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Government of Ontario Protecting and Sustaining Education

Statement

Government of Ontario Protecting and Sustaining Education

Ministry of Education

Today Lisa Thompson, Minister of Education, issued the following statement:

"Today is a disappointing day for Ontario's parents and students.

On a day when we reached out to begin good-faith consultations with Ontario's teachers, we instead are seeing Ontario teachers' unions condoning a student walkout at schools across the province.

We know teachers' unions organized student walkouts under the previous government. I'm concerned we may be seeing the same thing now as teachers' unions are clearly not discouraging this stunt.

Instead of focusing on political stunts, I encourage the unions to instead work cooperatively with us on the real challenges facing Ontario's education system such as the fact that too many of our kids are failing math — graduating without the skills necessary to successfully enter the workforce.

Over half of Ontario's sixth grade students are failing to meet an acceptable standard on their math tests. The teachers' unions have offered no solutions to the math crisis. Instead of focusing on math — they are now enabling students to skip classes. And even when students are in class, too many teachers are choosing to use students as a captive audience for their union's political agenda.

Our government will not be distracted from making the necessary reforms Ontario needs to improve math scores as part of a sustainable, world-class education system that protects what matters most for students.

We are renewing Ontario's curriculum to get back to the basics so that more kids have the math, science and financial literacy skills they need to succeed.

We have just passed legislation to make the successful completion of a math content knowledge test a requirement for certification by the Ontario College of Teachers.

Our government is now actively considering making math skills a minimum standard for re-certification in Ontario.

In the meantime, I want to remind parents that, should they be concerned about their child's safety because of any union support of the walkout, they always have the option to contact the Ontario College of Teachers, which is the regulatory body responsible for teacher misconduct.

I also want to advise all school boards that I expect them to take action to discipline anyone who abandons their classroom responsibilities. In the private sector, people know that if you skip work without justification, you don't get paid.

And I want everyone in Ontario to know that we are prepared to take action to give parents peace of mind that no one will use our children as a captive audience or bargaining chip as part of their union's political games."

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