In The News
Education in Ontario is a leading news story right now because hundreds of thousands of parents across the province are concerned about how cuts will hurt Ontario students. Below are a few of the latest stories about the issue. Read and share them if you are here for Ontario's students.
What’s the plan for reopening schools safely in Ontario?
The government still hasn’t released the metrics it’s using to determine when it’s safe to reopen schools in COVID hotspots.
Internal government documents show how Ontario ‘watered down’ its strategies to keep COVID-19 out of classrooms
It looks like, originally, they had a lot of things covered, but what they ended up implementing ... was ‘plan lite.’ You know, let’s take it, but massage it so it’s not as stringent, not as costly.
Mandatory online learning leaves single parents with impossible choice
A lot of the labor that's taking place right now and over the next two weeks and beyond is going to be disproportionately borne by women.
Ontario teachers' unions want government to develop benchmarks for school plan
Ontario's four teachers' unions say they need to be a part of a plan for the safe return of students to in-person classes during the pandemic.
Hundreds of teachers to be switched from in-person to virtual school as TDSB announces huge reorganization
Out of the 324 schools, some will lose up to four or more teachers, while others will lose one or two.
Current school cohorting practices are ineffective and leave itinerant teachers at increased risk, say experts
This mammoth task is being downloaded on to teachers and educational workers at a time when they are already stretched thin.
Ontario trumpeted its $1.3-billion back-to-school plan. But a closer analysis shows it’s all about muddy math
Of the $1.3 billion, the province itself is barely spending $400 million.
This Hamilton school is teaching students outside all day during COVID-19
Bartkiw said the school plans to maintain outdoor classes, even in the winter. It may pose a challenge, but she explained they're already brainstorming ways to make it work.
Deep clean or day-to-day work: School custodians hard pressed to manage both
The Hamilton Spectator
Do we have enough workers to do normal cleaning procedures and enhanced cleaning protocols? No.
Earlier decisions could have avoided chaos in online learning
Ontario has gotten online learning in spades and so far it has been anything but a success
Masks and class sizes are weak points as schools reopen, Sick Kids study suggests
Sick Kids experts have once again noted the impossibility of facilitating proper physical distancing without reducing class sizes. The study also points to a number of operational issues that anyone working in schools could have predicted would be problematic.
COVID-19 complicates school life for Hamilton students and staff with disabilities
It's important they be prioritized and I think schools are making an attempt to ensure those kids are supported and really assisted in combating the harm and impact that the shutdown of schools has already had.
Ontario should focus more on reducing class sizes
Time is now about to run out, with the new school year around the corner. The new federal money is surely welcome, and responds to fears that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Liberal MPs are hearing from parents across Canada.
Ontario students to return to school full time in the fall, with no class-size limits for youngest learners
The Globe and Mail
Some infectious disease experts have warned that transmission could be underestimated because children are less likely to be tested and may not have symptoms.
School pandemic plans don’t work for working parents, province told
School reopening plans don’t work for working parents — and it’s time the province embraced “creative and ambitious” alternatives for this fall so families aren’t left in the lurch as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Why the government should spend its summer thinking about September
Any widespread restart of the economy depends on schools reopening. Right now, Ontario doesn’t really have a plan.
Ontario’s back-to-school plan gets an F for incomplete
At this point Ford and Lecce deserve an F for incomplete.
Parents need province’s plan for school reopening soon
St. Catharines Standard
While a lot will change over three months' time, the provincial government owes it to parents to provide at least a partial picture soon of what the new school year will look like, and what their role will be in their kids' education.
Schooling for equity during and beyond COVID-19
Beyond the Numbers
The Ministry of Education, Human Rights Code and Canadian Charter remind us that it is our duty and responsibility to challenge inequities. A crisis does not negate such responsibilities. It only enhances them.
The Difference Between Emergency Remote Teaching and Online Learning
Well-planned online learning experiences are meaningfully different from courses offered online in response to a crisis or disaster. Colleges and universities working to maintain instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic should understand those differences when evaluating this emergency remote teaching.
'We can't flip a switch': E-learning unlikely solution for all Canadian students if COVID-19 closes schools
"On the scale that would be required to offer consistency in terms of student learning and achievement over the next few months, we might have sufficient capacity to do it for a few days or a week," he said. "But we would not have the capacity, and we have never really developed the capacity to do it for longer than short periods of time."
Teaching your children well: Lessons learned in Ontario’s education system
Ontario’s public education system is worth defending. Internationally, Ontario’s students rank among the top in the world in reading, writing and arithmetic.
Ontario’s Education Minister Lets Slip His New Plan Could Eliminate Secure Jobs for Special Educators
Education Minister Stephen Lecce’s new ‘Supports for Students’ plan would ‘create a two-tier system of education’, support staff say
Parents rally for teachers, urge province to 'meet their demands'
It makes a real difference when my daughter's in class and she has a calm class. She comes home and she's calmer, and she's able to focus on her learning.
Mandatory e-learning is a problem in Ontario high schools
Will the duty to opt out of online learning today become the duty to opt into classroom learning tomorrow?
