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Ontario may ditch high school civics classes. That’s a mistake.

As the government of Canada tries to educate and prepare the public for electoral reform, Ontario’s Ministry of Education is quietly floating the idea of removing the province’s mandatory civics course as a requirement for its secondary school diploma. Currently, Ontario is the only province with a compulsory course promoting civic literacy and active citizenship, and the very idea of jettisoning it while the rest of country considers changing the way it will elect future governments is absurd.

“When reliable sources first tipped us off about this development in the ministry we were shocked,” explained Jan Haskings-Winner, past president of the Ontario History and Social Sciences Teachers’ Association (OHASSTA). The plan would see civics replaced with a full credit in careers. “It calls into question the very purpose of public education. As educators, are we merely creating good workers with employable skills, or are we challenging students to be active citizens in a strong and constantly evolving society?”

Sandra Kritzer, current president of OHASSTA, recently sent a letter to Mitzie Hunter, Ontario’s minister of education, voicing her organization’s concern.

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