By: Luc M.
Due to the reactionary Ford government’s refusal to bargain fairly the teachers unions are being forced to become more militant.
The educational workers are demonstrating against cutbacks that would be detrimental to both school staff and students in many ways: the government seeks to increase class sizes from 22 students to 25, creating more work for teachers, and depriving students of any needed extra help, while also creating a more distracting learning environment.
Educational workers are also fighting against the mandatory four online course requirements for students. Not only are these courses detrimental to students learning, they are not equally accessible by all students, such as those without a computer or internet, or those who attend schools with a limited number of computers.
Another grievance raised by the educational workers was a lack of support for students with special needs and full day kindergarten programs. The defunding of special needs programs is nothing more than a blatant ableist attack on special needs students EAs and ECEs, who despite already being overworked and underpaid, are lacking the required personal protective equipment required to work with special needs students who may have behavioural issues. One teacher told The Partisan reporter that in a class of 30 students, 15 could be on individual education plan (IEP) those students clearly need more help to ensure their success but how can one teacher be responsible for all of that? The government is setting our youth up to fail.
Contrary to the narrative pushed by the government and anti-teacher reactionaries, the concerns regarding wages by teachers are secondary to their ability to teach and manage larger classes. It is evident that not only are educational workers fighting for their own dignity and rights, they are fighting for the dignity and rights of their students. Who represents our communities who knows what our kids need? The corrupt fascistic Ford and his crony capitalists? Or our teachers, community leaders who are with us and our children everyday?
The cutbacks to education are just a few in a series of cutbacks to public and social services; the Ford government as cut back $1 billion across the board in social services, killed bill C-148, which provided part-time workers the same pay as full timers, with a guaranteed 10 days off, and cancelled free prescription medication for those under 25. These series of cuts are not to “balance the budget” – a thinly veiled lie by the government, but they are instead designed to increase the profits of Ford’s business buddies while cutting programs working-class families need.
Regarding education, it is clear that as the quality of education and average grades drop in public schools, there will be an increase in advertisement and enrollment in private schools. Stepping back, it becomes obvious that the Ford government is not just attacking educational workers and their students, but they are attacking whole working-class communities. Workers and their children are being left with abysmal education, special-education students are being denied the tools they need to fully develop and learn, and families are losing their jobs and income. Workers from all public institutions are being subjected to worse working and living conditions so private sector capitalists can increase their profits.
Support the strike! The educational workers are currently on the frontline against the social program cuts currently underway by the government. Every worker must support the strike for the sake of their communities, show worker solidarity and show workers power. Reject being subjected to misery for the sake of the capitalists’ profits!
We call on all students, all fellow workers, all good-hearted people to organize their workplace and their neighbourhoods to strike against the fascist Ford government. We ask you dear reader, who works everyday? Who runs this society? Ford and the capitalists? Who make millions and do nothing except steal our wages all day? Of course not! It is us the workers who create all of society’s wealth and social benefits. We create, produce, distribute, teach, provide, for our society, we have Power to defeat Ford.
Guelph is the occupied territory of Mississaugas of the Credit Nation and Anishinabek Nation