Thursday, May 2, 2019

2,000 teaching casualties so far in Ford's war on education and kids

An ETFO button against the Ontario cuts
Despite Doug Ford promising repeatedly during the election campaign last year -- and despite the surreal continuing claim that this promise is being kept by Ontario Education Minister Lisa Thompson -- that no one, teachers or otherwise, would lose their jobs due to government cuts it would seem that this pledge was far from the truth.

On May 1 the CBC spoke to Andrew Campbell, a Grade 5 teacher at Major Ballachey Public School in Brantford. Campbell has been tracking layoffs since the budget was announced and found that "almost 2,000 teachers job cuts have been announced and there are more to come. You can read his full report on the cuts at this link."

2,000 teaching jobs.

With the push to increase high school class sizes from an average of 22 to an average of  28 students and with the slashing of per pupil education spending some schools are clearly going to have to axe electives and other programs.  Regardless of Thompson's absurd musings that somehow increased class sizes are good for students and encourage "resilience" we all know this is a farce.

If bigger class sizes were better, why is it that one of the primary advertising points that private schools make to their wealthy customers sending their kids is that the class sizes will be smaller?, which calls itself "the most trusted source when it comes to private schools in Canada", notes that part of the appeal of private schools is:
Small class sizes — While the average class size varies according to which private school you select, your child will most likely have smaller classes than he or she would at another type of school. As such, your son or daughter will receive more attention from his or her teachers. Moreover, your child will also have plenty of opportunities to ask questions and participate in class. Learning is interactive, not merely rote.

They state further that:
A trademark of private education, small class sizes have been drawing parents and struggling students to private schools for generations. The benefits of smaller classes have been proven in study after study, and most teachers will tell you intuitively that working with fewer children more personally improves the atmosphere and overall learning quality in the classroom.
So let's cut the crap.

Everyone knows that teacher layoffs and bigger class sizes hurt kids and their education outcomes and futures. Thompson knows this and Ford knows this. The reason they don't care is that the kids of their wealthy backers and friends are not going to be hurt, it is working and middle class kids as well as kids from racialized and marginalized communities who will be.

Update: Please note that we have updated the article to reflect the fact that the increase in class sizes is an average, which means that in some cases class sizes will actually be much higher, even into the 40 student per class range.

See also: "We won't allow our future to become a budget cut" - Photos from the student walkout strike in Toronto

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