THE Ford government recently announced that all aspiring teachers must pass a math test before obtaining their teaching license. They are also considering having all teachers write a math test annually to keep their license. I have a few questions about the proposal.
Why does a qualified high school art, music, English, French, history or geography teacher — or an aspiring one — need to be able to teach math? Are you going to revoke the license of a music teacher with 15 years experience because they cannot do trigonometry?
Will all teachers write the same test? Does a Grade 1 teacher need to know how to teach math at the same level as a high school calculus teacher?
Why write the test annually? Is a teacher suddenly going to lose all their math knowledge from one year to the next?
What will it cost to administer the test? Using Ministry of Education numbers, we can estimate that approximately 860,000 EQAO tests were written in 2017-2018. The ministry website says that in 2017-2018 there were about 125,979 teachers (full-time equivalent) in Ontario. This means that the teachers would write approximately 15 per cent of the number of tests written by students. 15 per cent of the EQAO budget of $33,000,000 is $4,950,000. $5,000,000 a year seems like a lot of money for something that will have little to no benefit.
On so many levels this idea is wrong. I believe there is a need for some serious thought and discussion before any action is taken.
(Originally published April 9, 2019)