Elementary teachers in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) are providing final report card marks for their students to school principals. Under Ontario’s Education Act, school boards provide final approval of marks produced by teachers. The school boards are then responsible for issuing report card marks to parents.
Elementary teachers are not withholding final marks. Teachers have spent the year teaching, evaluating, and reporting on student progress, and have prepared marks in preparation for the end of year reports.
Teachers have fulfilled their responsibilities. It is now the principals and the TDSB’s responsibility to review and approve those marks and communicate them to parents.
Under normal circumstances the principals review and approve every report card.
Teachers are currently engaged in a legal work-to-rule job action and are not writing standardized, Ministry initiated comments for report cards. These comments are prescribed, difficult to understand, and do not relate to an individual student’s development.
Teachers and parents have complained about the meaninglessness of these comments for years. This action is directed at the Ministry to pressure them to return to the bargaining table—the lack of comments in no way disadvantages any student in the system.
Consequently, completion and distribution of report cards is not a workload issue, as it is in fact a vast decrease of workload for principals as they do not have to read these exhaustive meaningless comments and only have to approve and input the student’s marks.
The TDSB is one of the few boards in Ontario that has made a decision to not issue final marks to parents. At this point in time, the following Ontario school boards have agreed to send out report cards:
- Avon Maitland DSB
- Bluewater DSB
- Grand Erie DSB
- Greater Essex DSB
- Lambton Kent DSB
- Near North DSB
- Niagara DSB
- Renfrew DSB
- Simcoe DSB
- Trillium DSB
- Upper Canada DSB
- Hamilton Wentworth DSB
Why is the TDSB not doing the same? The Board has been aware of ETFO’s legal work-to-rule job action and its effects on reporting for more than a month.
In a section on its website devoted to answering parents’ questions about report cards, the TDSB specifically states that the marks are available and that “parents/guardians may contact the principal of the school to arrange to see their child’s marks” after June 22.
If the marks are available, why isn’t the TDSB sending them out to parents?