• This is directly from the NDP Election platform

“We’ll overhaul the education funding formula starting with a comprehensive public review based on equity and quality.

We will work with parents, front-line educators, students, and educational experts to overhaul the education funding formula starting with a comprehensive public review based on two key principles: equity and quality.

A new funding formula will address violence in classrooms, curb class sizes and fund special education based on actual needs, not overall populations.”




Education plays a huge role in shaping our opportunities. We’re committed to making sure a quality education is within everyone’s reach. But Liberal and Conservative governments have undermined the quality of education and put barriers in front of students. Crowded classrooms, inadequate support for kids with special needs, rigid testing and chronic under-funding have all made it harder for our kids to learn. And spiraling tuition fees saddle post-secondary students with huge debt loads. We can do better in Ontario. A quality education should be a natural part of growing up in our province.

Our Changes for the Better

  • We will re-write the education funding formula
  • We will hire more teachers and educational assistants
  • We will cap kindergarten classroom sizes at 26 students
  • We will invest $16 billion to repair crumbling schools
  • We will end EQAO testing
  • We will fix the rules around education development charges so they can fund the new schools families need
  • We will ensure schools teach inclusive history, including Indigenous history, the history of Black Ontarians, our province’s history with the Underground Railroad, and Caribbean and African experiences

Fixing Our Public Schools

Too many kids are going to school in buildings without proper heat or cooling, with leaky roofs or stairways overdue for repair. After years of Conservative and Liberal governments neglecting schools, the backlog of needed repairs has reached $15 billion.
But the problems go a lot deeper. Ontario funds public education based on a system developed by former Conservative premier Mike Harris. He didn’t believe in strengthening public education — and the funding formula reflects that.

And years more of cuts and freezes by the Liberals and Conservatives have forced school boards to use special-education money just to keep schools safe and functioning. Children with special needs often have to cope with limited resources and years of being shuffled between wait lists.

Chronic under-funding has also led to increased classroom violence, putting teachers, students and education workers at risk.

With kindergarten classrooms having no cap on class size (just a limit on the “average class size” across the entire school board), those classes are sometimes huge — and often understaffed. Some classrooms have 30 children; others have no teaching assistants.

Ontario’s Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) testing has meant teachers and students spend far too much time preparing for a single test, instead of learning material more deeply.

The under-funding has been widespread enough that, since 2011, the Liberal government has closed 270 schools and put another 300 schools on the chopping block — schools that were an essential part of their communities.

We need a provincial government that understands the real value of a school — and of the rich, rewarding education that a well-funded public school classroom can offer to our kids.

Our Change for the Better

Andrea Horwath and the NDP will fund schools properly.

We will work with parents, front-line educators, students, and educational experts to overhaul the education funding formula starting with a comprehensive public review based on two key principles: equity and quality.

A new funding formula will address violence in classrooms, and will mean boards, teachers, and education workers have the resources they need to ensure the well-being and safety of all learners, and all educators.

It will allow us to curb class sizes and support our most vulnerable students, an important step in making classroom environments safer and more conducive to learning.

The first-hand experience of parents, teachers and education workers will play a major role in shaping the new model, and we will take into account factors that affect rural and remote schools, such as school transportation. School boards will be receiving funding under the fully-implemented new formula within our first term.

We will base special education funding on actual needs, not overall populations, with timely needs assessments. This will mean overall funding increases for students with special educational needs, helping schools, teachers, paraprofessionals and education assistants give these children the support they need.

We will build on Ontario’s Provincial and Demonstration schools’ track record of success, especially in helping students who are deaf, blind or deaf-blind, and students with severe learning disabilities who need greater support. And we will lift the cap on classes.

To make sure kindergarten students get the attention they need, we will put a class-size cap on each classroom — not an average cap that allows some classes to be dramatically overcrowded. We will cap kindergarten classrooms at 26 children and we will end Kindergarten / Grade 1 split classrooms. We will develop options for more Early Childhood Educators in full-day kindergarten classrooms.

Our 10-year capital plan for schools will specifically address the repair backlog in Ontario’s schools. And we’ll fix the rules around Education Development Charges — payments developers make when they build new homes or condos — so they can be used to fund new schools.

We will end EQAO tests (the standardized tests every Ontario student is required to take). Working collaboratively with educators, we’ll determine how random sampling could support spotting early trends and deciding where we should focus on improvement, without driving teachers to “teach to the test.” That way we can leave individual assessment to the teachers’ professional judgement — they know their students best. We estimate this will save $40 million, which we will reinvest in the classroom.

We will continue the long-overdue curriculum update currently underway, and pay particular attention to career counselling for a changing workplace, as well as financial literacy and mathematics.

We will ensure history education includes the full, rich story of Indigenous peoples, the lasting impacts of colonialism and residential schools, and the need for reconciliation.
We will work with Black communities, histor- ians and educators to incorporate teaching about the history of Black Ontarians, our province’s history with the Underground Railroad, and Caribbean and African experiences.

Andrea Horwath will put a moratorium on school closures until the provincial funding formula is fixed.

We’ll work with local boards to continue to develop schools as community hubs where everyone can access great public programming and use these facilities.

Workplace Violence in School Boards: A Guide to the Law

During our last round of Central Negotiations with the Ministry of Education and the Trustees Associations, OSBCC agreed to Letter of Understanding #14 which states:

The parties reconfirm their intent to participate in the Provincial Health and Safety Working Group.  The purpose of the working group is to consider areas related to health and safety in order to continue to build and strengthen a culture of health and safety mindedness in the education sector. 

