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									    the OTF curriculum forum
                                                                   We’re here for you!                                                                                                                                                            May 11, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Volume 11, No. 3

T  he OTF Curriculum Forum was formed in 1981 to provide           provide resources, materials and ideas for conference workshops
                                                                                                                                                   a message
   a venue for professional interaction among the Subject,
Division and Special Interest Associations and and OTF and to
provide an active and important liaison between the member
                                                                   on topics such as current brain research and its influence on the
                                                                   adolescent brain, differentiating instruction, local government
                                                                   week, students at risk, anti-bullying, teacher and student
                                                                                                                                                                       from the President
Associations and the Ministry of Education.                        exchanges, E-Learning, workplace health and safety, education for
                                                                   sustainable development, year-round schooling and many other                                                                                                George (Joe) Lamoureux
The members of the Forum are: OTF, the four teaching Affiliates    topics.
of OTF and representatives from the approximately 45 different
Associations. Subject Associations are organized by subject        The Forum is funded primarily by OTF and the Associations                                              OTF has a new look and I am excited about the next stage—a website
for teachers and for consultants and there are two Division        contribute materials, time and the expertise of their
                                                                                                                                                                                    remodelling—to be launched in June at
Associations: one for Primary Educators and the other for Junior   representatives who attend the meetings. All of the Associations     Dear Colleagues,
Educators. All established Associations have an open invitation    fund their events and conferences through membership fees

for membership on the Forum and, as new Subject Associations       collected from their members. Some of the larger Associations,           his is an important time in the history    I see OTF becoming more attractive to our    our members do every day and often too
are formed, they too are invited to join the Forum.                such as the Science Teachers’ Association of Ontario (STAO),             of OTF as we celebrate the 65th           newer members—those who twitter and           much. One reason is the governments’
                                                                   offer French workshops for Francophone members. Discussions          Anniversary and set some new directions       tweet—by being more environmentally           insistence on using standardized testing
The Curriculum Forum meets three times during the school           are underway with the Ministry to improve the opportunities          for our organization. My hope is that with    friendly and relevant. Recently at OTF        as a measure of teacher success. In
year. A Steering Committee, consisting of representatives from     available from the Subject Associations for AEFO members.            a comprehensive review of the Bylaws          I participated in training on elluminate      January, on CHCH television I enjoyed
four Associations (two elected each year for a two-year term),                                                                          and Policies of the Federation we can         —our new communications software that         having the opportunity to defend
two Affiliate representatives (appointed for a two-year term on    If you are not a member of either a Subject or Division              modernize while at the same time respect      will make virtual conferencing an option      the work of our members against a
a rotational basis) and the OTF senior staff member responsible    Association, please consider becoming a member. The process for      our traditions. I would like to see OTF       for OTF. As well I attended the “Expanding    representative of the Fraser Institute who
for curriculum, meets regularly to plan Forum meetings and the     joining varies among the Associations and information is available   become more significant to our members        Our Horizons Conference” in Toronto that      claimed the only measure of teacher
retreat. The Chairperson of the Forum is elected at the October    on their respective websites. Membership across the Associations     while continuing to complement the work       opened my eyes to the virtual world of        effectiveness is standardized testing. I
meeting and is always from one of the Subject Associations.        has grown steadily over the last few years, as classroom teachers    of the affiliates and not encroach on them.   communications. We need to capitalize on      challenged him to find one positive
                                                                   become aware of the wealth of information and opportunities          Yes, we have had our disagreements            this, in order to make OTF more important     suggestion to assist teachers with their
At the Friday Ministry meetings, members are provided with         available to them as members                                         from time to time, but we have also           in the professional lives of members. We      data and reporting and he could find
updates from the various divisions of the Curriculum and                                                                                had very significant achievements             purport to be the voice of teachers in        none. We know organizations like the
Assessment Policy Branch and on current education initiatives      In June, OTF will be launching the new OTF website where             such as the Pension Partnership and           publicly funded education and have a          Fraser Institute only seek to attack
from the other branches within the Ministry. Forum members         you can go to find information on the Forum, links to all of         excellent Professional Development            great opportunity to expand our range         teachers and publicly funded education.
are asked for their input and expertise related to policy,                                                                              opportunities that are well received by       with new technology. I also attended this     As noted in this issue, OTF and the
                                                                   the Subject and Division Associations’ websites and updates
curriculum, assessment practices and other essential elements                                                                           our members. I would like to increase         year’s OTF/OADE Conference and was            Affiliates are united in their concern
                                                                   on Teaching Matters, the OTF professional development
of teaching.                                                                                                                            the involvement of our Governors in           totally engaged in the discussion and         around the Government’s recent
                                                                   program. We encourage you to spend some time on the                  Federation committees and workgroups.         interaction with the Deans and the TELC       development of a School Information
In recent years, the focus of the Curriculum Forum meetings        new site and discover what the OTF Curriculum Forum can              Of course this will require consensus and     committee members. At the conference I        Finder website. Our fear is that the Fraser
has been on both personal and professional development for         do for you.                                                          adequate budgeting, both of which are         was reminded by a colleague that a good       Institute’s manner of assessment of the
the members and, ultimately, for the teachers across Ontario.                                                                           achievable—and I suggest essential —for       teacher is like a candle—it consumes itself   education system is reflected in this
Speakers and guests from a wide variety of organizations                                                                                the future of OTF.                            to light the way for others, something        initiative by the Government.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                (Continued on page 3)
                                                                                                                                            OTF and the Affiliates have written and sent an open
                                                                                                                                            letter to both the Minister of Education and the Premier,   Your 2008-2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Curriculum Forum
                                                                                                                                            expressing our objections to the site and requesting its
                                                                                                                                            removal to allow for real consultation on this issue.

