences & Events, to the left of the UN's 60th anniversary logo.