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Summit II on education governance digs deeper
"Issues of governance are not issues we're going to resolve," former Manitoba Deputy Minister of Education Ben Levin told a symposium on education governance, which raised as many new questions as it provided answers.
The Summit II on Education Governance at Toronto's King Edward Hotel in late March brought seasoned educators together with parents, students and classroom teachers to discuss recommendations of a paper that the Learning Partnership would present to Ontario Minister of Education Gerard Kennedy in May.
Both paper and dialogue focused on
Stirring the debate with their own perspectives were featured speakers Levin, now a University of Manitoba faculty of education professor; Dave Cooke, former Ontario Minister of Education; and Margaret Wilson, the founding Registrar of the Ontario College of Teachers.
There is no governance without politics, Levin said. Multiple levels of control are necessary but the balance isn't right. "Individual schools do not have enough autonomy."
He said that government has to consult - or risk direct political action by those who don't feel included. Students, for example, are not objects of the system but active participants.
"Legislation is a framework, not a solution," Levin added. Education is everybody's business - it needs the involvement of professionals, parents and the entire community.
We have to learn as we go, value knowledge over roles, use evidence to make decisions and assess the impact of those decisions, Levin concluded. We also have to build capacity and help people learn new roles.
Wilson, a former negotiator and president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, said that shifting the balance of control isn't easy - it does dislocate people - but it's necessary.
Perhaps most controversial was her suggestion that collective bargaining on big money items such as salaries be conducted centrally between the province and the teachers' federations.
"School district trustees have no flexibility now and therefore local collective bargaining cannot work," said Wilson. "Teachers should bargain with the provincial government because the government controls the funding.
"Bargaining is meant to create change - not to keep the status quo, not to frustrate everybody, not to lead to two years of fruitless negotiations that end in work to rule, which aggravates the public."
Among the recommendations proffered by the Learning Partnership were to
Small-group participants questioned the purpose of a proposed report card for every school. "Is it to acquire funding, to appease boards, to go to the community? Is it for evaluation? Who's reporting?" asked Ottawa trustee David Moen. "If there are multiple aims, use multiple report cards."
But participants applauded the notion of creating and nurturing support networks among teachers, principals and schools to facilitate the "lateral transfer of innovation."
"The current model depends on champions, and when a champion leaves, the project dies," said Penny Milton, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Education Association. Innovation is key - in management, leadership and education structures.
LEFT: College External Relations Officer, Kathy Anstett introduces representatives of the Namibian Qualifications Authority to library facilities following meetings between College staff and the four-person delegation. RIGHT: Yan Wenqing and 16 representatives from teacher-training universities in the People's Republic of China were welcomed by Executive Co-ordinator Richard Lewko upon their arrival.
Both delegations met with College staff regarding a range of issues, including accreditation, training, licensing and professional standards.
Teach magazine is involved in a pilot project (for Grades 7 to 12) that will explore the theme of global citizenship. The project includes a television series, Get Outta Town.
Teachers are invited to provide feedback on elements of the pilot program, and those who do so will be rewarded for their time and effort with:
To participate, visit www.revista.ca. Log on as "teacher" using the password "guest." You can view a sample video clip and scan through the sample lesson plan, and then fill in the questionnaire.
SHARE YOUR VIEWS
Minister seeks teacher input on discussion papers
Minister of Education Gerard Kennedy wants your input on student achievement.
The Minister has invited comment on three mini-discussion papers emanating from his first Education Partnership Table session with various education stakeholders in March.
The papers - Building the Ontario Education Advantage: Student Achievement, Creating an Education Partnership Table and Revitalizing the Ontario College of Teachers - can be found at the Ministry's web site.
The College and other partners who attended the first partnership table meeting were asked to encourage their members to read and respond to the documents.
"Open, honest dialogue that includes students, teachers, parents and education workers can only enhance the system and lead to improvements that benefit Ontario students," says College Chair Marilyn Laframboise.
"In that spirit of transparent communication, I urge our members to answer the Minister's call, participate in policy discussions whenever possible and become involved in the decision-making process that improves public education."
Francophone community consultations
College staff consult with various stakeholders to identify challenges facing the French-language education system.
TOP, FROM LEFT: Registrar Doug Wilson and bilingual communications officer Gabrielle Barkany meet with Serge Plouffe of the Association des directions et des directions adjointes franco-ontariennes. BOTTOM: Representatives of the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens - Laurent Joncas (seated) and Lise Routhier Boudreau (right) - met with College Registrar Doug Wilson, bilingual communications officer Gabrielle Barkany and other College staff members.
Ontario autism initiatives
Minister Gerard Kennedy has asked the College for feedback on a recent initiative of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services that will affect education.
The new programs aim to
Kennedy offered reassurance that "this is not a plan to ask teachers to provide therapy in schools."
