Yesterday, Ontario Minister for Education Stephen Lecce announced new math curriculum for implementation in the fall. I’ve looked at the announcement. As a parent I’ll admit, I rather like the changes. Coding, budgeting, and basically financial literacy all are excellent tools to teach our children to succeed at life.
What good is it though, if it can’t be taught to children properly? Based on feedback from parents and teachers, it can generally be assumed that distance learning has not been a resounding success. Replicating the in classroom experience is impossible in a virtual setting. Shortcomings abound in the software and the experience itself does not encourage learning amongst students, regardless of age. A lot of work needs to be done to build a new teaching platform that accomplishes the task of educating our students on what is needed. As well, as train and educate teachers, support staff and boards on how to properly implement and use it. To say this is a monumental undertaking is an understatement.
I like to refer to it as this province’s Apollo 13 moment. A catastrophic emergency out of our control has happened and we have an unmovable deadline to achieve success looming on us all. It’s time to bring the experts into the room and start rethinking how we’re going to make this happen. Instead, Mr. Lecce has stood up and said on top of redesigning distance learning, we are also going to have to redesign the basics of math.
It’s a matter of priorities. We are not out of this pandemic yet. Not by a long shot. Parents top priorities right now is not math. It’s the safety of our children. I for one, want to know that my child’s school is safe for them to return, and that they will be able to be taught properly by a teacher that is confident in the new format. This takes time to accomplish and can’t be rushed. This is what Mr. Lecce should be leading us on over the summer. Working to rebuild a system rocked by the pandemic and provide confidence to parents and teachers that we have rebuilt a system that is flexible and strong enough to handle whatever COVID-19 throws at us..
Instead, Mr. Lecce is seemingly issuing decrees without any concern for follow up. Which leads me to the question that is the headline. Which priority is he working on over the summer? The trend so far has been to issue a command then step back and let others figure out how to implement. We can’t have this style of leadership anymore. It’s apparent that this pandemic is changing some fundamentals of how our society works. Take the time to ensure the foundations are sound first. What good is a brand new curriculum if no one is learning it because you didn’t fix the first problem everyone was warning you about first?