The Toronto Star has already published numerous articles detailing the provincial government’s planned changes to education, but the news has grown starker as of late. [1]

Rumours arose late this afternoon that the government is cutting funding to music programs across the province. According to an anonymous source, a school has confirmed that they will have their music department budget slashed by at least a half. This comes at the peak of protests against Minister of Education Lisa Thompson’s planned cuts to the Ontario education system. These include cuts to OSAP, potentially laying off as many as 3,475 teachers in the next four years, and increasing class sizes by as much as thirty percent. [2]

Unfortunately, it seems that we, the students, apparently do not care about larger class sizes and fewer teachers. In an interview with the John Oakley Show just yesterday, Ford denounced protesters as “union thugs”. According to Ford, we only protested because of the influence of teacher unions, saying “This isn’t about class sizes … This is strictly from the union thugs, as I call them, the teachers’ union.”

Evidently, the higher tuition that post-secondary students will have to pay in Ontario could not possibly anger students—at least, according to Ford. The fact that students who might need a little extra help to learn the material will no longer have that “luxury”? More teacher-inflamed blasphemy, obviously.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Education’s figure of 3,475 fewer teachers seems to have no basis in reality. TDSB chair Robin Pilkey has stated that many school boards across the province have projected higher numbers  for job cuts and that she “would be curious how that number [from the province] was calculated.”[3] Worse, the Ministry plans to mandate e-learning courses, all in the name of resilience. Some students may not have the ability to take online courses (e.g., lack of devices that can be used to take online courses). And these are changes to public schools—you know, schools that are supposed to be accessible and educate the public.

The cuts have begun with music programs, but by no means do they end there. Second language teachers, art teachers, and other “less essential” curriculum teachers will also see the worst of funding cuts. In an article by the Reckoner’s own Bridget Heo, it has been demonstrated that there will be non-voluntary cuts to teaching jobs. This is a direct effect of cuts to education funding.

The results? As Heo summarizes, “[the government’s] victims are, inter alia, $100 million in school repair funds, affecting 36 repairs across the TDSB; a curriculum revision project that would incorporate Indigenous perspectives in a manner consistent with Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission; $25 million in funding for specialized programs that provide tutors for struggling students and support for Indigenous students; an entire autism program; and even full-day kindergarten in 2020. And, of course, there would be more to come.”

The “more to come” includes the various programs that schools currently provide; like potential heavy cuts to all non-STEM programs.

[1] Rushowy, Kristin. “Ontario Government to Cut 3,475 Teaching Positions, Provincial Memos Say.” Thestar.com, Toronto Star, 5 Apr. 2019, www.thestar.com/politics/provincial/2019/04/04/ontario-government-to-cut-3475-teaching-positions-provincial-memos-say.html.

[2] Shum, David. “Ontario to Lose 3,475 Full-Time Teachers over 4 Years: Ministry Memo.” Global News, 5 Apr. 2019, globalnews.ca/news/5132545/ontario-teachers-job-cuts/

[3] “School Boards Believe Teacher Cuts Will Be Much Higher than Government Estimate of 3,500.” The Globe and Mail, 5 Apr. 2019, www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-school-boards-believe-teacher-cuts-will-be-much-higher-than-government/