Government's commitment to students, education more relevant than economist's recommendations - ETFO

TORONTO, Feb. 15, 2012 /CNW/ - The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is confident that Premier McGuinty will do the right thing and reaffirm his government's commitment to public education in the face of Drummond Commission proposals related to education.

"Let's recognize that the Drummond proposals are only recommendations. ETFO is counting on the government to reaffirm its commitment to having one of the best public education systems in the world when it presents its spring budget," said ETFO President Sam Hammond. "Mr. Drummond may not fully value the role education plays in the province's future prosperity, but we know the Premier and his government do."

"Continued investment in the early years is key to student success," said Hammond. "It would be short-sighted and counterproductive to turn the clock back on innovative reforms like full-day kindergarten and smaller class sizes," said Hammond.

"One of the critical elements of the full-day kindergarten program is a renewed emphasis on activity-based learning. Early childhood educators and teachers are working with students to provide them with a definite advantage and head-start on literacy, numeracy and social skills."

Hammond suggested that anyone who believes that primary class sizes don't matter for student success should talk to a teacher.

"With primary class sizes capped at 20, children have a greater opportunity to succeed. Teachers are able to spend more time with each child. They are also able to create a positive environment for learning, particularly given the number of children with special needs in the class," he said.

Hammond added that Ontario needs to address the deficit, but focussing solely on the public sector will work against economic recovery. "It will mean a serious increase in unemployment and reduced income tax revenue. Proceeding with corporate tax cuts this year will cost the government an additional $2.6 billion in revenues. Regaining that revenue and making economic investments in public infrastructure are better alternatives than weakening the education system and jeopardizing student success."

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 76,000 elementary public school teachers and education professionals across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.

SOURCE Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

For further information:

Valerie Dugale, 1-888-838-3836 x2331 (office), (416) 948-0195 (cell); vdugale@etfo.org

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Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

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