QUEEN'S PARK— NDP Education critic Marit Stiles responded to Stephen Lecce's announcement on the Ford government's grants for students needs allocation to school boards for 2022-23 with the following statement:
"For over two years, Ontario students have suffered disruption and loss. Many have experienced setbacks academically, socially, and emotionally. Teachers and education workers have been stretched to their limits and need support to help students get back on track.
Today’s announcement includes a Grants for Student Needs allocation that’s far below inflation and doesn’t replace what Doug Ford has already taken away from our kids with his cuts to education.
Doug Ford was cutting from education before the pandemic, and this year's budget cut another half a billion dollars from schools despite the very real need for more teachers, more education workers and more mental health supports.
Today's announcement offers just a few bucks per kid to tackle the massive twin issues of student mental health and student learning loss. It includes a plan to leave much of the $16.8-billion worth of backlogged school repairs unaddressed for up to 10 years, so students will continue to sit in classrooms that are leaking, moldy or poorly ventilated. It keeps class sizes big and crowded.
Doug Ford and Stephen Lecce are also digging in their heels on their plan to force kids to take at least two courses through online learning. Most kids have had more than enough online learning — this scheme saves the government money at the expense of kids’ education and wellbeing.
Kids deserve better. Teachers and education workers deserve better. The Ford government should be restoring the funding it cut from schools over the past four years and then some, reducing class sizes to give kids more one on one help when they need it, adding more educational assistants, and investing in badly needed mental health supports. That’s how we give kids hope.”