September 26, 2019
The report released this morning by the province’s Financial Accountability Officer – an independent officer of the Legislative Assembly – illustrates in no uncertain terms the degree to which the Ford government is simply flailing in the dark when it comes to their plans for publicly-funded education in Ontario.
Doug Ford and the Minister of Education have consistently accused OSSTF/FEESO and others of fear-mongering about the real impact of government cuts on the front lines of education. The numbers released this morning tell us that our concerns, which we have been raising since March 15, were more than justified.
The government’s estimate that increased class sizes and mandatory e-learning would result in 3,475 fewer teachers in Ontario schools by 2022-2023 turns out to be an embarrassing miscalculation. The real number, according to the FAO, will be 9,781 fewer teachers in our classrooms. That’s well over 6,000 more than the government’s estimate.
By the following year, that number of lost teaching positions will be over 10,000. The devastating impact of that will only be exacerbated by thousands of support staff positions that will also, inevitably, be lost.
In the face of these numbers, it’s time for the Ford government and the Minister of Education to hit the reset button, abandon their current trajectory, and work with front-line educators to find a way forward that does not destroy publicly-funded education in Ontario.