It was not long ago that provincial Finance minister Jim Flaherty announced a staggering deficit that would result in a five-percent cut to all government ministries.
It is pretty clear the Tories are looking for reasons to further privatize education, health care, and many other social sectors. One must question where this money will come from when Ontario already has endured five years of cuts?
The Tory solution is “cut it or sell it.”
In education, the inadequate funding model has resulted in unprecedented shortfalls and deficits.
In a recent survey conducted by the “People for Education,” parent spokesperson Annie Kidder announced Ontario schools are experiencing many problems, including the lack of textbooks for the new curriculum, a reduction in teachers, the inability to conduct needed repairs to school, a loss of board professionals, and a decrease in guidance counsellors.
In addition to these issues, schools are experiencing a lack of teaching assistants for special needs students, a crisis in funding for special needs students, a reduction in educational workers, oversized classes, school closures, transportation deficits, a growing need for many schools to fundraise, and increased student fee to offset funding shortfalls.
In the recent government survey conducted by the Tories in the “On” magazine, parents were limited to answering only multiple choice questions. Hopefully, if one hasn’t already, the public will exercise their right to compose a letter in Question #26 outlining their concerns in education.
In fact, one must question why the government is going over the heads of school boards, school councils, and parent associations with the distribution of this education survey in the first place? Why create all of these avenues of input if the government has no intention of using them (except for political spin)?
There also were many important areas in education that were not addressed in the political education survey which was included in “On” magazine.
Fortunately, parents who serve on school councils can look forward to a survey written by the “People of Education” that will be directed at the issues and problems parents and students are facing in our education system as a result of the cuts and inadequate funding formula.
It is my hope the real picture of Ontario’s education system will be shown, and all will see that a properly-funded public education system is good for all members of society.
Ed Ojala, President
OSSTF District 5B