Dear Mr. Ford,
I am writing in response to your government’s plan to implement math testing for future teachers before they are allowed in Ontario classrooms, with a long-term plan to implement mandatory annual math testing for all teachers in the province. As an Arts teacher for over two decades (drama and visual arts to be specific), the thought of having to prove my ability as a teacher through the writing of a math test is like asking all Premiers to also write the same test to prove that their citizens will be better served. Does demonstrating that a teacher can gain a satisfactory mark in math imply they now will be a better teacher?
An inclusive education instills a love of learning and encourages the development of inquiring minds through a variety of avenues. All subjects are of equal value supporting the growing and expanding mind. Focusing on numeracy as critical to student success implies that you are deeming mathematics to be superior to other subjects.
Mr. Ford, in case you are losing sleep at night over your concerns for Math Education, you can be sure that Math does come into play quite often when teaching the Arts, as does History, Geography, English and Science. Wasting tax payer’s money on developing and implementing yet another test for teachers I believe is a step backwards and demeans the incredible work we already do.
If you are serious about improving math scores in our schools, my suggestion to you would be to address the more pressing issues of poverty, mental health, lack of support and resources for teachers and over crowding in the classroom. I could go on. If you want to strengthen a student’s ability to focus, memorize, and think critically unencumbered by life’s stressors, all important for student success, then make more room for creativity and exploratory learning, supported through Arts in Education.
As a dedicated professional, please consider removing the Math test requirement for all teachers. We would appreciate putting our energies into our respective areas of expertise rather than those subjects that do not directly affect us.
Anita Mitra OCT