April 9th, 2019

Ford's education cuts could lead to rural and northern school closures

Online courses won't work where rural and northern students don't have broadband, says NDP's Vanthof

QUEEN’S PARK – During question period Tuesday, NDP Deputy Leader John Vanthof said the Ford government’s cuts to education could lead to rural and northern school closures.

“Increasing class sizes to 28 students in small secondary schools in rural and northern Ontario will lead to class stacking, where students from different streams and grades are forced into one classroom,” said Vanthof, MPP for Timiskaming-Cochrane.

“Why is this government implementing policies that will lead to rural school closures?”

Compounding the frustration for rural and northern students, families, teachers and education workers is the Ford scheme to cut even more teaching positions by having all students take four classes online instead of in the classroom. Throughout much of rural and northern Ontario, broadband service is lacking, making e-learning impossible.

“As small schools close across rural Ontario, the students are going to be bused farther and farther away. Students will be picked up and brought home but you know what will not follow students home in rural Ontario? Usable, affordable broadband internet," said Vanthof.

“This government wants to make four e-learning secondary school classes mandatory, but it is not providing rural Ontario with the same broadband access as the rest of the province.

“How can you talk about e-learning when students in rural Ontario don’t have access to usable, accessible broadband?” Vanthof asked the minister of education.