The provincial government left it in the hands of individual school boards as to whether or not EQAO grade 9 math testing would happen this semester and Hastings-Prince Edward District School Board has decided to cancel the upcoming test.

Communications Manager for the school board Kerry Donnell explains that the test happens twice: once is semester one, and again in semester two. “For students that are taking grade 9 math now, they were supposed to take the test in the next week or so,” she says. “That’s the one that’s cancelled.” Donnell adds that the test for semester two students happens around June. “We’re waiting for direction from the ministry for that one,” she tells My Bancroft Now.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce places the blame for this situation on the “escalation by union leaders and the withdrawal of services by Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation.” He points out how the OSSTF said their job action would not impact students, but this is a “clear example” or the union affecting Ontario students.

“Stephen Lecce can’t be trusted in anything he says,” OSSTF District 29 President Scott Marshall says. He adds that this past Wednesday’s one-day strike could have been avoided if Lecce and the provincial government returned staffing levels to what they were during the 2018-19 school year, but they refused to do so. “They’re not realizing that their staffing cuts are a significant problem in bargaining,” Marshall says.

“The EQAO Grade 9 math test provides valuable information to students, families, and the province about how students are performing in critical math skills and concepts,” Lecce says.

OSSTF District 29 President Scott Marshall disagrees noting how the government spends “millions” on testing, only to get results that don’t tell teachers and students anything they already don’t already know.