Stephen Lecce scraps hiring rules and wins Snobelen Award
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Stephen Lecce scraps hiring rules and wins Snobelen Award

William Paul  – 2020-10-22
Stephen Lecce should win the John Snobelen Create a Useful Crisis Award for excellence in using the COVID-19 pandemic as a distraction for canning Regulation 274 that brought some transparency and predictability into hiring teachers at Ontario schools.

Dumping Regulation 274: The thing about hiring

Thom Corner  – 2020-10-21
Regulation 274 was the Liberal government's effort, in 2012, to shift the power imbalance between principals and school boards on the one hand, and underemployed teachers on the other hand. Not surprisingly, principals called foul, and the Conservative government agrees with them.

In class and online at the same time – really distant learning

William Paul  – 2020-10-16
It's only fair to say that providing any education across the province has become a logistical, expensive nightmare. Some boards are trying a model that divides students into two classes of learners - those who attend school in person and others who watch them.

A Giant Step backwards for Autistic kids in York Region

Janet Bojti  – 2020-10-08
Giant Steps has been quietly serving children with autism for twenty-five years in a way that families have been begging for. The program works in partnership with the York Regional District School Board, but not for much longer if the Director of the York Region District Board of Education has her way.

Digital technology and BC education: Underlying issues revealed by COVID-19

Michelle Gautreaux and Anne Hales  – 2020-10-05
COVID-19 has put the issue of technology front and
centre in Canadian public education. While teachers across the
country have quickly adapted instruction to online formats, it is not the same as the careful, time-consuming process of creating online
courses or activities.

Orange and reconciliation: orange shirt day

School Magazine  – 2020-09-28
September 30 is "Orange Shirt Day" a day of solidarity with Indigenous people across the country to honour residential school children. It is a reminder that reconciliation and education go hand in hand.

What does the TDSB need in a Director of Education?

School Magazine  – 2020-09-22
The Toronto District School Board is searching for a new permanent director, after previous director John Malloy announced his retirement in May.
What qualities are needed in a director pf education for the largest school Board in the country? Last week TDSB trustees set aside a couple of days to hear deputations on that question from interested groups in the community.

COVID-19 Learning pods: an understandable but fearsome step

William Paul  – 2020-09-15
As kids return to school after 6 months, we learned yesterday that there were 313 new cases of COVID-19 reported compared to 33 a month ago. A possible second wave of the pandemic is certainly not going to inspire parents to send their children back to school. But what about the alternatives?

Is there safety without paid sick leave?

William Paul  – 2020-09-01
"How can I afford to get sick?" This may be one of the most important questions with schools bout to reopen after 6 months. It is inevitable that people will come in contact with the disease and be sent home. For people in low-wage, precarious jobs and no sick leave, it will be an inequitable disaster.

Ontario’s “nearly $900 million” for safe schools is actually much less

Ricardo Tranjan  – 2020-08-28
The Ministry of Education would like you to think the federal government provided $381 million to Ontario, on top of the nearly $900 million provided by the province to support provincial back-to-school plans.
Not so fast. An honest announcement would go like this: the federal government's transfer of $763 million to Ontario schools, greatly exceeds the $541 million made available from the province - once again rescuing Ontarians from their provincial government.

The ‘Broken Windows’ Approach to Teaching Is Breaking Our Schools, and Students of Color Are Harmed the Most

Victoria Theisen-Homer  – 2020-08-26
The "broken windows" approach to teaching draws heavily from a style of policing prevalent in U.S. cities since the 1980's. It holds that cracking down on minor infractions like broken windows leads to reduction in more serious crime.
In schools, this approach means tight regulation of students' activities or "no excuses" for failing to meet institutional expectations like higher test scores and proper deportment. It's about compliance, not meaningful reciprocal relationships.

Mr. Lecce: get real about back to school plans

William Paul  – 2020-08-16
What is going on here? It's three weeks to go before school opens and Stephen Lecce is dribbling out funds while he tells some school boards to change their plans. It's just a confusing mess. What is his Ministry thinking?

Back to school – what’s going on elsewhere in Canada

School Magazine  – 2020-08-14
With the confusing mess of promises, could-happens, ought-to-do's and so on from our own Ontario government, it's tempting to keep such a close eye on schools here that you miss what's happening in the rest of the country. Here's a synopsis of back-to-school plans across Canada.

Re-opening schools in September – many loaded questions

School Magazine  – 2020-07-18
In just over a month, roughly 2 million Ontario students may get ready to return to school after 6 months away from the classroom. But, in the light of COVID-19, it’s not at all clear how a safe return will work. There are a lot of factors in play, but the overriding one is money.


