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Ways to support Ontario's teachers

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Image: Mary Crandall/Flickr

The Doug Ford government has been spending a lot of money to spread disinformation about its education agenda and education spending. The government has miscalculated costs when it suited them and lied about the changes they are making. Despite crying "poor," the government is willing to bribe parents in areas impacted by strikes by subsidizing childcare costs. So here are some facts to share with people repeating the Ford administration's misinformation and things you can do to support the teachers.

  1. Get out to schools and support teachers who are picketing and working to rule in your community. Here is a list of all the job actions which seems to be updated regularly. Teachers care about your kids and are trying to stand up for them and for themselves. However, speaking from experience, striking can make you feel alone, so please go out and let the teachers know you stand with them.
  2. If you don't need the childcare subsidy, feel free to donate it back to the school as some parents are doing. If you need and accept the subsidy, that does not mean you have to support the changes. The government is trying to pay you a pittance to divest billions out of schools and our future. Write your MPP to oppose the changes.
  3. Do not quote the Ford government's numbers because it is trying to underplay the importance of these cuts. The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario report on the original proposal provides a detailed analysis of what the Ford government's proposal, as originally proposed, meant fiscally and compared it to previous budgets. The Conference Board of Canada's provincial and territorial ranking of education and skills stated that in 2014, British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta were top performing provinces, earning overall "B" grades on the education and skills report card. This report assessed where Ontario was doing well and badly vis a vis other provinces.
  4. Know that we should not go back heedlessly, just to save money! Ontario has worked with stakeholders and invested in education over the past two decades. According to Harvey Bischof, "In 1986, one fourth of Ontario's adult population had stopped their education before completing high school. In 2016, only 7 per cent of adults stopped their education before completing high school." These numbers are corroborated by Statistics Canada. In March 2019, Jacquie Miller wrote a very thorough article for the Ottawa Citizen about the Ford government's proposed education changes. In it, she asked experts about the claims made by the government and included a great quote by Paul W. Bennett, an education consultant: 

"'We are dealing with a debate on two different planes,' he says. If the government proposed raising class sizes in high school in order to spend more to provide a wider range of supports for students, that would be a sound argument for improving education, says Bennett. 'But simply taking the billion they are claiming they are going to save and putting it outside of education … that is another matter.'"

We need to stand firm so the Ford government doesn't shortchange our kids' future. Share any other tools which may be helpful for allies as the teachers.

Image: Mary Crandall/Flickr

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