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…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

“What’s Going On In Ontario Schools?” Redux


What’s Going On In Ontario’s Schools? is the newest “question of the week” for my Education Week Teacher column.

I added “Redux” to the title here because I asked the same question last month on this blog — What’s Going On In Ontario’s Schools?

I requested, and received, many suggestions of additional resources when I posted that piece. And, now, I’d love it if Ontario educators and parents would share short comments on this post or over at my Ed Week teacher column that I can use in my posts next week.


Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. What is going on in Ontario has since 1981′s ‘A Nation at Risk’ has now reached Ontario. It only took a few years longer because our education orthodoxy can’t understand the meaning word ‘change’ It simply would mean a complete dimunition of their power within the existing system of education. Of course this means they are churning out PISA .EQAO and Finland agitprop to show that public education is on the upswing. Unfortunately those in the know show the gains on the aforementioned tests have stabilized and are now on the downswing. Canada doesn’t have a national education strategy to boost student achievement as in the US. So it is much easier for the unions and their fellow travelers to fund anti-change bills in the Ontario legislature. Nothing is really new. Just the same old ,same old no matter what Premier ‘Dad’ McGuinty and his union backers say. Nice to have the opportunity to show where Ontario stands. We are probably at the same point as the US was five years ago. Don’t expect much new from the education establishment here. They will never change their outmoded outlook. Thanks

  2. Hi Larry,
    I am an Ontario teacher who shares a great deal about our education system on my blog. In 2003 Ontario began an overhaul of its education system that centered on research-based effective practices and then provided funding and training at all levels so that students across the province, no matter the income level or location could experience success. It has not been an easy process, there have been bumps along the way, but I would definitely say that at the elementary level we are much better than we were.
    I’ll share a few links. The first contains a wealth of resources including many videos on effective practices.
    The second is a guiding document for how we evaluate success.
    Our teaching practices are expected to be based on high yield strategies
    I hope this helps.
    One of the notable statistics from Ontario is , that while we do not experience the grinding levels of poverty found in the US, there is very little difference between the success levels of those from poorer backgrounds and those from more economically advantaged backgrounds in our province.

  3. Dear Larry,

    As I commented on Twitter, I so appreciate your educational resources! You are the best! Here are a few of my own personal observations on the Ontario school system as parent:

    1). I notice that Ontario schools are working quite hard to involve parents in the school system via Parent Councils. Volunteers in the classroom seems more welcome in elementary schools than would have been the case a decade ago.

    2). Testing students has shown areas where additional remedial support is needed in the areas of English and math and remedial summer and after school programs are being provided in areas of higher need. Very welcome indeed! And highly needed.

    3). Schools seems to be more active in recruiting community expertise – i.e. people with a knowledge of social media or marketing.

    4). Personally, I don’t see a huge uptake in new learning technology from teachers in education (other than SmartBoard which of course are just a tiny tip of the iceberg). I wish this would change.

    5). More students are passing the Grade 10 literacy test and are graduating than ever before. Hurrah!

    I hope this helps and keep up the great work!


  4. Hi again,

    One new Ontario resource that I think is great for students is online homework help from the Ministry of Education: and and on Facebook at



  5. Some recent statistics showing how Ontario’s PISA math scores have plateaued and now are on the downswing…..

    PISA Normalized mean scores 2003 – 2006 – 2009 (higher is better):

    Canada: 532 – 527 – 527
    New Zealand (est): 523 – 522 – 515
    Manitoba (WNCP): 528 – 521 – 501
    B.C. (WNCP): 538 – 523 – 523
    Alberta (WNCP): 549 – 530 – 529
    Saskatchewan (WNCP): 516 – 507 – 506
    Ontario: 530 – 526 – 526
    Quebec (for comparison): 537 – 540 – 543
    Singapore: DNW – DNW – 560

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