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Part I of our series comparing the education platforms of the major Ontario parties. Today is the PCs, tomorrow is the Liberals and NDP, and Thursday we cover the Greens, Commies, and Libertarians.

 

Knowledge is power, goes the common saying. But when it comes to policies about education, it seems that the Conservative politicians in Ontario are veering on a grade three comprehension level. One wonders if they passed the EQAO because under Hudak’s lead, they’re off the mark both literally and figuratively (probably near a D+).

 

Report card reads: “Doesn’t pay attention in class, disrespectful, a bit of a clown, blah blah blahHamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board

Report card reads: “Doesn’t pay attention in class, disrespectful, a bit of a clown, blah blah blah”
Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board

 

The Progressive Conservatives led by Tim Hudak are raving mad, cutting everything in sight from taxes for the rich and apprenticeship practices (maybe even themselves from the election). Their education policies fair no better. At best, they’re an incision caused by the stroke of a blunt and broken butter knife. At worst, they’re a failed lesson taught in school: invest in education, and one invests in the future.

In a sentence: if there’s educational fat, Hudak’s trying to cut it. Even if there isn’t, he’ll cut something too.

Hudak wishes to increase classroom sizes by 2-3 students and the ratio of full-day kindergarten to one teacher for every 20 students (from the present ratio of two teachers for every 26 students). He wants to freeze Ontario child benefit at $1,200. And he wishes to end the 30% tuition grant for post-secondary students.

On their own, they are seemingly pulled out of nowhere. The math – a common problem in politics – just doesn’t add up any way one looks at it: Why not just cut salaries? Why cut anything at all? Why not invest anywhere? Is Ontario a leader of education worldwide already that it does not require investment? If so, I didn’t learn about it, and I blame that on the education system. And if I cannot do that, I blame the system again for not teaching me to recognize my ignorance.

Luckily, my hardheadedness pales to Hudak’s. His fubar gets worse like a teacher scratching her nails on the chalkboard during a differential equation lesson. He wishes to the cancel a planned raise for elementary teachers, a topic which stilted the news all last year, and to cut 9,700 non-teaching positions in schools (people who function as educational assistants or English as second learner translator).

The question needs to be asked: how is this saving money? Answer: it isn’t.

Meet George. He has “extra needs” insofar as education is concerned. With classrooms packed like zoos and educational assistants cut, he doesn’t receive attention. He struggles. He fails. He drops out. He is no longer employable. He collects social assistance. And so on until George’s children, with lackluster funding, feel the same pinch, struggle, and off they go with the welfare of others on their back.

It may be a slippery slope to consider as much. Who am I to say otherwise? I was raised in a decently sized classroom with the attention given when required (especially when it came to logical fallacies). I guess I can only look to future generations with their overcrowded classes and their overworked teachers and their overwhelming lack of interest because they were never shown it themselves, for confirmation.

And if I can’t get it, perhaps that is part of Hudak’s plan. Maybe he wishes to create a generation that will not know the difference between pro and cons, and so, will vote the conservatives.

I’m not sure on any case. But what I do know is that politics often can be divided into two parties: the losers and the winners. And when it comes to the debate about education, it seems that with Hudak, we might join the losing circle. (For those of the universe where Hudak was elected, that is the one without the corners).