                                                                                                                                              a message                                                 Association for Computer Studies Educators (ACSE)

               information finder                                                                                                                         from the President
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO)
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Association francophone pour l'éducation artistique de l'Ontario (AFEAO)
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Applied Science & Technology Teachers of Ontario (ASTTO)
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Consultants'/Co-ordinators' Association of Primary Educators (CAPE)
  On April 1, 2009, the Ministry of Education launched a new tool accessible from its main page, entitled the School                                                                                    Catholic Association of Religious and Family Life Educators of Ontario (CARFLEO)
  Information Finder (SIF). The name itself suggests that one could search for relatively general information about the                                                                                 Council of Drama and Dance Educators (CODE)
  schools in Ontario, but this is far from the actual function of the site. We propose another name for this offensive initiative:             (Continued from page 1)                                  Council of Outdoor Educators of Ontario (COEO)
  School Information Finder, Tool for Education Research (the SIFTER). It will enable parents to sift through schools                                                                                   Educational Computing Organization of Ontario (ECOO)
  comparing questionable data.                                                                                                                 As your President I have been privileged to              English Language Arts Network (ELAN)
                                                                                                                                               represent you in the past couple of months               ESL/ELD Resource Group of Ontario (ERGO)
                                                                                                                                               at events such as the: Public Education                  Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO)

T   he original intent was for administrators to be able to use it
    as a tool to support the work of the Literacy and Numeracy
Secretariat (LNS) and their Statistical Neighbours initiative.

