OAPCE DOES NOT SUPPORT THE GOVERNMENT’S EDUCATION ANNOUNCEMENT THAT WILL AFFECT OUR CHILDREN’S EDUCATION
On March 15th, 2019 the government announced a series of education changes that will have a significant impact on students, parents and families as part of the “Education that works for You” plan. The changes will impact a wide range of things from curriculum, class sizes to cell phone bans. It is important that this government understand that we as parents and our partners as educators are united in advocating for publicly funded Catholic education in Ontario.
Since 1939 OAPCE has fulfilled its mandate to provide a voice for parents who share a common goal in supporting the continuation and preservation of excellence in publicly funded education in Ontario. We believe that the changes tabled do not reflect the voice of parents in this province or the betterment of education for our children.
The Minister announced changes to class size which would see an increase from 22 to 28 students. OAPCE is concerned that this will negatively impact students and the teachers that support them. Increasing class sizes will mean a reduction in the number and variety of programs and supports for students and at-risk students in some schools. This will undermine Ontario’s reputation as a world-renowned public education system.
By increasing class sizes, which will lead to the reduction of the number of teachers in schools, some classes in core subject areas, like math, could grow to more than 40 students given the collective agreement, meaning each student will have less time with their teacher. The government claims that there will be no job loss of current teachers, yet over time cuts of this magnitude will result in fewer teachers, teaching more students.
The 21st century information technology demand is important to include in our classrooms, but should not replace the real world one on one connections to a classroom teacher. The ban of cellphones in schools is contrary to the 21st century pedagogies, and simple restrictions are much more manageable than implementing new policies that would have to be adhered to by already over burdened administrators, especially since many school boards already have their own policies surrounding this.
Special education, increased supports for parents with children with special needs, changes to the health and physical education curriculum, funding for mental health awareness are the real problems that is exacerbating a quality Catholic education system that compromises our students to grow and achieve academic excellence.
We stand with our partners in making our government aware that more consultation with parents, teachers, school boards and other educational leadership organizations is needed since they were not part of the previous consultation, before any implementation plans for these changes are made. We are parents that want to engage, enhance and advocate for a strong publicly funded Catholic education system in Ontario.