By the thousands, teachers, education workers, parents and community allies took their anger to the streets all across Ontario today to say they aren’t happy with the PC government’s planned cuts to education. This included dozens of people right here in Kawartha Lakes, who protested in front of MPP Laurie Scott’s office. Scott also serves as minister of labour.
The Conservative government is in budget consultation mode and Premier Doug Ford has mused about cutting full day Kindergarten, class sizes, and has already slashed $600 million in cuts to student grants and $440 million in funding cuts to universities and colleges.
As the number of announcements about education policy begin to pile up the landscape is increasingly discouraging for educators. Ford ran on a promise to cut four per cent from the Ontario budget, a cut that would mean approximately $1 billion to education and more than $8 million in Trillium-Lakelands alone.
Educators are rallying, says the OSSTF, to ensure that the community, including parents and legislators, understand that cuts to education would mean cuts to front line services.
In an era where demands for specialized services for students are growing, staff are facing increasingly difficult working conditions including integrating students with unique needs and coping with rising numbers of violent incidents in the classroom, all the while preparing students with skills to cope in a rapidly changing, highly technological, global economy.
Local OSSTF President Colin Matthew says “learning is facilitated when students receive attention from highly trained and passionate educators. This simply doesn’t occur in larger classes.”
Also included in upcoming education changes is that interest will now be charged during the six-month grace period on OSAP loans, post-graduation.