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Ontario government says changes in regulations ensure teaching jobs go to the best educators

On Thursday, October 15, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, issued the following statement regarding the revocation of O. Reg. 274/12: Hiring Practices, and updated teacher hiring practices:

“Our government is fully committed to standing up for students and parents who deserve the best, most qualified, and reflective educator at the front of the classroom. That means, when it comes to hiring educators, principals should be able to hire the best teacher for the job – not necessarily the one who has been in line the longest.

Today, I am pleased to announce that, effective October 29, 2020, Regulation 274 will be revoked, and teacher hiring in Ontario will be dictated by merit, diversity, and the unique needs of schools and communities.

For nearly a decade, teachers in this province have been hired through a convoluted system that preferred seniority over skills, abilities, diversity and lived experiences of teachers. In a time where teacher hiring is necessary to ensure students get the best education possible, these changes will further enable principals to swiftly hire the best candidate so they can focus on improving the quality of education and helping our students be the best that they can be.

For too many years, our newer and younger educators have been left behind, and they deserve equal opportunity for progression. By putting students first, we will empower school principals to hire the best teacher for each and every classroom, and not the teacher who has simply been in the school board the longest.

Revoking Regulation 274 is about students, families, and the communities they live and work in. It is about giving school boards more flexibility so they can hire the best, most qualified candidates, especially now as they face increased staffing challenges. It is about ensuring that students can see themselves reflected in the educator at the front of the classroom. And it is about hiring teachers who meet all students’ needs and will inspire them to achieve success.

The new hiring Policy/Program Memorandum (PPM) will enable principals to hire based on merit, diversity and the unique needs of the school, while providing strict protocols to avoid concerns of nepotism.

Regulation 274 will become a regulation of the past, and students, parents, and innovative educators across the province will be able to welcome a new wave of opportunity and the knowledge that we will get the most qualified teaching our kids.”

Background:

  • Upon revocation of Reg. 274/12, the Ministry of Education will implement an interim teacher hiring policy that will provide school boards with guidance, as boards develop local policies that meet the directives set out in a ministry
  • The Ministry of Education will implement a PPM that will provide clear and transparent processes and principles that boards will use in finalizing their teacher hiring policies. These principles include:-       Promoting diversity, equity and human rights;-       Qualifications and merit;

    –       Enhanced teacher employment mobility;

    –       Fair and transparent processes; and,

    –       Monitoring and evaluation.

  • Based on these principles and specific directions in the PPM, school boards and authorities will then have the opportunity to develop localized teacher hiring policies that support the memorandum’s objectives, while reflecting the unique needs of the community.
  • In 2019, the Ministry of Education engaged in consultations with stakeholders, including education unions, to gather feedback on Regulation 274/12 and teacher hiring practices. The key themes that emerged included enhancing mobility between boards, improving teacher continuity in the classroom and hiring for merit and diversity rather than seniority.
  • In their 2019 consultation submission, principals’ associations, including the Ontario Principals’ Council, cited several concerns with O. Reg 274/12, including the inability to hire the best teacher for the position, and supported the revocation of the regulation.
  • The province’s interim policy for school board teacher hiring practices will come into effect on October 29, 2020 and will guide school board hiring until school boards develop their own teacher hiring policies consistent with the PPM to be issued in November.
  • Publicly funded school boards and school authorities will have until December 31, 2020 to develop and post their own teacher hiring policies that align with the PPM and respect existing collective agreements.
  • A review of the Peel District School Board found that “having a teaching staff that is representative of the students in school would allow students to focus on learning, rather than having to focus so much of their time and emotional energy navigating an education system where they are made to feel like outsiders.”

James Morgan

James Morgan is a freelance contributor. He has worked for several print and broadcast media outlets. James loves the history, natural beauty, and people of eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

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