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Teachers: For the people

in Opinion by

In the mid 1990s, while working at a newspaper as a young scribe, I wrote what I thought was a great story about a teacher who was taking a sabbatical. He was going to visit an overseas country and increase his learning and experience. He would inevitably accumulate new wisdom to bring back to future students one day.

Except that particular story never ran. I was told to get the ‘real’ story. How much was this going to cost? What sort of burden would this be to ‘taxpayers?’ The headline was altered, the focus shifted. In the end, the teacher and board of education were meant to feel shame for allowing such a thing to happen. I was embarrassed to see my name on that byline.

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Food choking incident at local school has parents demanding more supervision

in Education by
Neil and Jena-Lyn Westerby with their children.

A Lindsay couple whose daughter choked on food at Leslie Frost Public School while there was no adult in the classroom is fighting for more supervision for students.

Meanwhile, a Trillium Lakelands District School Board spokesperson says “students are not left alone unsupervised.”

Neil and Jena-Lyn Westerby say their daughter Lexie, 7, choked on a piece of orange on March 22 which upset her enough that she wanted to call home. She was not allowed to call home, the parents say, although the teacher did notify the parents via a text message after the school day and after Lexie had already told her parents about what had happened.

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Protesters in Lindsay against Ford cuts part of 25-city strike

in Provincial by
Attendees are concerned with the extensive list of cuts to education, health and the environment. Photo: Tracey Mechefske.

A small but determined group of concerned citizens braved the cold and very wet weather yesterday and gathered at MPP Laurie Scott’s constituency office to protest the litany of cuts to public funding by the Ford government.

The event in Lindsay was part of a 25 city ‘General Strike’, which grew out of an effort by a Hamilton woman to host an event in that city. Of the 35-40 people who showed up about 18 were from Haliburton County.

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Mental health training is available to all of us

in Health/Opinion by

The desire to help and the hope that we can provide direction, care, or support to someone that may be struggling is inherent in many of us. Whether it is a family member, friend, or even a neighbour, when we see a loved one experiencing mental distress most of us are genuinely inclined to help.

Quite often two things keep us from offering that support: We are either 1) Not sure what we’re supposed to do or 2) We’re afraid if we do something, we’re going to end up worsening the situation.

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‘Attrition protection’ fund added by PCs to prevent teacher layoffs

in Education by
'Attrition protection' fund added by PCs to prevent teacher layoffs

A news release from the Ontario government indicates that a new “Attrition Protection Allocation” of $1.6 billion in the province’s education funding model will top-up funding for school boards to protect front-line teaching staff from being laid off.

This will “prevent boards from having to lay off teachers impacted by proposed changes in class sizes and e-learning,” says the release.

The PCs appear to be getting the message from both union picketing and community feedback, after weeks of advocacy that tried to prevent the layoffs.

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Board losing millions in funding; Director of education says ‘change is upon us’

in Education/Provincial by
Board losing millions in funding; Director of education says ‘change is upon us’
Director of Education Larry Hope for the Trillium Lakelands District School Board.

The widespread cuts to education by the PC government will mean millions of dollars will be lost to the Trillium Lakelands District School Board. However, Director of Education, Larry Hope, says a highly regarded construction program at LCVI can’t solely be blamed on the PC government.

Among other cuts, the board is facing:

  • a $423,000 shortfall for Early Childhood Educators (ECEs).
  • a $526,000 drop in board funding because of new classroom caps for Grades 4-8.
  • a $3.8 million shortfall as secondary class sizes balloon from 22 to 28 students as a cap

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Construction program at LCVI folds due to cuts by PC government

in Education by
"We have had so many success stories with students who are non-traditional learners."

For more than a decade Lindsay Collegiate and Vocational Institute (LCVI) has run the Gold Star Construction
program.

The program targeted senior students, many of whom faced challenges in regular classrooms, and offered real world work experiences on job sites around Lindsay. It also offered them a range of useful certifications including First Aid, Working at Heights, and Chainsaw operator certification.

With the cuts to education from the PC government under Premier Doug Ford, that program will not return next year, despite students having already enrolled in it, says a press release from OSSTF.

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More than 1,000 suspension notices to go out over incomplete vaccination records

in Education/Health by

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is issuing suspensions orders to more than 1,000 students whose immunization records are not up-to-date in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. 

While suspension orders must be issued, the Health Unit says it is continuing to work with parents to ensure their children’s records are updated and students can remain in school. 

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Unions call on education director to counter Ford government’s ‘false narrative’

in Education by
Over 100,000 students walked out of more than 700 Ontario schools to protest the PC government’s cuts to education. Photo: Roderick Benns.

The heads of the elementary and secondary schools’ teachers’ unions are calling on Director of Education, Larry Hope, to set the record straight – that teachers did not coerce students to walk out on April 4.

Just a few days ago more than 100,000 students walked out of more than 700 Ontario schools to protest the PC government’s agenda, including changes to the health curriculum, deep cuts to OSAP, and the recently proposed changes to class sizes and e-learning. These were student organized and student-led protests.

But on the evening of April 4, Minister of Education Lisa Thompson, on the official ministry website, dismissed the activism of the student organizers “and attempted to spin a false narrative about the role of teachers and teachers’ unions,” according to the open letter from the union reps.

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Students walk out to protest Ford’s looming education cuts

in Education by
Students protest at I.E. Weldon S.S. in Lindsay. Photos: Roderick Benns

It’s 1:07 pm and the hallways of I.E. Weldon Secondary School in Lindsay are more alive than usual. Students are milling around, signs tucked under arms.

They seep out of the school and gather just off school property, forming long lines of anticipation until they become a single, large mass.

Just after 1:15 pm – the time when about 80,000 students across Ontario are doing the same thing – Grade 11 student Tisza Pàl address the assembled students with a megaphone.

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