Susan Atkins  – 2020-07-09
Our list of worrisome activities of the Doug Ford government since the end of June, 2018. It's updated regularly. The last addition was February 24, 2020.

If you have information you'd like to share with us about the comings and goings of the Ford government, please email us at

Does the Ford government really believe Black Lives Matter?

William Paul  – 2020-07-08
“First, what we are dealing with, at root and fundamentally, is anti-Black racism... it is the Black community which is the focus. It is Blacks who are being shot, it is Black youth that is unemployed in successive numbers, it is Black students who are being inappropriately streamed in schools, it is Black kids who are disproportionately dropping out…Just as the soothing balm of ‘multiculturalism’ cannot mask racism, so racism cannot mask its primary target.” – Stephen Lewis 1992

Parkdale parents want answers about racist letter

William Paul  – 2020-06-17
You'd think that the Toronto District School Board which claims pride in its multicultural perspective and touts its efforts to make education equitable, would respond better to a rally last Thursday just outside of Queen Victoria PS in Parkdale. Parents and community members were demanding answers to questions about a racist letter sent to their former vice-principal.

Educators too must work to upend the roots of racial violence

School Magazine  – 2020-06-01
The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is one of the most activist educator unions in America. Time and again, it shows how it understands that education is not something confined to schools; that educators work and live in the world they help to explain. Here is a statement the CTU sent out earlier today about education under racism.

School interview: Mike Schreiner leader of the Green Party of Ontario

School Magazine  – 2020-05-27
What's really important in education? School Magazine is trying to set up interviews with education leaders of Ontario political parties to get their answers to that question and others. Is education all about investments or is there more to it? Here is our interview with Green Party leader Mike Schreiner.

Public education beyond the pandemic

William Paul  – 2020-05-20
Governments at all levels are trying to keep the medical, social and economic disaster of COVID-19 from getting much worse. But, after years of attacks on basic services, the question is: are we going to go back to the same old tired thing, or is there another way to look at the role of government? This applies to education, like everything else.

Teachers’ unions and COVID-19: time to step up

William Paul  – 2020-04-22
No question - we all need to take individual responsibility for getting through the COVID-19 pandemic. But let's not forget our collective responsibility as organizers and activists. Some education unions understand that their work only increases as times get harder. In Ontario, however, they could do better.

TDSB teachers and COVID-19

Nigel Barriffe  – 2020-03-29
Education is critical in providing some degree of normalcy and and connection during a time of "social distance" and exceptional measures by governments at all levels. The Ministry of Education and school boards need to take care to ensure they don't forget equity in their planning.

The math proficiency test: a solution looking for a problem

William Paul  – 2020-03-25
Doug Ford has no teaching qualifications or background but thinks he know why grade 6 students might not be making the grade on the annual provincial math assessment. He's decided that aspiring teachers need to be tested in math because they might not know enough about it.

Canada’s high schools are underfunded and turning to international tuition to help

Lana Parker and Natalie Delia Deckard and Bonnie Stewart  – 2020-03-12
What do schools and school boards do when they are underfunded by the government but still need to provide basic programs and services for their students? They look at private sources of revenue.

It is the thin edge of the wedge, opening up public schools to fees and profit-making enterprises.

Negotiating from the podium – Stephen Lecce’s latest game

William Paul  – 2020-03-06
Once again Education Minister Stephen Lecce has decided to make a bargaining offer over the heads of negotiators trying to come to an agreement to end the strike and job actions that have gone on for months. He says he's listening to parents, but that's just not going to fly.

Why does the Ford government mandate e-learning?

William Paul  – 2020-01-16
Why is the Ford government putting so much into e-learning? It makes no argument at all for requiring students take at least 2 online courses, but a document acquired by the Toronto Star suggests some of the real reasons behind the move.

There is no de-streaming without democracy and meaning

George Martell  – 2020-01-09
For the past year and a half School Magazine has concentrated on Doug Ford and the destruction brought about by his government on social services health, cities, transit, the environment, the legal system and – let’s not forget – education.

But there are other serious issues we need to keep our eye on. One of them is streaming kids into programs that limit their options. But is de-streaming, by itself the answer?

Teaching the real stuff of the world: bears and learning together

George Martell and Elaine MacIntosh  – 2019-10-01
Here is an interview with elementary teacher Elaine MacIntosh from a 1989 issue of "Our Schools Our Selves". She talked to George Martell about using whole language and collective learning to engage her students with the world and each other.