Children and Youth Services Minister Marie Bountrogianni, who announced the programs in March, is establishing a working group to guide implementation of supports to teachers, educational assistants and parents of children with autism. As the plan directly affects education, an interface has been created with the Ministry of Education.
Kennedy said he hopes that these programs will assist the education sector to be more effective in educating children with autism and possibly other learning disorders.
For further information visit www.children.gov.on.ca.
International student film festival
The 2004 Angelus Awards Student Film Festival offers more than $23,000 in cash prizes plus film-industry-related gifts for finalists. All genres are accepted. Films completed between June 2002 and July 2004 are eligible. Entry deadline is July 1, 2004 (fee $25).
For more information and entry forms visit www.angelus.org/entry-form.php.
MEN IN TEACHING
Province-wide initiative looks for answers
The dearth of young men currently entering the teaching profession sparked a research project this spring intended to uncover ways to reverse the trend.
The research addresses whether it is important to have men teach in elementary and secondary schools, why they don't enter or stay in the profession and what might be done to attract them.
In addition to speaking with current teachers, principals, supervisory officers, guidance counselors, faculty of education staff and community representatives, the researchers polled young male secondary and university students about their attitudes, values and career choices.
Men under 30 now represent just one in five Ontario teachers. Fewer than one in three young secondary teachers and only one in ten young elementary teachers are male.
A request by Trillium Lakeland District School Board director David Hill triggered the initiative, which included focus-group sessions in Toronto, Ottawa, Windsor, Sudbury and Thunder Bay during April and May.
Round-table discussions with board directors, education deans and provincial organizations will be held this fall to review the findings and to identify recruitment and retention models. Results from the survey and recommendations will follow.
The project's supporters include College Registrar Doug Wilson, Conseil scolaire de district du Centre-Sud-Ouest director Jean-Luc Bernard and Pat Falter, consulting director of Laurentian University's English-language School of Education.
The research complements the College's work on teacher supply and demand issues.
Biography of the Year contest winners
Ontario students were the big winners in A&E's 4th annual Canadian Biography of the Year Essay Contest announced this spring.
Grand Prize winners were Alex Lanoszka (Grade 12, Vincent Massey Secondary School, Windsor) who won in the Grades 9 to 12 category and Brian William Schooley (Grade 8, Niagara Christian Collegiate, Fort Erie) who won in the Grades 5 to 8 category. Lanoszka wrote about Nelia Larosa, the first Canadian health care worker to die as a result of the SARS outbreak. Schooley wrote about anti-smoking crusader Barb Tarbox. Each student was awarded $5,000.
First-place winners, receiving $2,500 each, were Grade 12 student Emily Raynard of West Hill Secondary in Owen Sound and Grade 8 student Erin Ostler of Westminster School in Brockville. Raynard wrote about Ryan Hreljac, the 12-year-old boy who has helped to provide fresh well water to thousands in Africa, while Ostler selected novelist Carol Shields for her profile.
For encouraging student participation in the contest, each student's teacher - John Benton at West Hill, Dave Saunders at Westminster, Deborah Fabiani at Niagara Christian Collegiate and Elizabeth Dagg at Vincent Massey - and their respective English departments - have received a cash prize of $1,000 for use in the classroom and an A&E education prize package that includes a television, VCR and library of classic A&E videos.
The 2004 Biography of the Year contest runs from September 1 to November 1. For contest rules and guidelines, click here.
Accreditation Panel training
Accreditation panels spend several weeks examining applications made by faculties that want to offer teacher education programs in Ontario. After reviewing all documents submitted by a faculty, panel members visit the campus and then develop a report with recommendations, which is delivered to the Accreditation Committee of the College.
right and above: Roger Claux facilitated training sessions for members of the French-language accreditation panels at the College during April.
BC teachers' magazine
The BC College of Teachers launched its own magazine, Connected, this April. By converting its previous newsletter to a full-fledged magazine, the BC College hopes to provide more valuable information at a lower cost to educators across the province. The publication will include profiles and features on a range of education and extracurricular topics, as well as news, reports and advertising.
For more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joseph W. Atkinson Scholarship for Excellence in Teacher Education
July 16, 2004
The Joseph W. Atkinson Scholarship - named in honour of the Ontario College of Teachers' second Registrar - awards $2,000 each fall to a student who is preparing to become a teacher.
Teacher education candidates accepted into Ontario consecutive programs or concurrent candidates proceeding to their final year in 2004-05 are eligible to apply for the Atkinson Scholarship.
The recipient must demonstrate both outstanding academic achievement and experience that reflects a high level of preparedness for teacher education.
For more information or an application form, call 416-961-8800 (toll free in Ontario 1-888-534-2222) ext. 624.
Announcement of Awards
The 2004 award will be made to a student in the teacher education class of 2004-05 and will be announced on the College web site in fall 2004 and in the December edition of Professionally Speaking.
The Atkinson Scholarship is awarded by the Ontario College of Teachers Foundation.