Ontario government has yet to put its words into print, says OSSTF president
After weeks of rotating strikes, frustration is mounting. "The minister interrupted the discussions we were having with his own representatives on Tuesday in order to, once again, get to a podium and make an announcement," the union president said.
‘Bait and Switch’: Doug Ford’s New Numbers On Special Education Staff Funding Are Not Adding Up
Education Minister Stephen Lecce claims special education will be fully-funded. Support staff workers say his numbers don’t add up.
Mascoe: Here's the reality inside Ontario classrooms
The London Free Press
Ask any teacher where they would rather be and they will tell you in class with their students. I have been a teacher for more than 20 years. It’s a job I love and I am paid well for what I do. However, what the public may not know is how much my job description has changed.
Doug Ford thinks bigger classes are better, no matter what you think
By pretending to be listening and consulting on education — while privately disregarding his own secret survey that demonstrates the opposite — Ford is insulting the intelligence of every educator, parent and student in the province.
Ontarians don’t want Ford’s school changes
The Hamilton Spectator
The largest public consultations in Ontario history show that parents, students and education experts are universally opposed to larger classes and mandatory e-learning, two pillars of the government's education reform agenda.
Secret government reports say public doesn’t like Ford’s education plans
Do not increase class sizes— and forget about e-learning.
High-school research program cancelled amid funding dispute with Ontario government
The Globe and Mail
“I’m hard-pressed to explain the rationale and the logic behind all of this. Obviously to me, it doesn’t make any sense,” Mr. Guerette said on Thursday.
'I'm on strike because' — Brampton teachers explain why
I am on strike because empathy and collaboration cannot be taught by a computer.
Reader letter: Parent supports strike action by teachers
I am a parent and support the striking teachers across Ontario.
‘Virtually no’ support for larger class sizes, according to reports the Ford government has refused to release
There is virtually no support, anywhere, for what they are doing,” Tom Doyle told the hearing before labour board Chair Bernard Fishbein, adding emails from the public were “negative” to government changes.
Doug Ford’s Move to Online Learning Poses Problems for Students With Disabilities, Experts Warn
While a student with dyslexia would have great trouble with eLearning in that environment, I would argue any student would have trouble.
Ford government's claim of spending '$1.2B more' on education doesn't add up
Ontario Premier Doug Ford's oft-repeated statement that his government is spending $1.2 billion more on education this year than last year doesn't stand up to scrutiny.
Question for the Premier: Why not do what parents want?
Behind the Numbers
Given the evident impasse at all the bargaining tables, it’s time for the Ford government to try something new—something that will end the strikes and keep public education strong. It’s time to cancel the cuts.
Ontario’s tax expenditures are growing faster than program spending, and with less oversight, watchdog says
The cost of tax breaks given to Ontarians is rising faster than spending on government programs.
Canada should spend more on early childhood education, new report says
Globe and Mail
Canada ranks almost at the bottom of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries – 33rd out of 35 – for the number of children aged 5 and younger who regularly attend an early childhood education program.
Mandatory e-learning has poor support from students, teachers, parents: TDSB survey
our survey found that there are significant concerns among students, parents and teachers related to the government’s plan for mandatory e-learning.
'NOT JUST TEACHERS': The forgotten workers in Ontario's school strikes
Support staff like Kim Thompson typically earn half the salary of a teacher, and are laid off in the summer.
Ford government losing support in ongoing war with teachers, poll suggests
One of the things we wanted to see is whether Conservative MPPs were properly representing their constituents. It’s pretty clear that overwhelmingly their constituents are saying they’re going in the wrong direction.
More Than Half of Ontario Voters in Conservative-Held Ridings Oppose Doug Ford’s Cuts to Education
Among parents with children in public schools, 70% disagree with the government’s move to increase class sizes. Another 68% disagree with Ford’s plan to force students to complete online learning courses to graduate.
Teachers gain edge in battle for public opinion
The government has a weaker hand than it did at the outset. Despite all the rhetoric and strike action, it doesn’t appear they will win this war of attrition in the public domain.
The Ford government should cut its losses and cut a deal with teachers
Proposing a truly terrible plan and then backing off to something a little less terrible doesn’t make it a good plan for Ontario’s education system.
Why the Ontario public trusts teachers’ unions more than they trust Doug Ford
Globe and Mail
The Ford administration’s consistent inconsistency makes it impossible to believe its claim that, in order to save on salaries, class sizes need to rise dramatically, and high-school students must take multiple online courses – two big issues for parents.
Teachers are striking. Premier Doug Ford is talking tough. But with no negotiations scheduled, what happens next?
When it comes to online learning, educators universally recognize that it is a lower quality type of education than face-to-face and in-class.
If Doug Ford’s government gets its way, Ontario risks losing its educational edge
Globe and Mail
Ontario’s school system, revered around the world for the high quality of teaching and learning and its attention to educational equity, is in serious danger of losing its edge.
What Does Doug Ford Really Want?
While they say they're trying to "modernize" our education system, leaked documents reveal that their cuts and plans for mandatory e-Learning were designed to achieve “maximum revenue generation”, not a better educational experience.
