As we advocate for safe classrooms for our students and staff, we must also fight to ensure our public schools are well-funded. Public education experts are ringing that alarm that the province is using COVID-19 as a moment to expand mandatory online learning, “hybrid” learning, and privatization in our schools. This is a “disaster capitalism” strategy where the public is primed for things that would not be considered outside of a pandemic.
We are organizing with our neighbours to fight for our public education. How can you help? Here are three steps you can take:
Step one: email your friends and family to let them know about the government’s growing privatization scheme
Copy and paste this email below to share with others or add your name to the form at the bottom of this page and you will be sent a copy of this email, which you can forward to your friends and family:
I went to a panel discussion and film screening hosted by MPP Joel Harden’s office about the growing privatization of public schools in Ontario.
What we heard at this event was that public education experts are telling us that the Ford Government is using COVID-19 as a moment to expand mandatory online learning, “hybrid” learning, and privatization in our schools. This is a “disaster capitalism” strategy where the public is primed for things that would not be considered outside of a pandemic. Let me explain.
Back in March, we learned that Education Minister Stephen Lecce was promoting “expanding student access to online and remote learning”. A presentation was created to consult on “three options” to be made permanent by September 2021, including one that involves working with pro-profit companies and TVO to sell Ontario’s public school courses (and credentials) to 17 private schools located in other countries. Minister Lecce says the government is “considering” this move, but the call appears to be made.
The rhetoric of “choice” is used to promote this shift, but school boards are being told to fund expanded online options for September without any additional funding, at a time when Ontario’s schools remain underfunded.
I am very concerned that this sounds like a strategy to divert funding for in-person learning to online options that few people want, to suit a privatization strategy that lines the pockets of for-profit consultants.
There has been limited public debate on this, so we are trying to change that.
Step two: join us on Thursday, June 17th at 6 PM to call your neighbours about this attack on public education
We will be calling your neighbours, sharing with them our concerns about the government's growing privatization scheme and the need to fight back.
We will set you up on a calling platform, do a quick training and then we will call together on Zoom. You will need a computer, cell phone and headphones to make calls.
Step three: host your own screening of "Backpack Full of Cash"
The film, "Backpack Full of Cash" tells the story of the growing privatization of public schools in the United States and the resulting impact on America’s most vulnerable children and tells an important cautionary tale for us in Canada.
You can host your own screening with friends and family of the film, by renting it for personal viewing. More information here.
If you are hosting a personal screening on Zoom, and would like MPP Harden to come to your screening to introduce the issue and our concerns for growing privatization in Ontario, send us an email at [email protected] and we can work with you to schedule him to come and speak at your screening.