Recently, the Toronto Star revealed "secret" memos that show the Ford government's main motivation around mandatory elearning and increased class sizes is to cut funding to education ("Secret document shows Ford government changed its mind before making online course mandatory for high schoolers" and "Confidential memo raises eyebrows with request for school boards to reduce ‘red tape’").
But this hasn't been a "secret" for teachers. Being in the classroom on an every day basis, we know that mandatory elearning and increased class sizes have nothing to do with "evolving" our education system or making students more "resilient". And when those lines failed for Doug Ford and Stephen Lecce, they trotted out the old Mike Harris playbook line that this impasse is caused by "greedy teachers" making outrageous salary increase requests. But it's hard to call education workers greedy when they're only asking for a modest cost-of-living increase and willing to stand out in the cold on freezing snowy days for no pay.
As teachers, we inherently know that the job we're doing is an important investment in the lives of our students and in the future of our province. Now we have data to back it up. A 2019 independent third party study commissioned by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation found that for “Each dollar of public education spending generates $1.30 in total economic benefits to Ontario. Whereas, the inverse holds for each dollar taken from public education.” Not only is investing in education an investment in our students' future, it's also an investment in the future economic health of our province!
So while Doug Ford and Stephen Lecce see education as nothing but a budget line they can cut, we'll be standing up for education in the rain or snow or sleet or cold because education matters and our students' futures matter. They deserve the world-class education system that teachers and education workers have worked hard to create since the last time a Conservative government in Ontario decided that our system wasn't worth the investment.