Toronto – The Elementary Teachers of Toronto (ETT) will be joining with community in Lawrence Heights to speak about the campaign to stop school closures during an information picket on May 19, 2015, starting at 6:15 p.m.
ETT will be leafletting prior to the start of the North York West Consultation on the TDSB at Lawrence Heights Community Centre. The scheduled meeting, which is part of a series of consultations, is described by Minister of Education Liz Sandals as a review of the Toronto District School Board’s (TDSB) governance structure. Minister Sandals has appointed Barbara Hall to lead the advisory panel conducting the review.
The Campaign for Public Education, a grassroots education advocacy organization concerned with improving publicly-funded education in Toronto, has identified concerns regarding the so-called consultation process. Their concerns include:
- the advisory panel’s tightly structured process, which only permits a limited scope of questions;
- insufficient neighbourhood access to meetings, as many meetings are held in out-of-community locations; and
- the lack of communication with the public about information developed through the consultation process.
“The decision by Minister Sandals to conduct this review comes across as a continued effort by the Minister and her government to distract the public from the threat of school closures and their effort to undermine the role of the TDSB trustees as community advocates for public education,” said ETT President John Smith.
“School closures will disproportionately affect the TDSB’s most vulnerable students. We need schools to be community hubs that can support our most vulnerable community members,” said ETT Executive member Felicia Samuel.
The provincial government considers approximately 130 TDSB schools to be under-utilized, with no accounting for community use of school space. Along with threats of schools closures, the Liberal government has plans to cut education funding by up to $500 million. Students and teachers bear the real consequences of government inaction around proper funding for smaller classes, resources for students with special needs, and responsible workloads.
The Elementary Teachers of Toronto (ETT) is a Local of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO). With over 11,000 members, it is the largest teachers’ Local in Canada.