OECTA Response to Government Announcements on School Reopening and Education Funding
“With the support of millions of Ontarians, teachers and education workers fought for more than a year against this government’s plans to implement devastating cuts to publicly funded education. However, although the education budget for next year includes the measures OECTA negotiated, when inflation is factored in, per-pupil funding for 2020-21 is effectively below what was provided in 2018-19, and significantly less than what is needed to ensure health, well-being, and student success.
For months, Catholic teachers have been urging the government to engage in real consultation with frontline education professionals about school reopening. We have called on them to give clear direction to school boards about their responsibilities to ensure the safety of students and staff, to provide consistency across the province. We have highlighted the need to modify curriculum, suspend EQAO testing, and respect teachers’ professional judgment. And we have stressed the importance of new funding for school repairs and upgrades, safety equipment, and supports to address the learning gaps that will have been created or exacerbated by the school closures. Unfortunately, the government did not take the time to genuinely consider any of our ideas before going ahead with today’s announcements.
Catholic teachers want to play a constructive role in navigating the COVID-19 emergency, and we welcome the government’s cautious approach to reopening schools. As we continue our discussions in the weeks and months ahead, we hope the government will be more receptive to professional advice about the best way to move forward, and finally understand that teachers and students cannot be expected to do more with less.”
Liz Stuart, President of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association