Education, the Poor Relationship of Ontario’s Election Campaign

Ricardo Tranjan, a political economist and senior fellow at the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, is one of those surprised.

Even when interesting measures were mentioned on the platforms of certain political parties, he said education was not a subject of public debate during the campaign, nor was it at the center of discussion during the leadership debates.

During six months [au cours de la pandémie]all the analysts said the next election would be about health and education, two main themes, and in the end it’s notnotes the researcher.

But to listen to him, education turns out to be a bad relationship.

He believes that the Ministry of Education is seriously underfunded. According to his calculations, Ontario school boards would have raised $800 less per student in 2021-2022 than in 2017-2018.

A shortage that affects students, supervisory staff and aging infrastructure. In particular, the researcher mentions the insufficient number of professionals specialized in mental health care, social workers who can only provide permanence once a week.

Sometimes we have a speech therapist for two or three primary schoolshe complains.

A matter of affordability

While the cost of living is a major issue in the election campaign, Ricardo Tranjan believes it is is approached with too narrow an understanding, too focused on individuals and families. focus [n’est pas assez mis] on the institutions that enable us to live well together.

According to him, the school is precisely an institution that helps build a more equal society† If it plays its part, it could be a springboard for economic development, especially for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

However, the school, which is supposed to encourage equitable education for students from socially unequal backgrounds, has suffered from long months of distance learning.

Ricardo Tranjan, political economist and senior researcher at the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives

Photo: Radio-Canada / Reno Patry

In particular, the researcher points out that Ontario has maintained online courses longer than the other provinces in the past two years.

A decision that would have widened the learning gaps between students who had access to computers and those less fortunate, who did not have the same tools.

The government would not bet enough on this sector

According to Mr Tranjean, the Progressive Conservative Party is the one that talks the least about education in this campaign.

The condition education nevertheless appears 40 times in the budget of the outgoing government, which serves as an election platform. But in comparison, the word Health appears 258 times. In addition, the Progressive Conservatives do not specify the strategy they intend to follow in the event of a return to compulsory full-time class.

Paul Baril, president of Parents, Partners in Education, is also categorical. He said the candidates for the election missed an important meeting with the parents of Ontario students.

What a great opportunity the leaders have missed to reassure the parents, to tell them that we are moving in the right directionhe exclaims, about the leaders’ debate broadcast on 16 May.

He mentions the shortage of French-speaking teachers, a problem that emerges from the Ipsos survey commissioned by Radio-Canada.

This year, her daughter, who is in seventh grade at a French-language school in Hearst, saw nine different teachers walk through her classroom. A direct consequence, according to him, of the fact that the profession is undervalued.

He poses smiling in front of a tree.

Paul Baril is the president of Parents, Partners in Education.

Photo: Courtesy of Paul Baril

The Liberal Party’s promise to hire 10,000 teachers to make classes smaller is not enough to convince him.

ans, mais il y a un problème en ce moment, nos enfants souffrent”,”text”:”On peut pas faire ça du jour au lendemain. […] On parle de peut-être dans deux, quatre ou sixans, mais il y a un problème en ce moment, nos enfants souffrent”}}”>We can’t do this overnight. […] We are talking about maybe two, four or six years, but there is a problem now, our children are sufferinghe answers.

The pandemic has shown that there are flaws in the system. […] It was fine, it was on autopilot, but [elle] opened the eyes of parents […] against the education system.

A quote from Paul Baril, President of Parents Partners in Education

Konstantin Kilibarda, McMaster University professor and member of the organization Ontario Parents Action Network, also comes to the same conclusion. He deplores the lack of discussion in the political class about schools in Ontario.

Promotional banner of our file on Ontario 2022 elections.

In particular, he denounces Ontario’s law restricting public sector wage increases (Bill 124).

I find that incredibly cruel of [Doug] Ford to enforce this policy […] during the pandemic in a context where teachers and parents make great sacrifices to ensure the education of children. And this wage policy continues in the context of rising inflationhe notes.

It also points to the shortage of professionals in schools.

He mentions on this subject the case of parents, at his daughter’s primary school, who have been waiting for 18 months for a consultation of their child by a specialist for language disorders.

Families really need a plan for Ontario that aims to strengthen the school system and meet new needs due to the pandemic […] I see no plan on the part of the government to address these challenges in the school system.

A quote from Konstantin Kilibarda

The Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives makes 13 recommendations to the government, including funding of $4.3 billion a year over the next 10 years.

These funds would make it possible, among other things, to restore and renovate many schools.

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