DETAILS OF TIM HUDAK’S SLASH AND BURN EDUCATION AGENDA OF GREAT CONCERN TO CATHOLIC TEACHERS

NR-2013-037TORONTO – Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak today reiterated his intention to eliminate nearly
19,000 teachers and education workers from the publicly funded education system, a move that James
Ryan, President of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA), says will harm students
and reverse many of the gains made in Ontario’s education system in the past decade.

Hudak clarified that he will increase class sizes while also changing the staffing model for full-day
Kindergarten and introducing a new standardized test. These initiatives go against the overwhelming
evidence from experts in the field, including the teachers who interact with students in the classroom
every day.

“As a teacher, I am particularly alarmed at the consequences of removing many thousands of teachers
and education workers from our classrooms,” says Ryan. “Parents are even now clamouring for more
support for their children in Special Education. Parents and concerned citizens have been asking the
government for more arts education, for beefed up math instruction, for programs that address bullying,
mental health issues and much more. How can Ontario respond to these needs with fewer teachers and
education workers in our schools?”

Ryan says putting three more students in a class does not sound like much to someone who has never
visited the classroom of today, but that increase can make a significant difference in the educational
progress and wellbeing of the individual child. “Our classrooms reflect our society. They are highly
integrated, with students of a broad spectrum of abilities — physical, intellectual, emotional — learning
together. Achieving the right balance of teaching and support for each student is a daily challenge. Two
or three more students in the mix without sufficient support can prove detrimental to the whole
classroom. And parents will be unhappy when their child is the one suffering the consequences,” says
Ryan.

International organizations such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD) recognize Ontario’s education system as one of the best in the world, largely because of the
professionals dedicated to helping students achieve their very best. The province cannot eliminate
almost 19,000 of these teachers and education workers without harming our children.