Toronto Sun, September 2017
Students with special needs are more likely to be in applied than academic, but those with severe learning difficulties that leave them truly unable to master the Ontario curriculum are excluded from the EQAO testing. Marsh noted there are accommodations for students with special needs when writing the EQAO tests, and that their Individual Education Plans (IEPs) are supposed to help students achieve the same results as their peers.
CBC, January 2015
It’s been a maddening two-and-a-half years of fighting school board bureaucracy for David Pace-Bonello and Joey Nichol. They’ve watched their son, Julian, struggle in school. He’s a bright, compassionate kid, but has a hard time in class at Queen Victoria Elementary. So the 10-year-old sat for a year-and-a-half on a Hamilton Wentworth District School Board waiting list for his turn to be tested while his parents fought against the brutally long wait times — and that's after they tried for a year just to get him onto the list.
Toronto Life Magazine, December 2016
Even getting children the psycho-educational assessment necessary to find a placement can be difficult; many schools have an average of six students still waiting to be assessed. And the majority of Ontario school boards spend more on special education than they receive from the government. They have to reallocate funds from other areas to cover the deficit.
Toronto Star, March 2009
The Ministry of Education does not keep statistics on assessments or wait times because they are administered separately by the province's 72 school boards. However, in its 2008 survey of public schools, the advocacy group People for Education reported 36,000 elementary school children and 4,800 high school students were waiting for assessments.
This is despite the widely accepted principle that early identification of learning disabilities or other problems that affect learning is critical to a child's long-term success.
Today's Parent, September 2017
School board–funded testing often doesn’t take place until after grade three—most kids have evened out in their learning by then, so it’s more obvious who might be struggling. Even then it could still take months or years, depending on how long the wait-list is. Private assessments generally range from $1,500 to $2,500, so it’s an option limited to families who don’t want to wait and have the money (or decent medical benefits with coverage for psychological services). It’s one of the great inequities in the public system, says Annie Kidder, executive director of People for Education, a non-profit in Ontario that conducts research and makes policy recommendations for public education.
CBC, January 2015
Hundreds of kids are on the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board’s waiting list to be tested. But wealthier parents can pay for the testing themselves at a private clinic and buy their way out of the line. The testing is available for a fee of $2,000 to $3,500 – but many parents can’t afford that. A private psychologist who does the tests says families frequently come to her clinic after getting fed up with the wait at the board.
That raises issue of unequal access for kids who are most vulnerable – those with learning disabilities in low-income areas who can't afford to pay for private tests.