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Press Releases 2004

December 13, 2004

For Immediate Release

GOVERNMENT SHUTS DOWN TEACHER TESTING DEBATE

( Queen's Park)            Frank Klees, MPP for Oak Ridges and Education Critic for the P.C. Caucus, denounced the McGuinty government today for cutting off any meaningful debate on teacher testing.

"This is not a proud day for the Minister of Education in this province," said Klees.   "Parents supported this initiative by our government, and Premier McGuinty and Gerard Kennedy are caving in because of promises they made to the teachers' unions to get elected.   It's nothing more than a political pay-off."

Bill 82, " An Act to amend the Ontario College of Teachers Act, 1996, to cancel the Professional Learning Program Act, 2004" was   "time allocated" by the government in order to force its passage before the Christmas recess.   Time allocation limits the debate time for a bill before it is called for a vote.   Klees emphatically stated that he and the P.C. Caucus would vote against the legislation when it is called for third reading later this week.

"If there was any doubt that this was a political pay-off, one only needs to read the message from the Secretary General of the Elementary Teachers Federation in the Fall 2004 edition of the ETFO Voice," Klees added.   "He states very clearly that Kennedy was keeping his commitment to the union."

Citing parents' concerns that led to the development and implementation of teacher testing, Klees quoted Cathy Cove, a well-known parent activist in the education system as saying, "teacher testing and the Professional Learning Program should not be regarded as something to fear in this profession.   Those with confidence and ability will use it to further demonstrate their competence.   This is long overdue."

Klees pointed out that the records from the Ontario College of Teachers Council in the late 1990s showed that upwards of 35% of teachers had never voluntarily taken any professional development courses.  

"This issue is vital to the ongoing success of our students," said Klees.   "We owe them the best education possible to assure their future and that means starting with teachers who we know to be current, well qualified and up-to-date."  

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For further information

Frank Klees, MPP