Teachers Tell McGuinty: "Stop Underfunding Our Students"



    Close the Funding Gap Now! Say Elementary Teachers

    TORONTO, Aug. 16 /CNW/ - Elementary students in Ontario are not receiving
the quality education they deserve, the Elementary Teachers' Federation of
Ontario (ETFO) charged today, as they launched a major multi-media campaign
throughout Ontario.
    ETFO is highlighting its concerns in a province-wide advertising campaign
that is focused on improving elementary education in Ontario.
    The ETFO campaign, which addresses the inadequate funding that the
McGuinty government provides for elementary students, is the largest such
initiative in the federation's history. It includes ads on 154 billboards and
115 transit shelters, newspaper ads in Ontario's major newspapers, and
extensive radio and TV advertising. The ads will "saturate the province",
running as close to the provincial election date as possible, promised newly
elected ETFO President David Clegg. Clegg made his comments to the more than
500 delegates attending the ETFO annual meeting, which concludes in Toronto
today.
    ETFO's Clegg explained that a flawed funding formula is of major concern
to elementary teachers. "Ontario's education grants, which provide $711 less
in funding for each Ontario elementary student than for each secondary
student, do a tremendous disservice to Ontario's elementary students," he
said. According to Clegg, Ontario's public education system is not providing
the support and assistance that all elementary students need to succeed in an
increasingly competitive international marketplace.
    "As front line workers in the quest for quality education, the 70,000
ETFO members know the importance of ensuring an excellent start to every
student's education," said Clegg. ETFO members teach almost one million
students in 2,600 schools across Ontario, and are committed to the goal of
giving all students the best education possible, Clegg added.
    Despite the growing body of research pointing to the importance and
benefit of investing in the early years of student learning, per pupil funding
levels for Ontario elementary students historically have been significantly
lower than for secondary students. This comes as a surprise to many people,
said Clegg.
    An ETFO survey of a representative sample of adult Ontarians found that
fewer than one in three Ontarians is aware that elementary students are funded
at a lower level per capita than secondary students. When told of this
disparity, Ontarians do not feel the funding gap is justified.

    
    The gap in funding has many negative implications, said Clegg:

    -  Larger class sizes for elementary grades, particularly in grades 4 to
       8;
    -  Fewer specialist teachers providing programs in music, physical and
       health education, and art programs that provide a balanced program for
       elementary students and expose them to a range of experiences;
    -  Fewer elementary schools staffed with a teacher-librarian, a key
       requirement for improving student literacy (funding grants provide
       only one teacher-librarian for every 750 students);
    -  Fewer elementary schools staffed with a guidance specialist (funding
       grants provide only one guidance teacher for every 5,000 students);
    -  Virtually no design and technology and family studies programs. These
       programs are particularly important for students at risk of dropping
       out of school and who thrive with hands-on learning as opposed to more
       academic programs. This is key to improving high school retention and
       graduation rates.
    

    "We are calling on Premier McGuinty to respect Ontario elementary
students and their parents, and to close the funding gap now," said Clegg.
"The McGuinty government will find that the funding gap has become a critical
issue as parents and teachers head to the polls in the October provincial
election."
    The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents more than
70,000 public elementary school teachers and education workers across Ontario
and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.




For further information:

For further information: Larry Skory, (416) 948-0195 (cell),
lskory@etfo.org; Johanna Brand, (416) 948-2554 (cell), jbrand@etfo.org; Mary
Morison, (416) 948-3406 (cell), mmorison@etfo.org; August 13-16 - ETFO Media
Centre, Queens Quay 1, Concourse Level, The Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto,
Phone: (416) 957-7181, Fax: (416) 957-7180

Organization Profile

Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

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Ontario Elections 2011

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