Issuu on Google+

Updated: Thursday, September 8, 2011

GR-11_12-005

2011 Election Platforms 1. The Progressive Conservative Platform, “Changebook” introduced May 30 Education Increase spending on K-12 by $2 billion through the next four years Implement full-day Kindergarten by 2014 and “improve it” Give teachers more discretion. Examples include the right to ban cell phones in the classroom, teach phonics, and “give out marks free from pressure to inflate grades” Reinstate the fall report card for elementary schools Individual student standardized test results will be posted online Take steps to prohibit bullies from disrupting the classroom Ensure no child is forced to go to school in fear Use the Society for Quality Education (SQE) sunshineonschools.ca website as a model to increase accountability Root out waste and unnecessary bureaucracy Give principals more flexibility at the school level Ensure the funding formula meets the needs of “single school communities” Look at available technologies like online learn-to-read applications or e-texts Post Secondary Create up to 60,000 new spaces with the colleges and universities competing for those spaces End the foreign scholarship program Raise the threshold for financial support to include more middle-class families Labour Introduce “paycheque protection” for union members to opt out of their dues being used for political causes they don’t support Require arbitrators to respect the ability of taxpayers to pay, and take into account local circumstances Require arbitrators to explain their reasons for their decisions Require unions to be “transparent and open” with their financial information Other key points Cut government spending by 2% (except health care and education) Various tax cuts including: 5% reduction on the first $75,000; income splitting; remove HST from home hydro and heating bills; corporate tax rate cut from 11.5 % to 10%

Page 1 of 3


Updated: Thursday, September 8, 2011

GR-11_12-005

Discussion While the Tory platform contains a section on education, there is no mention of childcare or poverty reduction initiatives. What is proposed are some restrictions for welfare recipients and new measures to address welfare fraud. The Tories are the only party that attacks union rights in their platform. “Payroll protection” is an attempt to limit the scope of normal union activity. The requirement for unions to be “transparent and open”” seems redundant. This Association has clear guidelines in our Handbook that dictates regular reporting to members on all our activities including providing audited statements to the membership at the Annual General Meeting in March. The Tory document “Changebook” offers up to $6 billion in tax cuts and at least $8 billion in increased spending in health care and education alone. At the same time they promise to balance the books by 2017-18. How they will achieve this without affecting education and health is highly questionable. These concerns have been expressed by economists and the media. It is important to remember that the Tories under Mike Harris also promised to balance the budget, provide tax cuts and maintain spending levels in education and health in the 1995 platform document “The Common Sense Revolution”. Yet we know that the Harris Tories cut over $2 billion from education spending, laid off thousands of nurses and closed 28 hospitals. The Tory education platform raises more questions than it answers. There doesn’t appear to be a theme or philosophy guiding their education platform. It contains a broad statement about giving teachers rights they already have (teach phonics, ban cell phones etc.) It is unclear what is meant by giving principals more flexibility. Posting individual student test scores online raises privacy concerns. The platform was developed with input from The Society for Quality Education (SQE). The SQE is a Canadian educational group that opposes child-centred learning in favor of “a strong focus on direct instruction, including phonics, drill, and rote learning.” They do not believe that our school system today is successful, “the curriculum and testing are dumbed down. The school councils are mostly pussy cats. The Ontario College of Teachers has been captured by the teachers’ unions. Teacher testing has been scrapped.” Read more about them at www.societyforqualityeducation.org 2. The NDP Platform, “Change that puts people first” introduced June 25 The NDP platform document does not contain their education platform. It is expected to be released later this month. The document is divided into four sections: Making Life Affordable, Creating and Protecting Jobs, Building Healthcare that Works for You, and Living Within Our Means. There are 119 cost proposals.

Page 2 of 3


Updated: Thursday, September 8, 2011

GR-11_12-005

3. The Liberal Platform, “Forward. Together” introduced September 5 Education $2.2 billion increase in spending over the next four years Continued commitment to have full-day Kindergarten totally implemented by 2014 Summer learning programs in 250 schools. The programs are voluntary and free Increasing the Faculty of Education program from one to two years, with the second year focusing on hands-on in-the-classroom experience. Current teachers will be unaffected $20 million in Professional Development funds available to support teachers in their first three years A focus on “higher order skills” like collaboration, creativity and team building, with the goal of continuing student improvement A focus on Science in addition to Literacy and Numeracy Implementation of before and after school care for 6-12 year olds by 2015 $63 million for the healthy snacks program Task force of experts to develop a practical implementation of “No Child Left Inside” a voluntary program for teachers that provides tools and ideas to help children connect with nature Post Secondary 30 per cent across-the-board tuition grant for families with a combined income of $160,000, a saving of $1,600 per student in university and $730 per student in college Create 60,000 more post-secondary spaces Build three new undergraduate campuses Extend the grace period for the repayment of student loans for students who work in the not-for-profit sector Continue to develop a strong apprenticeship system Other Key Points Commitment to reduce child obesity by 20 per cent over five years Doubling of the Child Activity tax credit from $50 to $100 Ontario Child Benefit increased from $1,100 to $1,310 Balance the budget by 2017-18 Discussion The Liberal platform is remarkable in its low-key approach. Of the three platforms, the Liberals are promising the least amount in terms of dollars. There are only 45 cost commitments. The platform reflects a solid commitment to publicly funded education. Education is the cornerstone of the platform that builds on improvements and programs already in place. The document also reflects the importance of education in the development of a strong economy. The education and child-centered proposals are measured and are formed from a clearly understood philosophy. The platform neatly integrates anti-poverty initiatives, childcare, education (including post-secondary), health care and senior care towards the greater goal of equipping Ontario for the economic and social challenges of the future. Page 3 of 3


Speak For Children September 8 Bulletin