THUNDER BAY – NEWS – Participants in a series of workshops to help develop the new Truth and Reconciliation Commission curriculum for Ontario schools were advised on Friday that two sessions in Toronto were canceled. The move has some on social media blaming the Ontario Progressive Conservative government. However, a spokesperson for the government states that the move was made without consultation with the newly sworn in Minister of Education.
A spokesperson for the Minister of Education Lisa Thompson says, “The Ministry of Education will continue to move ahead with the updated Truth and Reconciliation Commission curriculum revisions. The ministry will work with experts, elders and indigenous communities to develop the support materials for the updated curriculum.
“The Ministry of Education canceled 3 writing sessions: Truth and Reconciliation Commission curriculum revisions, American Sign Language, Indigenous Languages in Kindergarten. The Ministry moved ahead with the cancelation unilaterally, with no direction from the Minister of Education.
“In keeping with the commitment Premier, Doug Ford made to run government more efficiently, all ministries will seek to carry out initiatives in the most cost-effective way possible.”
The New Democrats Demand Answers
The NDP is demanding to know what Doug Ford is doing with the school curriculum modernization plan after a government email posted to social media says the 2018 summer curriculum writing sessions are canceled. The change is another in a series of closed-door back-room decisions from Ford, hidden from the public until they leak out.
In a statement, the NDP says, “The change is another in a series of closed-door back-room decisions from Ford, hidden from the public until they leak out”.
“Doug Ford needs to come clean with families, teachers, educators and students about what’s going on here,” said NDP MPP-elect Peggy Sattler. “The curriculum in Ontario’s public schools is outdated, and we simply have to do better for our children. If it’s true that Ford has scrapped the summer curriculum writing sessions, that’s a major shift in the plan for students and schools. Why? And if he’s cutting the modernization program, what is he replacing it with? Have the Ford cuts come for our children’s education, already?”
“Long overdue, the refresh is slated to include updates to the curriculum as well as policy changes. The modernization process was to include co-development of the new curriculum with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit partners, pursuing one of the recommendations of the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). But, apparently, the TRC summer writing team has been asked to stay home and been offered reimbursements for travel expenses they’ve already covered for the meetings that were to begin Monday.
“Indigenous education benefits all students and promises a better-shared future. Scrapping the TRC curriculum writing sessions at the last second is a damaging step backward on the road to reconciliation – and it sends a horrible message to Indigenous communities about their importance to the Ford government,” said Sattler. “Teachers, educators, and families have been clear that they support bringing Indigenous education into the classroom, and are right to be alarmed if this is the approach the Ford government plans to take. Mr. Ford needs to lay out his position, and describe his commitment to truth and reconciliation. The NDP believes we should move forward, not backward when it comes to reconciliation.”