The Honourable Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education
Dear Minister Lecce,
Advancement of Women Halton (AWH) is a non-partisan coalition of community groups located in the Region of Halton, which seeks to promote the advancement of women by developing and supporting social, political, cultural and economic strategies to achieve gender equality municipally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
Currently, teachers are seeking a reversal of the proposed cuts to the education budget and a restoration of funding levels to allow all students to receive the support they need to achieve their potential.
We ask you to Increase funding for all education programs and services (autism services, speech and language assistance, psychological assessments, social work interventions and counselling, classroom assistance for those with identified needs) by at least Ontario’s current rate of inflation;
We also ask you to: revert to the 2018-19 class size regulation and maintain class size caps; maintain the current sick leave provisions; improve existing JK/SK teacher and early education workers’ staffing levels and eliminate mandatory e-learning programs.
It is important that you ensure that free collective bargaining is not impeded by Bill 124, so that real conversations about a cost of living raise of 2% can be had. Average cost of living increases in the private sector have been 2.1%.
The education sector is predominantly female. In elementary teaching, over 80% of staff are women. When others in the public sector like police, a predominantly male occupation, receive increases well beyond 1%, the gender pay gap widens and this is unacceptable.
We ask you to consider education in the province of Ontario as part of the social commons, or the necessities of life from which everyone benefits and to which we all contribute. Education is at the heart of our efforts both to adapt to change and to transform the world within which we live. A quality basic education is the necessary foundation for learning throughout life in a complex and rapidly changing world.
Tina Agrell (Chair Advancement of Women Halton)