Government Can Afford Small Class Sizes, Chooses Chaos

  • Provincial News

Today Mitzie Hunter, MPP Scarborough-Guildwood responded to the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) Report: Expenditure Monitor 2020-21: Q1:
 
“Today’s report from the FAO revealed that the province still has $2.6 billion in unallocated funds. which could be invested in keeping Ontario’s communities and families safe – but they’re not.
 
Our education system is in chaos. There have been 250 school-related cases of COVID-19 as of this morning, and the TDSB closed its first elementary school, Mason Road JPS in Scarborough, for at least a week after an outbreak was declared. We’ve heard reports that many boards across the province do not have the resources they need to roll out the return to school effectively – the Algoma District School Board is inviting people without qualifications to apply for teaching positions.
 
There have also been alarming reports of class sizes up to 32 students in classrooms, without adequate space for physical distancing. As a result of low confidence in the government’s education plan, enrollment for in-class education is low in COVID hotspots, resulting in collapsed classes and split-grade classrooms, which result in deleterious effects on learning outcomes.
 
This government’s plan is not working. Schools need help now if we are to avoid the worst second wave scenarios this fall and beyond.
 
The government can afford to invest to keep class sizes small. The province received billions of dollars in transfers from the federal government to prepare for a second wave.
 
It is unconscionable that the government would continue to keep status quo class sizes during the second wave when they have ample resources to take action. This government can keep our children, educators, and education workers safe – they are making a choice not to.”