TORONTO – People for Education’s recent report on Ontario’s publicly funded schools shows a growing inequity in the provision of services students need to succeed, says the president of Ontario’s largest union, CUPE Ontario.
“This report clearly shows that schools across Ontario are struggling to provide a myriad of services that students need to succeed at school,” says Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario. “Students’ access to special education, library services and desperately needed mental health supports vary widely and are increasingly insufficient across the province. Ontario students deserve better.”
People for Education is an independent organization working to support public education in Ontario schools. Its 15th annual report, entitled “Making Connections Beyond School Walls”, surveyed 1,108 elementary and secondary school principals from school boards across the province and recommends a number of changes for special education as well as increased support for community schools and low-income students.
While it notes Ontario schools’ academic successes, it also raises serious concerns about their ability to access mental health supports for students, caps on the numbers of students who can be assessed for special education and a lack of staff to support connections with services students need in the community.
“This report breaks new ground in recognizing the supports students need at school and in the community,” says Hahn. “Our members are proud of the role they play ensuring academic success but they also know that special education and mental health services are not receiving the provincial funding required to support students.”
CUPE represents almost 55,000 school board support workers across the province, working as custodians, library technicians, special education assistants, administrative and professional staff.
“School board support staff want to ensure that every student has access to the services and supports they need to excel at school,” says Terri Preston, chair of CUPE’s Ontario School Board Coordinating Committee. “This report raises critical issues the Ontario government needs to address and also highlights the importance of linking our schools to the community. We know our schools are central to our communities and they need the investment to continue that critical role.”
For more information, please contact:
Craig Saunders, CUPE Communications, 416-576-7316
Marjorie Savoie, CUPE Communications, 613-864-9924