Civics and Citizenship course at risk!
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Ontario History & Social Science Teacher's Association
Association des Enseignantes et Enseignants des Sciences Humaines de l'Ontario

Breaking News! Will Civics and Citizenship course be removed from Ontario curriculum?

OHASSTA has recently learned that there is a discussion at the Ministry of Education to make Careers a full credit (compulsory) grade 10 course, and make the Civics and Citizenship (CHV2O) a full year optional grade 10 or 11 course, perhaps with elements from grade 11 Law. Needless to say, we are very concerned about this impact on the current (and recently revised compulsory course), and want to bring this to the attention of everyone who will take a stand.

We need you to contact your MPP, and the Ministry of Education about this possible initiative. I have included some talking points to include in your email/phone call. As well we want to use social media such as twitter to raise awareness and to stop this idea. Collective action is how we make change!
  • The curriculum was recently revised in 2013 with the Citizenship Education Framework (pg. 10) as an integral part of the curriculum. Civics is critical to making these ideas come to life.
  •  If Civics is cancelled, it would make Ontario one of the few places in North American without mandatory Civics education.
  • One key overall expectation is “C1. Civic Contributions: analyse a variety of civic contributions, and ways in which people can contribute to the common good”.  (Canadian and World Studies, 2013, pg. 156). Do we not want our students to examine the lives of active citizens working to make Canada and the world a better place?
  • Civics now includes political thinking concepts, a fundamental skill in a democratic nation. “Civics and Citizenship introduces students to the political inquiry process and the concepts of political thinking. Students will develop ways of thinking about civics and citizenship education through the application of these concepts and will use the political inquiry process as they gather, interpret, and analyse data and information relating to issues of civic importance. Students will make informed judgements and draw conclusions about these issues and will develop plans of actions to address them.” (Canadian and World Studies, 2013, pg. 12)
  • The responsible, active citizen participates in the community for the common good. Citizenship education provides “ways in which young people are prepared and consequently ready and able to undertake their roles as citizens” Julian Fraillon and Wolfram Schulz, “Concept and Design of the  International Civic and Citizenship Study” (2008) (Quoted in Canadian and World Studies, 2013, pg. 12)
  • “Citizenship education is an important facet of students’ overall education. In every grade and course in the Grade 9 and 10 Canadian and world studies curriculum, and particularly in Civics and Citizenship in Grade 10, students are given opportunities to learn about what it means to be a responsible, active citizen in the community of the classroom and the diverse communities to which they belong within and outside the school. It is important for students to understand that they belong to many communities and that, ultimately, they are all citizens of the global community.” (Canadian and World Studies, 2013, pg. 12)
  • “The Grade 10 course Civics and Citizenship focuses on civics, a branch of politics that explores the rights and responsibilities of citizens, the processes of public decision making, and ways in which citizens can act for the common good within communities at the local, national, and/or global level. By focusing on civics and citizenship education, this course enables students to develop their understanding of what it means to be a responsible citizen and to explore various elements of the citizenship education framework.” (Canadian and World Studies, 2013, pg. 12)
  • One important element of the Civics course is the expectation C3. Personal Action on Civic Issues: analyse a civic issue of personal interest and develop a plan of action to address it (Canadian and World Studies, 2013, pg. 156
  •  An understanding of how to address Civic Issues and Democratic Values in a multicultural and pluralistic environment is becoming more significant than ever if we are going to live in a peaceful community.
  •  Some schools may have a “We Day” or similar program or connection to Civics and Citizenship as a focus of social justice in the school. This could be jeopardized.
  •  The Civics course provides opportunities for students to learn about current issues facing indigenous peoples such as expectation C2.1 analyse ways in which various beliefs,  values, and perspectives are represented in their communities (e.g., with reference to different racial, ethnic, and/or religious groups; people  with various political beliefs and/or social values; people from different age groups; men and women; First Nations, Inuit, or Métis people; (Canadian and World Studies, 2013, pg. 156) and more with the upcoming revisions to the Canadian and World Studies curriculum to reflect Ontario’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation’s Calls to Action.
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