Legislation / Status of Women
STANDING COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
Chair: Kathy Wosnick
Members of the Education Committee examine the state of education at all levels and of all types in the province. Projects, discussions and addresses by visiting speakers relate to issues of concern to the members.
The Committee can raise awareness among all Club members about important educational issues. Members are encouraged to follow through in their local areas with school boards, colleges, universities and their MPPs.
MORNING PLENARY: Early Learning and Childcare
Speaker: Shannon Fuller, acting Assistant Deputy Minister, Early Years Division, Ministry of Education
Shannon Fuller, the acting Assistant Deputy Minister in the Early Years Division at the Ministry of Education presented Renewing and Expanding Ontario's Early Years System in her plenary address at the March Ontario Council Standing Committee meeting. Shannon began with an overview of the Ontario's Early Years system within a historical perspective. In 2009, Dr. Charles Pascal released With Our Best Future in Mind, with recommendations for a more integrated early learning and child care system, including full day kindergarten. In 2015, the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 (CCEYA) came into force, replacing 70 year old legislation. CCEYA strengthened compliance with programming through play based learning, and regulated health and safety in early years settings.
Topic: The Road to Wage Equity, A University Example
Speaker: Dr. Lynne Taylor
Dr. Lynne Taylor, Associate Professor of History at the University of Waterloo was the Lead Negotiator for the Faculty Association (FAUW) and co-chair of the Salary Anomaly Working Group. Its mandate was to investigate all faculty salaries, male and female, professoriate and lecturer, for possible anomalies, both individual and systemic. Lynne outlined for us the steps taken by the Working Group to investigate faculty salaries, and explained how the necessary data was gathered in a research study model. It took approximately a year and a half to pull data from a variety of sources at the university.
Topic: It Takes a Village: Supporting student well-being using a collective impact model
Speakers: Jessica Outram, Principal at Colborne Public School in Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB and Chantell Tunney, President of Impact Matters: Social leadership for Strong Communities
Jessica engaged the group in examining issues many students bring with them to school, including mental health challenges. Current statistics show that 1 in 5 children have a mental health issue. Schools are now expected to do more for all children, to promote a sense of belonging and well being and staff is being trained to meet these challenges.
Chantell presented the Collective Impact Model, bringing together parents and professionals involved with a student in need, in order to create complex solutions to solve complex problems. Chantell explained that "collaborative work is like a pot luck lunch while collective impact is everybody in the stew pot together" with the purpose of defining and building success for the student.
See Full Report of the Education Committee.
Our speaker, Tanya Senk, a Métis/Cree/Anisihinaabe educator/artist/writer, is the Coordinator for Aboriginal Education in the Toronto District School Board and a PhD candidate at York University.
Tanya began the afternoon Education session with Indigenous Protocol, acknowledging the Traditional Territories and Nations on the land where we meet. She shared personal stories and experiences from her own family, telling her story as one of an Intergenerational Survivor of the Canadian Residential School system.
The historical sequence from an Indigenous perspective highlights the active role of Sir John A. MacDonald in creating residential schools. Chief Justice Murray Sinclair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has labeled the treatment of Indigenous people in Canada "Cultural Genocide". Others, in consideration of the high numbers of students who died in residential schools (of the 150,000 children forcibly sent to residential schools, death rate estimates are between 24% to 42%), and more generally the high numbers of First Nations people who died from disease and starvation on Reserves, have called it "Genocide".
See full Report of the Education Committee
See full Education Report for January
Topic: Measuring What Matters: A New Way of Thinking about Skills
Speaker: David Cameron
Dr. David Cameron, Research Director for People for Education presented a broad overview of school success and the measurements used to describe and define success in the Ontario school system. His background working within Ontario, US and UK school systems combined with his research within the Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat at the Ontario Ministry of Education gives him a broad perspective on our education system.
David began with a historical outline of People for Education, a non-profit organization that partners with parents, teachers, school boards and the government to hold conferences, conduct research and facilitate public dialogue around education in this province, with specific purpose to support public education. The questions: What are we measuring? What are the affects of that process? How is data reported and used? The Measuring What Matters research initiative is working with experts across Canada and beyond, to create a set of core domains and aligned measurement that is educationally useful and reflects a broad set of skills "students will need to live happy, healthy, economically secure and civically engaged lives". The domains identified to move beyond the basic skills currently assessed (through EQAO) are Health, Social-Emotional Learning, Creativity, Citizenship and Quality Learning Environments.
A very lively discussion touched on many challenges in the current Ontario school system, including the protective nature of educational institutions and working conditions within schools. Measuring What Matters, along with their partners (including the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Atkinson Foundation) is now working with twelve school districts interested in starting action research projects. Schools will integrate the core domains and identified competencies into the life of the school and work toward developing different kinds of data to reflect student success in a broader way. For more information, please see their website: http://peopleforeducation.ca/measuring-what-matters/ or contact David directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Topic: Sexual Assault on Ontario Campuses
Speaker: Anna Goldfinch, Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario
One in five women experience sexual assault while attending a post-secondary institution. Sexual assault continues to be a very serious issue at every college and university campus in Ontario. Since 1981, the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) has led the charge against sexual assault and harassment on campus through the No Means No campaign, which focuses on raising awareness and providing consent education.
Anna outlined some of the issues surrounding rape culture on campuses, which includes a lack of clear sexual assault policies at post-secondary institutions (at only 9 out of 102 universities across Canada as of 2014). In 2014, the Ontario Women's Directorate released A Response to Sexual Violence: A Resource Guide for Ontario's Universities and Colleges.
On March 6th, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced It's Never OK: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment, with a broad mandate to raise public awareness, challenge deeply rooted attitudes and behaviors, help and support survivors, strengthen laws and to improve safety on campuses. CFS-Ontario specifically recommends: mandated sexual assault policies at each post-secondary institution (created with significant student input), a six million dollar sexual assault resource fund specifically for post-secondary use, and that a post-secondary sexual assault accountability division be created by the government of Ontario. CFUW members who attended this session were given contact information in order to communicate their thoughts on this topic to the Ontario government.
Information about this Ontario government initiative can be found at: http://www.ontario.ca/home-and-community/we-can-all-help-stop-sexual-violence.
More information from the Canadian Federation of Students Ontario, on both these topics is available at www.cfsontario.ca
Kathy Wosnick, Chair, Education Committee
Archives: January 2015 - March 2004