July 21st, 2020

NDP backs thousands fighting Ford’s scheme to replace educators with fiscal managers

QUEEN’S PARK — Laura Mae Lindo, Ontario NDP Anti-Racism critic, and Marit Stiles, Ontario NDP Education critic, said it’s wrong for Doug Ford to plow ahead with plans to pass a bill as soon as today which allows directors of education positions to be filled by people who are not accredited teachers. Thousands of Ontarians are now calling on Ford to scrap that bill, for fear that education professionals will be replaced by fiscal managers at the head of school boards.

The Urban Alliance on Race Relations says this will pave the way for money-driven decision-making that stands to hurt marginalized students most.

“This is consistent with the current government’s desire to privatize public education,” said Nigel Barriffe, President of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations. “We have only to look at the U.S. to see what will happen to us. This doesn’t make a case for diversity; instead, it will pave the way for further political and corporate interference in our children’s education.”

School principal Alison Gaymes San Vicente, Vidya Shah, Assistant Professor in Educational Leadership at York University, and a group of educators have launched a petition in protest of the change that has amassed more than 28,000 signatures in just over a day.

“The Ontario NDP shares the concerns of the thousands of parents, teachers and community leaders who are worried that replacing educators with fiscal managers will take us backwards in the fight for equity in education,” said Lindo. “We should be seizing on this moment to push for meaningful progress in tackling anti-Black racism in classrooms, not putting even more barriers in front of students who continue to face systemic barriers to academic success.

“It’s shameful for Doug Ford to open the door even wider to putting cost-cutting ahead of kids’ needs. Ignoring kids’ needs will disproportionately impact marginalized students, including Black, Indigenous and racialized students as well as students with special needs.”

This isn’t the first time Doug Ford has pursued a cost-cutting agenda in Ontario’s education system. Ford spent months fighting students, parents and educators in an effort to hike class sizes, slash course options and take away teachers — cuts he’s still pushing ahead with.

“Students in Ontario deserve so much better than a government that treats their education as nothing more than an expense,” said Stiles. “It’s an investment, and it’s worth every dime.

“Directors of education should have experience in classrooms as teachers, because that’s who is going to fight to ensure kids get the best education and opportunities possible.”


Alison Gaymes San Vicente, School Principal
“This change about Directors of Education not being qualified teachers is harmful to students and completely unacceptable. It disregards the knowledge and expertise gained from collaborating with students and teachers in classrooms and schools. In addition, it is being hidden in emergency legislation which ignores the need for proper consultation and effectively silences Ontarians when it comes to critical decisions about their children’s education system.”

Vidya Shah, Assistant Professor in Educational Leadership, York University
“Research has shown that increased privatization in education results in a two-tiered education system that has detrimental effects on historically oppressed populations and undermines the foundations of public education.”