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No report cards for TVDSB students

Kate Dubinski

By Kate Dubinski, The London Free Press

Talking too much to your friend? Never happened.

That bad mark in math? What bad mark?

No more teachers, no more books — and now, no final report cards for more than 51,000 ­London-area public elementary schoolchildren as they near summer holidays.

The Thames Valley District school board, Southwestern Ontario’s largest, said Tuesday it won’t send final report cards home with kids when school ends next week, the fallout of the work-to-rule campaign by elementary teachers.

Instead, parents will get a letter saying their child passed — no one ever fails, really — and a record of their attendance for the school year.

It could be joy for the kids, but probably annoying for parents who want to know exactly how their child did in each subject.

“This is the first time in my 30-plus years as an educator that I can remember teachers not doing final report cards,” said Laura ­Elliott, the board’s education director.

“It’s unfortunate because report cards contain information that is important, including marks and comments and general ­assessment.”

Report cards are usually filed into a special software program by teachers. Principals then go over the marks and comments and approve the reports.

This year, as part of their job action, the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO), the union for Ontario’s 76,000 public elementary teachers, has instructed its members to submit the bare minimum.

The 3,300 Thames Valley elementary teachers turned in class lists with letter grades for each subject, hand-written, for pupils in Grades 1 to 8, and comments for each subject for special education and kindergarten kids.

That means unless principals — or board administrators — are willing to enter the marks, they won’t go home with kids on the last day of school.

Some boards have ordered their principals to do so, but Thames Valley and many other boards have opted to send home letters telling parents whether their child passed and can progress to the next grade, or failed.

“It is disappointing that the Thames Valley District school board of trustees has chosen to put students, parents, teachers and principals in this situation,” said local ETFO president Craig Smith in a statement.

“The board was informed of our legal work-to-rule protocol on May 9 and should have planned accordingly.”

Parents can contact their child’s teacher to check on how the year went.

“We encourage ongoing discussion about student progress throughout the year,” Elliott said. “The report card is one piece of overall assessment.”

ETFO is on a work-to-rule campaign as it tries to negotiate a new contract with the province.

All three major Ontario teachers’ unions are working under expired contracts, amid speculation Ontario could be in for full-blown strikes by its more than 180,000 teachers this fall if progress on new contracts isn’t made soon.

Kate.dubinski@sunmedia.ca

Twitter.com/KateatLFPress


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