                                                                           Parents		“shopping”		for	schools,	encouraged	by	the	
                                                                           Parents	choosing	schools	based	on	very	limited	criteria,	for	
                                                                                                                                               Symposium, Safe Schools Action Team Ministry
                                                                                                                                               Roundtable, Spirit of Mandela Steering
                                                                                                                                                                                                        International Languages Educators’ Association (ILEA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ontario Association of Business Education Co-ordinators (OABEC)
                                                                                                                                               Committee and Events, Pension Plan Evaluation            Ontario Association for Geographic & Environmental Educators (OAGEE)
Without consultation with education stakeholders, the Acting               example EQAO scores
                                                                                                                                               and Board member meetings, the Workers                   Ontario Association of Junior Educators (OAJE)
Deputy Minister, Ben Levin, sent a memo to Principals on March        •	   School	closings	as	a	result	of	parents	choosing	one	school	
                                                                                                                                               Health and Safety Center Board, Canadian                 Ontario Association for Mathematics Education (OAME)
24, 2009, announcing that this new site would be up on the                 over another
                                                                                                                                               Jewish Congress Charities Committee - Students           Ontario Association of Physics Teachers (OAPT)
Ministry’s website at the end of the month. In that memo, the         •	   Parents	taking	their	children	out	of	the	public	system	and	
                                                                                                                                               Stand Together, 17th Annual New Pioneers                 Ontario Association for the Supervision of Physical and Health Education (OASPHE)
Deputy Minister requested that Principals “not share the link              enrolling them in private schools
                                                                                                                                               Awards 2009, the Retirement Reception of -               Ontario Business Educators' Association (OBEA)
with others, outside of school and school board staff”, essentially   •	   Misuse	of	personal	and	demographic	information	of	parents	
                                                                                                                                               Brian McGowan, OCT, Ontario Budget briefings             Ontario Classical Association (OCA)
giving them a gag order.                                                   and students
                                                                                                                                               and OSSTF’s and OECTA”s AGM’s, Partnership               Ontario Cooperative Education Association (OCEA)
                                                                      •	   Unfair	comparisons	and	criticisms	of	schools,	parents,	
                                                                                                                                               Table and the ANTI- School Information Finder            Ontario Council for Exceptional Children (OCEC)
Since 2003, when the Liberals were elected, education in                   teachers and students
                                                                                                                                               lobby .                                                  Ontario Council for Technology Education (OCTE)
Ontario has shown tremendous improvement, largely due to the          •	   Increased	racial	and	socioeconomic	segregation	based	on	
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA)
collaboration between the Ministry and education stakeholders              school demographic information
                                                                                                                                               It is important to me that your President is             Ontario Family Studies - Home Economics Educators’ Association (OFSHEEA)
and the consultative nature of decision-making by this                •	   Intensifying	the	existing	stigma	toward	children	with	special	
                                                                                                                                               visible and accessible while defending publicly          Ontario Family Studies Leadership Council (OFSLC)
government.                                                                needs
                                                                                                                                               funded education and I am both. I feel that OTF          Ontario Geography Consultants' Association (OGCA)
                                                                      •	   Unnecessary	fluctuations	in	real	estate	and	property	values	
                                                                                                                                               has a strong future that can be built by all of us       Ontario Guidance Leadership Association (OGLA)
On April 6, OTF and the Affiliate Presidents and General                   based on limited criteria
                                                                                                                                               in this room and on the shoulders of those who           Ontario History and Social Science Teachers' Association (OHASSTA)
Secretaries met with representatives of the various parent
                                                                                                                                               have come before us, the best way to predict             Ontario History, Humanities & Social Science Consultants’ Association (OHHSSCA)
organizations to discuss the site prior to the Education              What is most disconcerting is the blatant contradiction between
                                                                                                                                               your future is to create it. Creating a more             Ontario Mathematics Co-ordinators Association (OMCA)
Partnership Table meeting.                                            the existence of this site and the intent of the Ministry’s new
                                                                                                                                               responsive and inclusive OTF is a tremendous             Ontario Music Educators' Association (OMEA)
                                                                      Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy, formally launched –
                                                                                                                                               legacy we can all leave for future teachers and          Ontario Modern Language Teachers' Association (OMLTA)
Members of the Education Partnership Table include parents,           ironically – immediately following the Partnership Table meeting.
                                                                                                                                               educational workers in Ontario.                          Ontario Physical and Health Education Association (OPHEA)
teacher federations, principals’ and supervisory officers’
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ontario Philosophy Teachers' Association (OPTA)
organizations, Directors of Education, student represen tatives,      Not long after the SIF site came under public scrutiny, another
                                                                                                                                           Yours in Federation,                 .                       Ontario Reading Association (ORA)
Faculty representatives, etc. The parents were – and are –            site appeared, ranking schools in Ontario. This is exactly what                              is initiative
                                                                                                                                                     e nt about th                                      Ontario School Counsellors' Association (OSCA)
justifiably outraged by the social demographic profiling as a         members of the Education Partnership Table feared would
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ontario Society for Education Through Art (OSEA)
consequence of this site.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ontario Society for Environmental Education (OSEE)
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ontario School Library Association (OSLA)
At the Partnership Table meeting, Annie Kidder, Executive
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF)
Director of People for Education, took the lead on behalf of                   OTF and the Affiliates became aware of the site the                                                                      Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF)
the parents’ groups and spoke against the site, requesting its               same day it was launched. President Lamoureux sent                                                                         Science Co-ordinators' and Consultants' Association of Ontario (SCCAO)
removal until a formal consultation with education stakeholders
                                                                               a letter to Minister Wynne, on behalf of the 145,000            George (Joe) Lamoureux                                   Secondary School Hospitality Educators of Ontario (SSHEO)
could be done. In turn, each and every member of the
                                                                           teachers in Ontario, expressing our collective shock and            President                                                Science Teachers' Association of Ontario (STAO)
Partnership Table objected to the site, commenting on concerns
                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Association of Library Consultants and Coordinators of Ontario (TALCO)
about the potential for:                                                                       disappointment about this initiative.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Teachers of English as a Second Language of Ontario (TESL)

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