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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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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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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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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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Basic income sit-in participants — even media — barred from entry to MPP’s office

in Poverty Reduction/Provincial by
n Monday Perry had led a small group to protest in front of Scott’s office

On day two of a peaceful protest in front of local MPP Laurie Scott’s office, lawyer and social worker Mike Perry was informed they were not welcome to enter the constituency office. Neither, apparently, is media, as Scott’s staff members would not even let Pamela VanMeer of Kawartha411 in to ask a question about the protest.

Not even the postal carrier could get in because of the locked door and simply moved on with the day’s mail.

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Sit-in at MPP’s office to renew tomorrow morning after no word on apology

in Community/Poverty Reduction by
A police officer hands protesters their coffees after ending the sit-in.

They waited all day for an apology from the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, Lisa MacLeod, about the cancellation of basic income, but that wait will spill over to tomorrow after police put an end to the sit-in.

Lawyer and social worker Mike Perry led a small group to protest in front of local MPP Laurie Scott’s office beginning at 9:30 am. After peacefully demonstrating outside for awhile, Perry and a small group went inside to ask for the apology, indicating they wouldn’t be leaving until they heard back from the minister.

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Rally against cuts to education in front of Scott’s office next week

in Around Town/Education by

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.

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Letham meets with Premier Ford, talks growth, job creation

in Around Town/Community/Local News/Seniors by

On December 10, Mayor Andy Letham was invited to meet one-on-one with Premier Doug Ford at Queen’s Park. The meeting was one of seven held with mayors of municipalities across Ontario including Mississauga, London and Guelph.

Among the themes discussed, according to a City press release, were common goals of providing efficient and effective services. The premier recognized Kawartha Lakes’ early adoption of a restructured, streamlined council size. He also expressed approval for the municipality’s long-term financial planning and ability to tackle sizable infrastructure deficits. They discussed how Kawartha Lakes is taking proactive steps to ensure sustainability of the services and amenities its residents value most, as uncovered in core service reviews.

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