Do Public Schools in Ontario Allow for our Voice to be Heard?
The first answer that most likely comes to mind is...
YES! Our national framework is a parliamentary democracy with a progressive conservative party responsible for decision-making surrounding policies, laws and bylaws across the province. We stand for equitable education and respect for everyone's voice. After all, in the first quarterly period of 2020, "Ontario received 46.3% of all immigrants to Canada... Over the 12 months to March 31, Ontario received 154,558 immigrants, up from 133,320 during the previous year" (Ontario Demographic Quarterly).
What are some contrary beliefs?
I speak from the standpoint of an educator and a student who has seen classroom environments across age levels and institutional types. Over the years, I've noted a few observations:
- Though teachers, especially those who are recent graduates, are trained to create safe spaces for opposing thoughts, they also hold preconceived notions of their own as a result of their upbringing;
- Many statements that have been brought forth by the Ministry of Education have not been transformed into actions as we continually see a large gap in the transparency of content taught and discussions encouraged surrounding, for example, Indigenous Peoples of Canada and Canada's historical events;
- Each school creates a culture of its own, spreading particular notions that lead to broad ideologies of our province, or nation, as a whole;
- Students often withhold from opposing their teacher's belief systems;
- Faculty members may hesitate to question the accuracy of any given event provided within a course textbook;
Supporting contrasting perspectives or lenses of the same event at hand are implicitly discouraged
- Students often lack the confidence of explicitly expressing their contrary opinion in class (in efforts to avoid judgment from others) to maintain 'political correctness' or 'save face'.
It's now time for you to share your response with me!
What do these observations imply?