Greater Essex Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

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May 17, 2012
EQAO Draws Fire

Windsor Star

Chris Thompson

A vocal opponent of standardized testing in schools is bringing his message to Windsor Thursday night and hopes the “monster” that has become the Education Quality and Accountability Office will be reined in.

“My argument is really quite simple, that the EQAO has become a monster that is gobbling up a lot of Ontario classrooms,” said Alfie Kohn, a Boston-based former teacher, human behaviour expert and author who will speak at the Ciociaro Club.

“It has become something it was never intended to be and the issue is almost as dire under a Liberal government as it was under the Tories.”

Kohn, who says he keeps a close eye on developments in education in Ontario and across Canada, said the $150 million spent in the province every year on testing could be put to better use.

“More broadly, standardized tests, including Ontario’s provincial exams, tend to measure what matters least, which means that if scores go up, it’s either meaningless or actually bad news,” said Kohn.

“Parents need to understand that every hour that Windsor-area teachers are spending covering the content they expect to be on the test is an hour not spent helping kids to become creative, critical thinkers who love learning. It just adds financial insult to educational injury.”

Kohn’s presentation, entitled Defending Learning, Opposing Testing: Why a higher provincial exam score is bad news, is being sponsored by a number of local teachers’s unions.

Brian Hogan, Windsor-Essex president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association, saw Kohn speak last year and advocated to bring him here.

Hogan said teachers are becoming preoccupied with teaching for the tests rather than focusing on students’ needs.

The EQAO was created by the Progressive Conservative government of Mike Harris and the first provincewide testing began in 1996.

“It’s pervasive in the U.S., sad to say, and it seems that the previous government in Ontario was bent on copying the worst aspect of American educational reform,” said Kohn.

Kohn encourages parents and teachers alike to come to his free talk, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Ciociaro at 3745 North Talbot Rd. For more information call 519-735-7158.

 

 

For more information, visit www.AlfieKohn.org.