VIDEO: Teachers Wearing Black to Protest Education Changes
Ontario teachers are making a silent protest today, March 18, 2019, over cuts to education announced by the province.
Last week the Education minister proposed increasing class sizes for grades above three.
The teachers are wearing black as a way to oppose the increase in class sizes.
Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation District Nine President Erin Roy says the change in the funding formula means staffing will decline.
She says there will be some kinds of class where the change could be dangerous to the students.
"Our high end class sizes are already capped at 33 kids, so you can imagine jumping class size averages on the high end what's going to happen. Because tech classes for example are already capped at 20 and there's a coroner's inquest saying you can't have kids in hard shops greater than 20. So even if they were to maintain that you have to understand the rest of the classes will suffer"
Roy disputes the Ford government statement that front line workers won't be impacted by budget cuts.
"Some of the cuts the P.C. government has already made has impacted our front line. We're doing staffing for 2019-2020 and there was some grant funding that was cut in December that already means we had jobs that will no longer exist and those jobs were specific to reaching out to our most at-risk kids"
She says today's protest is a hint of choppy waters ahead for labour relations at schools.
"Moving into bargaining, typically we move into bargaining because we're looking to advance our membership. However I believe this is the fight for public education, this is just a different conversation this is back to what it was in the '90s and frankly this is far worse than what Harris was suggesting"
Roy says among the other troubling changes is a requirement for high school students to take a minimum of four e-learning credits.
She says that could be extremely difficult especially for low income families and those is rural areas.