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Dear Editor

As a Candidate for the Trillium Party of Ontario, I have advocated for years against the school closures. In 2011 I had written about the 300 schools that were slated to be closed then. Now there are approximately 600 schools slated to close. Is this a sign of the times or the failings of government? Is there really a decline in population or is the population being forced to decline? Is the closing elizabethmarshallof these 600 schools to open up funding for specialty schools or merely to finance larger and larger school boards? Are these schools being closed to fund Trustee's and staff spending? These are questions that the parents, of the children attending the closing schools, are asking.

As demonstrated in a report done of School Closures, Premier McGuinty and the successive Liberal governments, including the NDP and PC opposition, had/have vowed that there would not, or should not, be any school closings. A promise to parents and children, that their right to education would not be put in jeopardy. A promise to parents that their children would not be traumatized by losing their school and having to endure long bus rides to and from new schools. A promise that their communities would not lose a vital focal point that ensures the survival of their communities. The failure to keep these promises has resulted in a loss of confidence, by the people, in the elected officials that are to represent "all of the people". What kind of example is Mr. McGuinty, etc., setting for these children when he/they make promises to parents and then he/they purposely break them? Is this the example that the Trustees are following?

How can parents or students have any confidence in government considering the Trustees have been mislead in the Guide on how to execute their obligations and fiduciary duties, created by government [Ontario Education Services Corporation - Professional Development Program for School Board Trustees Modules:...]? And again, what examples are being set for the children?

Is it any wonder that test scores are down and new ways of educating are being introduced. All day kindergarten is not the answer, metacognition is not the answer, and specialty schools are not the answer. The answer is community and stability within communities.

Without local schools, without local teachers and without community our children have no sense of belonging and security. When a child hears that his school is closing, he is really hearing that his community has failed – be that community a rural community or an smaller inner city community. With the failure of their community children feel that it is also their failure and they lose self respect. When they are displaced to a larger school with a greater number of students children become lost in the maze and often fall between the cracks. It is more difficult to establish a bond between the teacher and child, between teacher and parent and between school and community. As expressed in documents regarding amalgamation "Bigger is not better... In fact, history shows that smaller units are more efficient." Teacher parent relationships are strained and it is only the children that suffer. Closing 600 schools and breaking promises is not the way to educate our children or to govern Ontario.


Elizabeth Marshall
Candidate, Trillium Party of Ontario
Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound
B.G.O.S. Trillium R.A.
P.O. Box 4
Singhampton, ON
N0C 1M0
519-377-6129

 

 


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