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Re-certification Announcement Concerns College

June 07 2001

June 7, 2001 (Toronto) – The timing of the government’s plan to launch a teacher re-certification program this September is unreasonable and the costs are unknown, says the Ontario College of Teachers, the self-regulatory body for the teaching profession in Ontario.

"The College’s support for lifelong professional learning has been demonstrated by its development of the Standards of Practice for the Teaching Profession and the Professional Learning Framework for the Teaching Profession. Members of the profession are committed to having all teachers remain up-to-date in their professional knowledge and practice. However, this announcement by the government will result in a program that is being rushed into implementation, a program that will be expensive to administer," said College Chair Larry Capstick.

"It is unrealistic to expect that this program that ties teacher licensing to completion of professional development can be successfully launched by September. The government is demanding that in a little over two months, with no clear funding commitments from the Ministry of Education related to implementation or maintenance, the College puts in place a re-certification program for 40,000 classroom teachers – one third of teachers in publicly funded schools.

"When we talk about re-certification, we’re talking about people’s licences to teach – their ability to earn a living. Such a program must be driven by the realities of setting up a complex system that is administratively feasible, publicly credible, professionally acceptable, legally defensible and economically feasible."

The College provided the Minister of Education with advice on the government’s teacher testing plans in April 2000 following an extensive consultation with education stakeholders and the public across the province. The College is now being given approximately 10 weeks to implement the government’s initiative.

The College has explained to the ministry’s Teacher Testing Project staff the work needed to register course providers, approve courses, develop an appeal process for the providers who are not registered and set up a system to receive information from providers.

In addition, the College has to inform teachers and those soon to enter the profession about the new requirements and develop a web site to keep track of the professional learning activities of almost 180,000 College members in seven mandated areas.

The College will also be required to communicate with teachers about their progress and inform those nearing the end of the five-year period who have not completed the requirements that they may be suspended temporarily and removed from their classrooms if they do not meet the requirements. The College would then have to investigate each of these cases and refer them to a process similar to the disciplinary process for the removal of their certificate, their license to teach.

"I fear that the government does not recognize many of the very real implementation issues brought forward by the College," said Capstick. "But even more disturbing is the fact that the government is introducing changes to the Ontario College of Teachers Act without any consultation with the College Council."

The College is committed to lifelong professional learning and is willing to work with all educational partners to ensure that this new government requirement for licensing is a meaningful exercise. The government, in turn, must recognize and respond to the issues and concerns raised by the College.

The College will work with the two organizations that have been awarded the contract to develop a test for entry to the teaching profession. As the body that is responsible for licensing new teachers in the province, the College must approve the test that new teachers write.

The College provided its advice on teacher testing in a 15-point plan – called Maintaining, Ensuring and Demonstrating Competency in the Teaching Profession – that included a language proficiency requirement, an entry to the profession test, a standard appraisal system across the province and a two-year induction program.

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