Teachers, education workers, parents and community allies are planning to rally against cuts to education in front of Laurie Scott’s office on Thursday February 7 from 3:30-4 pm. This will coincide with rallies across Ontario at most MPPs’ offices.
The Conservative government is in budget consultation mode and 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 4 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. We are in an era where demands for specialized services for students are growing, and 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.
Recent announcements by the Ford government including sweeping cuts to OSAP and post-secondary funding are incredibly disconcerting to those monitoring education policy, says local OSSTF President Colin Matthew.
In addition to cuts to post-secondary funding the government is seeking to review class sizes in elementary and high schools, speciously noting that countries like China and Turkey post successful international test results with bigger classes without providing any cultural or historical context, according to a press release.
The government couches the class size discussion in terms of flexibility.
“This is absolutely not the kind of flexibility the public should embrace as it will only see students in larger classes with less opportunity for individual attention, instruction or feedback. Learning is facilitated when students receive attention from highly trained and passionate educators. This simply doesn’t occur in larger classes,” says Matthew.
Concerned community members are encouraged to join OSSTF Provincial Executive member Paul Caccamo who will be joining with local leaders from OSSTF and ETFO at a rally at MPP Laurie Scott’s office on Feb. 7 at 3:30 pm to ensure that Scott understands that cuts to education funding are unacceptable.