Today I received an election handbill in my mailbox. The card carries an authorization by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, and is titled on the front: “Tim Hudak’s Plan: Cuts first. Kids last.”
This handbill is disingenuous, an alarming piece of hyperbole and misinformation that I find unworthy of a group that is charged with the education of our younger children.
One might think truth would be an important element in anything used by teachers to further their economic ends. Apparently not, for this card strays far into the realm of fiction—coming, too close for comfort, to outright political propaganda.
Let’s start with the title: “Tim Hudak’s Plan: Cuts first. Kids last.” Now let’s compare it with the Progressive Conservative—Tim Hudak—election platform. Here is a direct quote from the PC website:
PROTECT CORE EDUCATION
We will protect the core services that our children rely on by reducing some non-core areas of spending. In Ontario, we spend $8.5 billion more on education than we did 10 years ago, to teach 250,000 fewer students. In education, like all areas of government, choices have to be made about what approaches offer the best results.
HELP THOSE WHO NEED IT MOST
We will invest in schools and individual students who need the extra help. Too many students are struggling to meet the provincial standards.”
The PC platform is clear, core services will be protected and PCs plan to “help those who need it most,” i.e., students.
Are the teachers so obtuse they cannot understand the PC platform, or are they so self-absorbed and selfish they put their narrow economic interests ahead of the greater public good.
Moreover, the information on the card fairly reeks of intellectual dishonesty, masking the selfish concerns of teachers with mock concern for our children. For example, the card warns of “overcrowded classes.”
The PC platform says classroom sizes will increase by 2-3 students. And the PCs say they’ll increase the ratio for full-day kindergarten to one teacher for every 20 students, from the current ratio of two teachers per 26 students.
What this public sector union really fears is the PCs’ promise to “Cut 9,700 non-teaching positions in schools.” Cut almost 10,000 non-teaching positions and their unions lose all those dues they use to send out anti-conservative, biased and misleading election literature like the card I received today.
From reading the election campaign literature on the PC website, and from media reports on websites such as www.CBC.ca, I’ve reached the conclusion that the PC platform represents a reasonable level of rollback of recently reduced class sizes and increased staffing. This certainly does not seem excessive in a jurisdiction—Province of Ontario—where public debt is so high as to prompt the former Liberal finance minister Dwight Duncan to declare a month or so ago, “Ontario is faced with a staggering debt.”
Do you really believe this will lead to “less learning” as claimed by the elementary teachers? I don’t. But, then, I’m more interested in enriching curriculums than I am in enriching teachers and their already wealthy unions.