The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) — representing over 81,000 teachers, early childhood educators, and educational and professional support personnel — is committed to making it even stronger.
ETFO introduced its first edition of Building Better Schools prior to the 2011 election and an updated and expanded version in advance of the 2014 election. This edition of the ETFO platform revisits the original policy areas and adds “fair funding for public schools” and “one secular school system” as priorities to be addressed by the incoming government. The current education funding model is two-decades old and needs to be updated to reflect the actual needs of Ontario students. The increasing ethnic, cultural and religious diversity of Ontarians also makes it timely to revisit the merits of funding a Catholic school system, especially as we experience declining student enrolment and the spectre of school boards waging expensive and wasteful marketing campaigns to compete for students.
Since the last provincial election, ETFO has increasingly raised concerns related to the incidence of school violence. Parents are also concerned. Much of the violence relates to the lack of classroom resources and supports, including supports for students with special needs and students with mental health issues. Through Building Better Schools, ETFO is bringing forward recommendations to strengthen and improve Kindergarten to Grade 8 education and address the violence issue. We are asking parents, other concerned voters and election candidates to engage in the discourse related to education reform and make education issues a priority focus in this election.