In my last two blogs, I asked about the issue of teachers not being able to penalize students for handing in late papers or assignments. You wrote back to me, and said that this is, for the most part, true. Your child or your students (teachers reported) know that being late on an assignment doesn’t matter. Below is the letter we are sending off to our new Premier today. I will keep you posted on any response from her or the Minister of Education’s office. Please share this with other parents or your colleagues, and email, as well your opinions. This ridiculous policy needs to be changed immediately.
February 6, 2013
The Honourable Kathleen Wynne Premier Designate of Ontario Legislative Building Queens Park Toronto, ON M7A 1A1
Dear Premier Wynne:
To begin, I wish to congratulate you on your recent victory as the new Premiere Designate of Ontario. I am very much encouraged by your platform and willingness to take the steps necessary to return greatness to our Province.
Some years ago you assisted me in my private practice by writing a letter with regard to the need of School Boards to program for students diagnosed with ADHD. As the Minister of Education, you spoke out for these students for the first time as a politician. That letter that you provided is located on our web site and is one of the tools that hundreds of parents have been able to use to advocate for their children. Thank you for that effort some years ago. You have helped so many students, and saved their academic lives.
Now we face a new challenge. It has come to my attention that many School Boards have adopted the policy to not allow teachers to significantly penalize students for handing in late assignments or papers. This is an important issue that has now moved into the University ranks, where students are not required to honour deadlines for such assignments. As you can expect, this lack of enforcement does very little to prepare children and teens for our increasingly competitive business and work environments.
In my real estate investment company, for example, we at times bid on contracts to provide office space or other building services to organizations, including the Federal Government. Bids have a set time and date as a deadline. As you likely know, a submission, even one minute late is given a score of “0” and not even opened or considered. The failure is very real. The Ontario Government, as well, places tenders for products and services that have clear deadlines. Hand something in late, and the Government will “fail” that business.
I am asking you to allow teachers the freedom to penalize students in a meaningful manner with no exceptions, not extensions when assignments or papers are not handed in on time as your government would when considering any tender for services.
This is especially important for students as well, diagnosed with ADHD or a Specific Learning Disability. Honouring deadlines motivates and encourages students to work well ahead of time to achieve to their potential. Without such structure many will fail to learn the needed skills and discipline to be successful as future business owners, worthwhile employees, or entrepreneurs.
Please provide such direction to your new Minister of Education and let’s work together to create the discipline necessary to foster greatness in our youth. Make late a “0” and help parents and teachers bring a real life lesson back to the learning environment.
Dr. Henry J. Svec