Hey Alta Vista Friends – We will be heading over to support our education workers and join the picket line today at 2:00 pm at Ridgemont High School. We would love to have you join us!

Here is a long, rambling discussion on my thoughts on all this … which actually seem to be more questions than answers!

I am taking the kids to join the picket line because I want them to know that this is something that they can do. It is similar to my goal of teaching them that they deserve a seat at any table they choose to sit at. It is why I take them to marches and protests. I want them to know what tools they have available in their social justice tool kit to change the world for the better.

I also want our educators to know that they have our support. I heard a DJ on the radio last night talk about the potential strike and only say that the education workers are striking because the Government of Ontario has offered them a 1% raise and they are asking for it to match inflation, which is more like 2% to 3%.

Firstly, this made me angry because I have spoken to a lot of educators, and I have read a lot of posts from educators about all this and none of them have mentioned that they are striking for a 2% or 3% raise.

Which, actually, if they were, seems totally reasonable that their salary would get to go up at the same pace as inflation. But, from everyone I’ve spoken to, the issues that they are striking for are related to class size, support for our most vulnerable and high needs students, reversing the mandatory on-line learning for high school students and the quality of education for all of our students.

From what I have heard and read, the amazing Education Assistants (EA) are not asking for more money, they are asking for more of them in the schools so that they can meet the needs of our children who need the most help.

And the amazing Early Childhood Educators (ECE) are asking for smaller class sizes. I’m not sure that everyone knows the current situation with kindergarten class sizes. Right now, the cap for kindergarten is 29 students. This is 29 4 & 5 year old children. In one room. With two educators – a teacher and an ECE. However, if one educator has to deal with the behaviour of one student, that means that the other educator is alone with 28 children. I don’t understand how that works at all. Has anyone who made this system spent time in a small classroom with 28 4 & 5 year olds on their own? This is not working, and has not worked since it was implemented a few years back.

The amazing teachers are also talking about the same issues – class sizes and support for high need students. Do you know that it is a frequent occurrence that a class room has to be evacuated because of the violent behaviour of one student? Why is this happening? I don’t remember that happening when I was in school. And, actually, it has not happened in my son’s classes ever – he is now in grade 7. But it is happening for the younger grades now. Does anyone have some thoughts on why this is happening more now?

I am going to leave it at this for this post, before I make it even longer! But I am hoping to continue these conversations. We need to do better. Our education system is not meeting the needs of too many of our children.