TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 25, 2013) - "Tim Hudak and the Progressive Conservative Party's plan for publicly-funded education in Ontario is very simple-cut education funding and ignore the consequences for students," stated Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) President, Ken Coran.
Coran was commenting on the release of Tim Hudak's Paths to Prosperity white paper on education in Ontario. The Conservative plan will result in cuts to services to students by reducing the number of support staff workers in Ontario schools by 10,000, as well as by increasing class sizes, leading to fewer teachers in schools. In addition, the Conservatives plan to delay expansion of full day kindergarten, a program experts in education have repeatedly said is the basis for improved student success, would put our children at a disadvantage over time. Hudak will encourage more significant private sector involvement in public education bringing a profit-motive into our children's daily lives. His plan to create a greater reliance on Internet-based electronic learning for students in rural schools means the important social aspects of education students benefit from when together in a school environment will be reduced.
Coran stated that "In the introduction to his white paper, Mr. Hudak says, 'Too many children are being left behind.' If this is the case, how does Mr. Hudak justify cutting the very supports that are essential for at risk and special needs students? How does he justify the delay in the expansion of full day kindergarten which prepares children for learning and boosts their chances for future success?"
"Ontario students have always been among the best in international assessments. Look at the Canadian results of the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment report as just one example of how well our students are doing, and the great work that our teachers and support staff do every day. Why would Tim Hudak want to jeopardize one of the best education systems in the world for political grandstanding," questioned President Coran. "The publicly-funded education system of Ontario works because of the investments we all make, whether it is funding from the government or the dedication of the people who work within the system," he continued.
"We all know that adequate, sustained funding for public education in any society leads to higher paying jobs, a reduction in crime rate, and better prosperity for all citizens. Hudak's plan for cuts to publicly-funded education will only put us on a path to more minimum wage jobs, greater poverty and greater economic decline. That's not a path to prosperity, that's a road to disaster," concluded Coran.
OSSTF/FEESO, founded in 1919, has 60,000 members across Ontario. They include public high school teachers, occasional teachers, educational assistants, continuing education teachers and instructors, early childhood educators, psychologists, secretaries, speech-language pathologists, social workers, plant support personnel, university support staff, and many others in education.