Ontario government backs down – offers teachers new proposal
New proposal to teachers — Although the Ontario government did not admit they made a mistake with their new proposals for class sizes, e-learning and other issues contentious to Ontario teachers, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, today confirmed the Ontario Government has reversed some of its proposals and made additional proposals with a single focus on ending this impasse.
The most important reversal pertains to the increase of class size and controversial introduction of mandatory e-learning. Under the province’s new proposal class sizes are not to exceed 23 students and e-learning will not be mandatory.
“We are not going to apologise for standing strong,” said Lecce. “This is a balanced plan that reflects the priorities of students and parents, maintaining class sizes, investing in students’ unique learning needs, and holds the line on the reasonable increase in wages and compensation we are offering.”
During the negotiation process, the Government tabled proposals which included moves on lower than proposed but not lower than on the ground class sizes, support for students’ unique learning needs, full-day kindergarten, as well as proposals on merit-based hiring and compensation.
Here is Ontario’s new proposal to teachers:
Today, the Government is announcing the most recent proposal put forward to all teacher unions, with a focus on getting a deal:
- A commitment to a funded maximum average class size of 23 in secondary schools – leaving them essentially the same as 2019-2020;
- Replace the previous Local Priorities Fund with a new, student-centric Supports for Students Fund, which allows boards more flexibility to address students’ unique learning needs, including special education, mental health, and STEM education;
- The Supports for Students Fund would continue at the same funding amount of the Local Priorities Fund.
- A commitment to maintain full-day kindergarten; and
- Reasonable increases in wages and compensation.
The Ontario Government is also announcing a policy to give parents the ability to opt their children out of the mandatory online courses required for graduation.
The Government is calling on the unions to cancel future strikes during this period to allow for good faith bargaining. Moreover, the Government continues to make the case for the advancement of merit-based hiring.
“The time to end this is now. Parents are frustrated, students are losing educational days, and teachers are uncertain about their future,” said Minister Lecce. “I am asking the teachers’ unions to return to the table, in light of this reasonable offer, to reach the agreement parents want, and students deserve.”
The Ontario government asserts in their press statement that “these proposals demonstrate the Government’s commitment to getting students back in the classroom, investing in our students’ potential while supporting the school boards’ planning processes.”
The Ford government also stated that “If the unions reject this most recent, student-centric offer, parents should rightly be asking what exactly are the priorities of the unions,” concluded Minister Lecce.
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