Thoughts on the new Ontario Math Curriculum

The Ontario Ministry of Education just released a revamped math curriculum for Grade 1 to 8 to be introduced in schools in September. I read through their outline and peeked in on the more detailed breakdowns.

The immediate question arises because of the timing. Who thought it was a good idea to try re-writing the curriculum during a pandemic when schools aren’t even able to commit to being “open” in September? As far as I can see, they have made no effort acknowledge this.

My best (and most charitable) guess is that this is part of a longer timeline stretching forward into the future. As the students experience the new curriculum and age into high school, they will need to release a new curriculum year by year for grades 9-12. And that also means re-printing textbooks along the way.

Aside: Made further complicated because high school is divided into streams “academic” and “applied”. The political-speak is that “applied” courses are rarely anything more than easier versions of their “academic” cousins with the tradeoff being that taking “applied” courses can shut you out of pre-requisites needed to apply for post-secondary education.

Which means this is, at minimum, a 5-year plan. And five years is longer than the typical election cycle. Ontario’s provincial politics is essentially a game of ping-pong between the rural conservative areas and the liberal metropolitan cities, like Toronto. After long enough, one side will get angry enough to vote the other out, and it continues back and forth. Currently we have a conservative government led by Doug Ford (only slightly less boorish than his brother, the late crack-smoking mayor Rob Ford.)

So with that, let’s look at this mixed bag of a curriculum.

Coding

The most obvious change is that each grade now has a new unit on coding.

 

 

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