In the past few months ETFO representatives have met with Education Minister Leona Dombrowsky and the Premier's staff. At these meetings they emphasized the Federation's ongoing concern with the plethora of EQAO-related assessment initiatives, and invited the government to conduct its own audit of school boards in order to understand the true impact of the testing regime in elementary classrooms.The tone and language is not surprising for ETFO. It's always hated EQAO. What it's never had (and I would argue should have less of given its recent fumbles) is the kind of influence that federations in B.C. have had lately on the question of large-scale testing.
We are pleased to report that the government has responded. On January 28, ETFO was informed that the Ministry had posted an online survey for local presidents (ETFO, OECTA, and AEFO) and school boards to complete. We are hopeful that this survey, and ongoing discussions, will lead to positive changes ensuring children are provided with a full spectrum of experiences at school including the arts, science, social studies, and physical and health education.
The ministry survey, if the ETFO description is accurate, should really be expanded to a group larger than the one indicated. Asking union local presidents about an assessment their provincial offices have always detested? Gee, I wonder what the results will say. How about a survey of all teachers? One distributed through the college of teachers as opposed to through the ministry, through boards or through their unions?
Then, how about a survey of the parents?
Or, how about just letting ETFO blow off its steam on this question and letting the EQAO, school boards and those people in the system that take a much broader view of the usefulness of large-scale assessments get on with life?