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ETFO Urges Education Minister To Correct Record

In response to remarks the Minister of Education made during an interview with CityNews Breakfast Television program on January 20, 2020, ETFO President, Sam Hammond, sent issued this letter. PDF version
 
Sam Hammond said, “While discussing Ontario’s Full-Day Kindergarten program you referred to the staffing model as “one EA, one teacher”. In fact, the staffing model for our world-class Kindergarten program consists of a full-time certified teacher and a designated early childhood educator (DECE). It is our hope that this reference to education assistants (EAs) was an inadvertent error, and that you correct the record to avoid further confusion.

While we certainly value and support the important role Educational Assistants (EA) play in our public education system, it is important that parents, students and the public at large understand the various roles educators play in our schools.”

Stand with us to call on Doug Ford’s Education Minister to correct the record and show DECEs the respect that they deserve.

Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

Fédération des enseignantes et des enseignants de l'élémentaire de l'Ontario

136 Isabella Street, Toronto, Ontario M4Y 0B5

Telephone: 416-962-3836 Tollfree: 1-888-838-3836

Fax: 416-642-2424

Website: www.etfo.ca

                                                                                                                                                       January 27, 2020

The Honourable Stephen Lecce
Minister of Education
5th Floor
438 University Ave
Toronto, ON  M5G 2K8

Dear Minister:

On behalf of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario and our 83,000 members, I am writing to address some remarks you made during a recent interview with CityNews Breakfast Television program.

While discussing Ontario’s Full-Day Kindergarten program you referred to the staffing model as “one EA, one teacher”. In fact, the staffing model for our world-class Kindergarten program consists of a full-time certified teacher and a designated early childhood educator (DECE). It is our hope that this reference to education assistants (EAs) was an inadvertent error, and that you correct the record to avoid further confusion.

While we certainly value and support the important role Educational Assistants (EA) play in our public education system, it is important that parents, students and the public at large understand the various roles educators play in our schools.

There has been much concern created by your government with regard to the future of  Ontario’s Kindergarten program. Your predecessor refused to commit to maintaining the current model beyond the present school year. When you and I met in July, shortly after your appointment, I asked you to commit to maintaining this program in its current form and you declined to do so.

At the bargaining table, ETFO has been asking for a commitment to maintain the current model for Kindergarten, yet your negotiators have declined to do so without setting conditions that are unacceptable.

Ontario’s Kindergarten program was designed by education experts, and it has proven to be a great success, a model for other jurisdictions to follow and a fundamental piece of our world-class education system. The full-time certified teacher and DECE team has been central to the success of the Kindergarten program.

Teachers have knowledge and understanding of the elementary school curriculum from Kindergarten to grade 8, and how the Kindergarten program expectations connect to later elementary grades. Teachers know how to build upon the foundation provided in Kindergarten and are responsible for student learning, long-term planning, effective instruction, formative assessment and have the ultimate responsibility for evaluation and formal reporting to parents.

DECEs have knowledge and understanding of the developmental learning needs of young children.  They study early childhood development and focus on age-appropriate program planning, thus providing engaging opportunities and experiences for children that contribute to the assessment of their learning. DECEs graduate from community college and/or university and are registered to practice with the College of Early Childhood Educators.

A recent poll showed that seventy-one per cent of Ontarians agree that the team of a certified Kindergarten teacher and DECE is important to the success of the program. Parents, families, students and educators are looking for a guarantee from the government that the current model for Kindergarten, with a full-time certified teacher and a full-time DECE, will be maintained and protected.

I respectfully ask that you correct the record publicly and that you take this opportunity to make a tangible commitment to the current model for Full-Day Kindergarten; by instructing your negotiating team to agree to ETFO’s proposals on the staffing model without any conditions attached.

I look forward to your response.

                                                                                                                        Sincerely,

                                                                                                                        Original Signed

                                                                                                                        Sam Hammond,
                                                                                                                        President

SH:FC:MG

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