March 15, 2019
Today the Conservative government announced more cuts to public education, including increases to class size in grades 4-8 and high school, and possible changes to Regulation 274
. These come on the heels of a week of announcements that included a download of autism services
to public elementary schools and unclear changes to the math curriculum.
Today’s announcement also included a new Health and Physical Education curriculum that will see topics such as consent, LGBTQ experiences, gender identity and gender expression remain in the curriculum but taught at different stages of development.
While ETFO is concerned by what we heard from the Ministry today, it is clear that our organizing efforts have been effective. Almost 84,000 Ontarians took action to advocate for smaller classes. The fact that class size caps will be kept for Kindergarten to grade 3 is a testament to our campaign. We were also a leading voice in advocating for a progressive and inclusive Health and Physical Education curriculum.
As part of ETFO’s response to this week’s announcement, a full-page ad will run in the Toronto Star on Saturday, March 16. It will also run in regional newspapers on Wednesday, March 20. Our newspaper ad focuses on the fact that cuts hurt kids and that our public elementary system needs investment and care, not cuts. Criticizing the Conservative government for removing hundreds of millions of dollars from public education, the ad emphasizes that larger classes mean less supports for individual students and will disproportionately impact students with special needs.
In addition, our social media campaign will continue to advocate for smaller classes in grades 4-8, the current model of Full-Day Kindergarten and Regulation 274. We will highlight the negative impact of cuts on the public education system and continue to call for investment.
The government proposed a number of changes today that we maintain are part of the upcoming round of negotiations. We will not stand by quietly as they undermine our collective agreements and our bargaining rights.