Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Student walkouts and mass protests coming this week in Ontario against Ford's education cuts

Image from a protest poster designed by Nathaniel Laxer
Student walkout strikes followed by a large weekend rally at Queen's Park are coming to Ontario this week in the wake of the announcement of what amount to massive funding cuts to public education by the Doug Ford government.

The Ford government is using increased class sizes and forcing students to take online courses as what Dave McKee in the People's Voice describes as a "Trojan Horse". McKee notes that:
The Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) calculates that these changes will result in over $700 million in funding cuts to public education, and a loss of over 24% of current classes from the public school system. While the government has repeated that no currently employed teacher will lose their job, these funding cuts are expected to result in 10,000 fewer teaching positions across the province over four years.
In protest of this upwards of 100,000 high school students across the province will be walking out of classes at hundreds of schools on Thursday afternoon (April 4). The graphic above is from a poster designed for the walkout at one west end Toronto school.

This will be followed by a massive rally outside the legislature in Toronto on Saturday, April 6 at 12 noon. Thousands are expected to attend.

Organized and endorsed by "AEFO, CUPE-Ontario, ETFO, OSBCU, OECTA, OSSTF and a growing list of parent and community groups, other labour unions and organizations" the event's Facebook page notes:
As parents, educators and concerned community members we are standing together to defend high-quality publicly funded education and the optimal learning conditions that all students need and deserve!
The Conservative government is proposing cuts that will be damaging to all students and will particularly hurt students with special needs. Our message is simple: Our education system needs investment not cuts.
The government has proposed to:
Increase class size in grades 4-8 and in high school;
Download its obligation to support children with autism onto public schools without adequate funding; and
Reduce the number of teachers and support staff in schools across the province.  
The Left Chapter plans follow-up reports from events on both days. 

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