The proposal to cut 98 Special Education and English as a Second language Teachers before the TDSB Trustees tonight is a mistake and will prove to be a serious disservice to some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable students in the city.
Taking away 98 more adults from our schools puts pressure on a system that is already stretched to the limit by years of cuts to programs, support staff, specialist teachers, and administrators. Fewer human resources means less individual contact with students in the school, diminished support for students in need, a reduced ability to safely supervise students, and a decrease in the number of educators necessary to collectively do the work of an effective school.
Those 98 teachers represent 98 specialized programs that will no longer exist. Those 98 programs are specifically designed to support students with designated and identified needs and students working towards English language proficiency. Those students will no longer receive the supports they need.
The hundreds of students in these programs will either be placed in other special education programs that are already overcrowded and may not have the resources and specialties to address their needs, or be placed within the general grade programs, in already large and demanding classes, without extra support, thus putting extra pressure on the classroom teacher who may have no specialized training to address their needs. This in turn puts pressure on the rest of the students in the class by reducing the ability and time of the teacher to address their needs.
ETT urges the TDSB Trustees to resist these cuts. ETT urges the TDSB Trustees to address, with the Ministry, the systemic problems of the continued chronic underfunding of the public education system that has led to these and other cuts (as we saw earlier this year with threats to close 130 schools). ETT urges the TDSB Trustees to support the welfare and education of the students in this city and to live up to the promises they made when they were elected to support the students in the system by rejecting these proposed cuts.