Students and teachers protest changes to education system

Dock News photo

 

Big changes being proposed to the education system by the Doug Ford government have students and teachers alike protesting. 

Up to 200,000 students took to the streets Thursday afternoon at 1:15 outside 700 high schools right across the province protesting several of the changes including the increase in class size from 22 to 28 students; the decrease in teachers' positions as well as cuts being made to OSAP.

At OSDSS, its estimated between 300 and 400 students took part, up to a third of the entire school's population,  carrying placards and bullhorns voicing their concerns for their future. 

An education ministry memo sent out earlier this week to school boards appears to confirm those concerns.  

It says the province plans to shed 3,475 positions over the next four years in order to save more than $850 million dollars.  

It also includes job losses due to declining enrollment.  

The ministry says they'll be providing an additional 5 percent funding in order to retain staff for specialized math, science and technology courses.

Teachers will be taking up the cause on Saturday with thousands expected at a rally at Queen's Park. 

At least two bus loads and many more carloads of high school, elementary teachers and support staff will be heading down from Grey Bruce.  

 OSDSS teacher and District President of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation, Betty-Jo Raddin tells Dock News the cuts will hit close to home.

"They're an attack on rural Ontario, on small schools and on our students".  

She estimates that up to 50 teaching positions could be lost across the Bluewater board. 

"To explain the magnitude of those cuts, that number is greater than the current number of teaching staff at Wiarton, Lion's Head and Walkerton combined.  If the government moves forward with this, our schools in Grey Bruce will not be recognizable when we remove that number of bodies from them. "