TORONTO – The Ford government’s announcement of the 2022-23 Grants for Student Needs (GSNs) fails students, educators, and all Ontarians, yet again. Catholic teachers call on the Ford government to use the GSN formulas, which form the core element of the education budget, to make a real investment that will support student mental health, well-being, and a robust learning recovery.
“The Ford government is trying to deceive Ontario students and families,” says Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) President Barb Dobrowolski. “This is not a ‘historic investment,’ despite what the government claims. The Ford government is just putting back the $500 million that it cut from the Fall Economic Statement, failing to address inflation, and calling it ‘more investment,’ all while doubling-down on its plan to cut $12.3 billion from publicly funded education over the next 10 years.”
“These cuts will widen inequalities and leave behind our most vulnerable, the very students that the Ford government repeatedly failed with the longest in-class learning disruption in North America. And while the Ford government says it wants to address student mental health and well-being, the decision to reintroduce EQAO standardized testing, when its negative consequences are well documented, will only increase student stress and anxiety.”
Catholic teachers call on the Ford government to end their reckless cuts and immediately invest what is needed to:
- support a robust, multi-year learning recovery program, including committing to smaller class sizes, so all students get the focused, individual attention from teachers they need to succeed;
- expand school-based mental health resources, supports, and services, to achieve equitable outcomes and meet the diverse needs of students and educators;
- immediately end the failed hybrid model, and provide the funding necessary for in-person and online-only schools;
- address the $17 billion repair backlog and outstanding safety concerns in schools, such as crumbling infrastructure and poor ventilation; and
- implement other critical measures called for by Catholic teachers in our GSN submission.
“Ontario’s publicly funded schools need action now, with a real investment and a real learning recovery plan, not a campaign-style announcement that shuffles numbers around to hide this government’s privatization and mandatory e-learning scheme,” says Dobrowolski. “The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has called for a comprehensive, $4.3 billion a year learning recovery program to support our students. What the Ford government announced today is smoke and mirrors.”
“And while a government expansion of publicly funded, in-person tutoring in our schools could provide additional learning recovery support, it remains to be seen how the government will implement this program to ensure that students are supported by qualified educators. Even then, this is only a one-time, stop gap measure. Our schools need a comprehensive, multi-year recovery program, not a Band-aid.”
Since coming to office, and over the past two years of pandemic-related disruptions, the Ford government has shown a callous disregard for the needs of Ontario’s students, parents, and educators. To recover from COVID-19, the Ford government must devote its time and energy into making a real investment in our publicly funded education system, not hiding cuts and shuffling numbers.
Documents and Resources
2022-23 Grants for Student Needs Submission to the Ministry of Education
Submission Summary: Critical Areas in Education Requiring Immediate Government Reinvestment