Important Matters in Ontario Education Negotiations

Important Matters in Ontario Education Negotiations – Mira Katz –

There are many important matters which require the attention of the public so they can intervene in the negotiations in education. For instance, since taking office, the Ford government has set out to use different means to contract out the delivery of education in order to get around the unions and hand over public funds to private interests.

This includes direct payouts to parents to pay for private education or just to pocket, payouts to parents for technology instead of investing in schools so the youth can have what they need in their classrooms, and the introduction of tutors in the schools who are not part of the education unions and who can be used as a scab labour force in the event of educators working-to-rule or strike. This also includes the increased use of online apps and the required per student subscriptions which remove public funds and put them in the hands of private tech giants. None of these are part of any rational plan to use public resources such as TVOntario, for example, to deliver education through TV shows or learning apps at home.

Another very significant aspect is the way in which what is taught is being decided right out of the Premier’s office in secret with little to no input from educators or experts with curricula only available online so that changes can be made “just-in-time” as various private interests dictate. The math and science curricula have both been arbitrarily changed, not only in terms of what is taught but in how curricula are changed. This has led to serious problems of teaching and learning, as evidenced in the self-serving test scores the government promotes.

By bringing forward the actual conditions and what they reveal and telling the truth about issues, public opinion can be formed and ways worked out to resolve the problems in a way that favours the educators and the youth in harmony with the general interests of society itself. Openly discussing the conditions in education and what is being negotiated should not be looked at just as a matter of strategy. Teachers and education workers and the public have a right to know what is taking place and what the situation is so that they can play their role.
(Photo: Renewal Update)