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News · A statement regarding class size consultations from OSSTF/FEESO President Harvey Bischof

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A statement regarding class size consultations from OSSTF/FEESO President Harvey Bischof

December 1, 2019 — Yesterday, at the Teacher/Occasional Teacher central bargaining table, OSSTF/FEESO negotiators formally asked the Crown to produce the results of the government’s public consultation on class size, e-learning, and other crucial issues in education. That consultation was concluded six months ago, at the end of May.  Government representatives refused our request.

Today we know, with certainty, why our request was declined.  A report from Global News tells us that parents and others who participated in the consultation overwhelmingly oppose larger class sizes.  This is entirely in line with the results of our polling showing that 76% of parents were concerned that increased class sizes would result in students not getting the individual attention they need from teachers.  The poll recently released by the Ontario Public School Boards Association poll shows two in three Ontarians oppose (41%) or somewhat oppose (25%) having larger class sizes where there are more students per teacher in order to save money.

Minister of Education Stephen Lecce has repeatedly claimed publicly that he is listening to parents.  It is obvious that he is not.  His secrecy and misleading statements make absolutely clear that the Ford government is serving an agenda that has nothing to do with the interests of parents, students, or a high quality, publicly funded education system. Even in a statement released today, the Minister has again painted an increase in average class sizes from 22 to 25 as a reduction.

While the education sector is in turmoil as a result of the Ford government’s cuts, the Premier himself is pretending to be Captain Canada, leaving a Minister at the helm who is clearly out of his depth and driven by an ideology that is harmful to students and the future economy into which they’ll graduate. 

We call on Premier Ford to direct his Education Minister to step back from the government’s destructive path and work with us to achieve a negotiated settlement that maintains the high quality of Ontario’s world class education system, exactly as parents have clearly recommended.

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