Ford Government Moves to Make Online Schooling ‘Permanent’

“If we learned anything over the last year, it’s that kids need to be in school for their mental and emotional health. Their best education comes in the classroom, face-to-face with teachers and education workers”                                                                                   – Ontario NDP Education Critic Marit Stiles

A Statement from Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party

Posted March 28th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Is online schooling what we want more of for Ontario’s young people? Apparently, the Ford government thinks so.

QUEEN’S PARK — Ontario NDP Education critic Marit Stiles issued the following statement in response to revelations that the Doug Ford government is considering making expanded online learning a permanent fixture in Ontario:

“If we learned anything over the last year, it’s that kids need to be in school for their mental and emotional health. Their best education comes in the classroom, face-to-face with teachers and education workers.

Online learning has been a rough experience for so many students and their families. We’re extremely concerned that this government is focusing on a finding a cheaper way to educate kids, instead of focusing on their education and well-being, especially as our children, youth and staff recover from such a difficult period.”

A Brief Footnote from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –

Wasn’t it just months before the pandemic arrived in Ontario in the winter of 2020 that Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his Conservatives were pushing the idea of teaching some subjects to pre-college and university students online?

Niagara’s teachers on day strikes before the pandemic. One of the issues at the time was a move by the Ford government to online schooling for at least some subjects. file photo by Doug Draper

Seems to me that I remember secondary school teachers here in Niagara and other regions of the province out picketing over that idea and others that the teachers felt would be harmful to the quality of education young people receive.

Then the first wave of Covid-19 came our way and that seemed to be the end of that.

But like so many other schemes that the pig-headed premier and his party have tried foisting on us around key public services from education, to health care and environmental protection, Ford and company are making clear their willingness to use the pandemic as cover, if necessary, to push their agenda through.

In the case of online schooling, it’s as if they are telling us – ‘Well it seemed to work when we had to keep students home during the lockdowns, so why not offer it as a permanent option?’

Ford’s education ministry assistant and Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff was home schooled, and look at how well he is doing.

Never mind that psychologists across North America have continually expressed concern about the negative impacts a lack of in-person schooling and personal interactions with peers their own age and with teachers is having on the growth and learning of young people.

Then again, Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff, who serves as assistant to Ford’s education minister was home-schooled, wasn’t he? And we can all see what that has done for him.

If the Ford government pushes forward with the online-schooling business, I predict the ensuing fight between his government and Ontario’s powerful teacher unions will be ugly, with the kids and their parents stuck in the middle.

Just what we need as we struggle to get past this pandemic.

  • Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

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“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders


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