Funding for library staff welcomed, but more help is needed

    TORONTO, Feb. 14 /CNW/ - The government's announcement today of
$40 million in new funding to hire more library staff moves the province one
step closer to providing elementary students with the quality education they
deserve, says the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO).
    "This funding is very good news for elementary students," said ETFO
President David Clegg. "However, it is essential that school boards use this
funding to hire teacher-librarians. Only teacher-librarians have the training
to help students with literacy and research skills and to help classroom
teachers deliver their programs."
    While welcoming the funding, Clegg stressed that the goal should be a
full-time teacher-librarian in every elementary school.
    "In spite of the government's announcement, many elementary schools will
still not be staffed with a full-time teacher-librarian," he said.
    Currently, an elementary school must have 750 students to qualify for
funding for a teacher-librarian. Most elementary schools fall far short of
this number. Elementary students are disadvantaged by the current approach,
said Clegg.
    Clegg explained that the shortage of teacher-librarians is just one
example of how elementary education is underfunded in Ontario.
    "While the government has done much work to rebuild the publicly funded
education system and give our students the quality education they deserve,
funding for elementary students continues to be significantly less than what
is provided for secondary students.
    "We believe the government will not realize its goals of improved
academic achievement and a reduced high school drop out rate if it fails to
close this gap in elementary funding."
    The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 73,000
elementary public school teachers and education workers across the province
and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.

For further information:

For further information: David Clegg, President, ETFO, (416) 962-3836
(Office), (416) 948-1592 (Cell); Larry Skory, ETFO Communications, (416)
962-3836 (Office), (416) 948-0195 (Cell)

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Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

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