Three priorities were identified:

The first priority was to develop MOL guidance material to better inform inspectors and workplace parties on compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1990 (OHSA) as it relates to workplace violence.

The second priority was to provide advice on the issue of ‘information sharing’ – namely, information being shared with board employees pertaining to student behaviour that may present a risk of harm. Some of this information may be contained in the Ontario Student Record (OSR). The advice of the PWGHS will inform next steps to expand access to this important information by spring 2018.

The third priority addresses the need to clarify and streamline Ontario’s existing reporting requirements for incidents of violence in schools.  The PWGHS advice is intended to inform implementation of next steps to be taken this spring for implementation during the 2018-19 school year.

The Committee, which includes representatives from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labour, school board sector unions and associations (i.e. CUPE, OECTA, OSSTF, ETFO, etc.) and the various Trustees Associations (i.e. OPSBA, OCSTA, etc.) met several times over several months with these priorities as our focus.

Discussions were fruitful and our CUPE PWGHS, along with other unions and associations were successful in pushing the MOL and EDU outside of their comfort zones with respect to holding School Boards accountable for the health and safety of our members.

Officially released on Friday, March 9th by Ministers Naidoo-Harris and Flynn, the Resource Guide “Workplace Violence in School Boards: A Guide to the Law” provides leading practices for developing violence policies and procedures, assessing and re-assessing risks of workplace violence, developing student safety plans, reporting violent incidents, and sharing of information with workers so they may recognize and be protected from workplace violence.  The Roadmap “Workplace Violence Reporting Process in School Boards” details violence reporting requirements of the EDU, MOL, and WSIB, complete with links to the various reporting forms, Ministry PPMs, and OHSA legislation. Work is continuing on the development of training modules and a common online reporting system which we hope will someday be used across the Province.

It is important to note that these are “living documents” which we will continue to modify and improve in response to user input and evaluation of the documents.

Both documents (the Roadmap is in Appendix H of the Resource Document) can be viewed on the Province’s website by following the link below:


In Solidarity,

Your CUPE PWGHS Committee

Don Postar, Dan Mills, Vicky Evans, Michele Lalonge-Davey, Chris Sutton, and Bridget Pridham


COLIN MACKAY: Support for EAs needed, not reports


By Colin MacKay, Intelligencer Writers Group

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 1:08:52 EST PM

BELLEVILLE – Dressing Hastings Prince Edward educational assistants (EAs) up in protective gear more akin to an NFL linebacker, or SWAT team member, doesn’t really solve the problem of violence in classrooms.

After reading Tim Miller’s excellent report, ‘EA funding formula gets an F,’ most educational personnel expressed that money from special education grants was not being targeted efficiently or effectively, and this trend has been going on for 20 years. Typically, politicians, in positions of power, continue to study incidents and then write reports. EAs do not need yet another stupid time-wasting report to read or continue to fill out incident reports. As a former ETFO member, it’s obvious, EAs need solutions to get classroom violence under control — now.

If ‘Jimmy,’ a four-year-old JK student, throws a tantrum, empties paint on brand new carpets, threatens other students with scissors, and basically destroys a classroom, an EA’s hands are tied during the event. Touching a student is rarely allowed, yet, there are times when it would appear to be warranted. Usually, in a case such as this one, the rest of the class is removed until the unruly child has calmed down and it is safe for the remainder of the class to return. The EA is supposed to patiently let the student run roughshod over the entire classroom, and then attempt to remove the student. Then, according to protocol, will write an incident report within 24 hours that, supposedly, someone reads.

One solution would be to suspend this child for at least a day and return him to the care of his parent(s). In other words, there is a consequence for totally inappropriate behaviour. But, no, not now. Instead, Jimmy may end up in the office with a sucker, with coddling continuing. No doubt Jimmy is just having an off day will be the typical administration response. The trend for the most part, is that, for reason, principals are fearful of implementing any disciplinary measures.

Obviously, an attempt to contact the parent will be made, and the parent will be asked to come in for a chat. Far too often, the parental response is to deflect responsibility. The parent, in some form, will essentially question, “What did the teacher do to set Jimmy off?” Taking responsibility for Jimmy’s actions is whose responsibility? EAs shouldn’t have to take on the role of parenting. There must be consequences for this type of misbehaviour.

Is it the job of the public school system to delve into myriad social issues? If the answer is yes, then a special grant needs to be set up for ‘social issues’ separate from the special education grants. This way, the money is specifically targeted for behavioural specialists. An EA’s main focus should be to help the teacher with scholastic activities, not be society’s interveners for social ills.

Curtailing system-wide EQAO would be one way to fund additional, and apparently required, EA support in schools. Sampling from schools, rather than continuing to have system-wide testing, would free up additional monies, that would be far more useful inside the classroom. Once again, this additional money could be focussed on an EA grant, which would be a change from the current funding formula. Targeting the number of EAs needed within a school board, rather than attaching the money loosely via a special education grant, would be an improvement.

Solutions rather than needless reports are required for EAs in schools to help reduce violence in classrooms. Give principals the ability to suspend, as consequences are needed for unacceptable behaviour. Change the funding formula to target money specifically for EAs. Decide if schools are now responsible for society’s social ills. Solutions do exist.