TORONTO, May 14, 2014 /CNW/ - Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak
today reiterated his intention to eliminate nearly 19,000 teachers and
education workers from the publicly funded education system, a move
that James Ryan, President of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers'
Association (OECTA), says will harm students and reverse many of the
gains made in Ontario's education system in the past decade.
Hudak clarified that he will increase class sizes while also changing
the staffing model for full-day Kindergarten and introducing a new
standardized test. These initiatives go against the overwhelming
evidence from experts in the field, including the teachers who interact
with students in the classroom every day.
"As a teacher, I am particularly alarmed at the consequences of removing
many thousands of teachers and education workers from our classrooms,"
says Ryan. "Parents are even now clamouring for more support for their
children in Special Education. Parents and concerned citizens have been
asking the government for more arts education, for beefed up math
instruction, for programs that address bullying, mental health issues
and much more. How can Ontario respond to these needs with fewer
teachers and education workers in our schools?"
Ryan says putting three more students in a class does not sound like
much to someone who has never visited the classroom of today, but that
increase can make a significant difference in the educational progress
and wellbeing of the individual child. "Our classrooms reflect our
society. They are highly integrated, with students of a broad spectrum
of abilities — physical, intellectual, emotional — learning together.
Achieving the right balance of teaching and support for each student is
a daily challenge. Two or three more students in the mix without
sufficient support can prove detrimental to the whole classroom. And
parents will be unhappy when their child is the one suffering the
consequences," says Ryan.
International organizations such as the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD) recognize Ontario's education system
as one of the best in the world, largely because of the professionals
dedicated to helping students achieve their very best. The province
cannot eliminate almost 19,000 of these teachers and education workers
without harming our children.
OECTA represents the 45,000 professional women and men who teach all
grades in publicly funded English Catholic schools in Ontario.
SOURCE: Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association
For further information:
Michelle Despault, Communications Department
416-925-2493 ext 509, firstname.lastname@example.org