Students spend enough time in digital isolation. They need more interaction with teachers, not less
Students with little or no internet access have a right to in-person education; they should not be forced to learn online.
With Ontario’s teachers, Ford’s government has picked a fight it looks set to lose
What’s interesting about this dispute is that the teachers aren’t asking for a big pay hike.
Students paying the price for Ford government’s education cuts
Under the Progressive Conservative government, Ontario’s once renowned education system is being degraded. The cuts will force students to forge an education from the ruins of what once was.
Internal union poll shows parents support teachers over Ford government
Our polling has repeatedly shown us that the public supports the positions that we've taken at the bargaining table and absolutely opposes the destructive path that is laid out by Ford education agenda.
Secret document shows Ford government changed its mind before making online course mandatory for high schoolers
Allowing students to do their full course load online seems at odds with the purpose of school, which is also for students to learn to socialize and work together with peers and teachers as well as join clubs and sign up for sports.
'Send it to a vote': Provincial teachers' union issues challenge to Ontario Premier Doug Ford
I challenge (Ford) to bring forward his class size increases, bring forward his mandatory e-learning. Send it to a vote and have my members vote on it and we’ll see whether or not I’m accurately representing the wishes of my members.
One-day teacher strike closes schools in eight boards in Ontario
Teachers were angered when the government announced that average high school class sizes would jump from 22 to 28 and four e-learning courses would be mandatory for graduation.
Ontario public high school teachers announce another 1-day strike
As a new year begins, we hope the Ford government and the Minister of Education will finally be prepared to do the right thing and negotiate a deal that is good for students, good for teachers and education workers, and good for the future economy of Ontario.
Doug Ford wants his Mike Harris moment. Teachers won’t give it to him. Taxpayers will pay for it
In fact, the teachers are asking only for an inflationary increase — below the 2.1 per cent average for collective agreements in the private sector.
Ontario high school teachers hit picket lines for third job action
Mr. Ford and Mr. Lecce don't seem to care that the chaos that they've created in 2019 is going to be with us again in 2020.
Talks break down between province, teachers after first day of renewed bargaining
To claim that compensation is somehow the holdup, when in fact it’s quality of education and we had zero discussion about compensation today tells you that once again the minister is attempting to mislead the public.
Ontario education unions launch court challenges of public sector wage cap
This is not about money. It’s about the right to negotiate without government interference.
As a second strike day looms, no bargaining dates for province and teachers
There is no good reason, there is absolutely no evidence out there that says larger class sizes are better for students. It’s absurd, and the government knows that.
High school teachers prepared to accept government mediation offer
The minister cannot claim that he is fighting for students and laser-focused on keeping students in class while at the same time insisting that cuts to their education and legislative interference in free collective bargaining remain in place.
High school teachers to walk out Dec. 11 in select locations
Doug Ford's agenda, if it is allowed to be implemented, will create long-term disruption for students across the entire education system, and leave publicly funded education in Ontario deeply and permanently damaged.
Public high schools across Ontario closed Wednesday as teachers hold one-day strike
The minister still wants to raise class sizes from the current 22.5 to 25 and he calls that an improvement. He still wants to go from the current zero e-learning courses to two and he calls that an improvement. Those aren’t improvements. Those are erosions of the quality of education.
Government consultation shows parents overwhelmingly reject class size increase
I think it shows that parents know what’s good for their kids, and they know a significant increase in class size, especially for kids that are struggling, will make it very difficult to learn.
What’s the Real Cost of Doug Ford’s Education Cuts?
Here For Students
Doug Ford has asked us to consider the deficit. Well, we have. What makes more sense to you? Saving our province $3.5 billion or spending $3.8 billion more?
60,000 Fewer Courses Available for Ontario’s Students
Here For Students
Under Doug Ford's plan, the average high school class size in Ontario will rise by 27%, students will be required to take mandatory online classes in order to graduate and, according to the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario
How Ontarians Can Stop Doug Ford’s Cuts
Here For Students
60,000 fewer courses will be available to our students, including the critical STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and specialized education courses that allow our students to reach their full potential.
High school teachers describe negotiations with Ford government as 'slow and frustrating'
Sad to say, the government has come to us with not a single substantial proposal during those five days. They are dealing with trivialities and housekeeping and it's been slow and frustrating.
Class size changes will save billions but will mean 10,000 fewer teachers over five years: watchdog
CTV News Kitchener
The government will claim there is some foundation for their numbers.. Really what they're doing is trying to create an impression that their policy changes will be less damaging to student's education than they really will be.
Analysis: Ontario to have 10,000 fewer teaching positions in public schools over next five years
The Globe and Mail
Another consequence of the short-sightedness of this massive reduction will be the dashed hopes of so many teacher-candidates who provide new energy and ideas to our excellent education work force
Ford government shouldn't try to modernize education while cutting funding, new report warns
Our caution, our warning is, yes, modernize but watch cutting resources at the same time. It makes it very difficult to ensure that students are getting what they need.
Students will suffer the real impact of Ford’s education cuts
These cuts will hurt struggling students, gifted students and generally make school a lot less interesting for all students.