Educators and supporters protest education cuts at the massive Queen’s Park rally on April 6.

Text of an ETFO news release dated April 11:

Toronto, ON – The Ontario government’s 2019 budget for public education does not meet the needs of students and schools, according to the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO).

“While the budget has provided an incomplete picture of education funding, nothing can obscure the fact that this government is making massive education cuts and eliminating thousands of teachers from classrooms while offering corporate tax breaks of $1.4 billion in 2019-20 with more to come,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond. “The government is undermining learning conditions for all students with larger class sizes and insufficient funding for students with special needs, mental health issues and high risk behaviours.”

“Allocating funds for teacher professional learning in mathematics is welcome, but let’s be clear, math instruction in Ontario is not in a crisis despite what this government is saying.” Ontario’s students continue to outperform students from around the globe.

“Proposed funding to train teachers on supporting students with autism is misguided. Teachers are not therapists and this funding should be allocated to front-line support staff to meet the needs of students with autism. This is critical as thousands of children with autism will enter public schools when their funding for therapies is cut by the government in September.”

“The increase in child care funding is really what’s bolstering the so-called increase in education funding. The proposed tax rebate will not create the additional not-for-profit quality affordable child care that parents need. This scheme will simply open the door to low-cost, low quality child care. Children and their families deserve better.”

“Ontario has the lowest per capita spending of any province, yet this government is intent on reducing the deficit on the backs of students and families. Ontario doesn’t have a spending problem; it has a revenue problem,” added Hammond.

“This government would rather gut our high quality public services like education, health care and child care and begin privatizing these services. As various countries have learned, austerity doesn’t work. What’s needed is to ensure everyone is paying their fair share of taxes and to invest in infrastructure and children.”

ETFO represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province. Its Building Better Schools education agenda can be viewed at BuildingBetterSchools.ca.