QUEEN’S PARK — Marit Stiles, Ontario NDP Education critic, said the Ford government’s per-student funding for the 2020-21 school year falls well short of the investment needed to address the challenges students and staff are facing after Doug Ford’s course cuts, class-size hikes and months of missed school due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last year, the Ford government cut per-student funding, started massive class-size hikes and cut course options. Now, after students have spent weeks outside of classrooms due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ford government is restraining funding to a pitiful $250 more per student.
“Students, parents and education workers spent the better part of last year fighting Doug Ford’s classroom cuts,” said Stiles. “Chipping in another measly $250 per student won’t make up for the class-size hikes and course cuts, let alone make the investments needed to catch kids up. With the additional costs boards will be bearing in acquiring PPE, adapting school environments, and needing additional staff to support students, this comes up disappointingly short.
“Students, parents and education workers have been doing their best to continue learning from home over the last several weeks, but kids are going to need a lot of extra support after months of missed in-class instruction. Instead of making the major investment that is needed, the Ford government is following up its cuts last year with what amounts to peanuts. Not to mention, the government’s announcement fails to answer calls from families and communities to address the inequities in our education system emphasized by the pandemic.”
Stiles said the hard work of millions of Ontarians who fought back against Ford’s cuts to education have had a positive impact.
“Any investments in education we’re seeing are thanks to the hard work of education workers who teamed up with students and parents to fight Ford’s education cuts. But we still have a long way to go. Now that we are in the middle of a global pandemic, we need to undo all that damage from Ford’s cuts, and invest so much more in our classrooms this fall.”