What training?

Dear editor:
New curriculum guidelines for math and language are being implemented in elementary classrooms across the province this September.
Teachers are not opposed to these new guidelines. Teachers have been asking for new curriculum for many years. However, they are upset with the lack of homework and long-range planning done by Mr. Snobelen, the minister of education and training, prior to directing teachers to implement the new Ontario Curriculum.
Published documents, comprehensive teacher in-service implementation time-lines, and support resources should all have been in place months before the September implementation deadline but Mr. Snobelen disregarded these basics.
According to Mr. Snobelen, the new Ontario curriculum documents were sent to teachers in June. Teacher in-servicing for these documents was to take place “sometime” during the summer.
These documents reached the Fort Frances-Rainy River Board of Education office after all the teachers had dispersed for the summer. Teachers couldn’t work with what they didn’t have. Most teachers received the guidelines on Aug. 25 yet are expected to develop long-range plans and implement them immediately.
Mr. Snobelen has been quoted as saying he is “disappointed” that only about 2,000 of the province’s 73,000 elementary school teachers attended the one-day curriculum workshops held by his ministry this summer.
Each board in the province was only allotted a very minimum number of spaces at these training sessions. Consequently, these training sessions were open to a very limited number of teachers. You can’t be faulted for not attending something that was not available to you.
The Fort Frances-Rainy River Board of Education, on a week’s notice, was invited to send two teachers, the director and the curriculum co-ordinator to a “training” session in Kenora. This was at our board’s expense. Participants regarded it as an orientation session, not a training session.
Mr. Snobelen’s comments to the media about these issues were misleading and/or inaccurate. He needs to be held accountable.
Sharon Preston
Quality education advocate