Cutting away at rural communities
For those expecting the Doug Ford Progressive Conservatives to cut government as deeply as was done during the Mike Harris years, the recent budget comes as a surprise in continuing to increase government spending. Yet the budget still bites hard, particularly where it proposes cutting back on classrooms.
The Ford government budget proposes to increase classroom sizes from Grades 4 to 12 and for high school students to take four of their courses through the online web. Rather than making government services leaner and more efficient, these cuts arguably instead achieve nothing more than simply passing existing costs of education onto the private citizens of tomorrow.
In-person learning alongside other students, including in specialized and intimate smaller class sizes, is conducive to adolescent learning. It also strengthens community bonds in a way that no online course can, especially in rural small-town settings like with Renfrew County.
There are wiser but bolder cuts that could be made to reduce inefficiency and duplication in Ontario’s education sector: kill the Roman Catholic school board (and compensate the teachers currently working in it).
The proposed cuts to Ontario’s classrooms are not wise investments in Ontario’s next generation; they are instead short-sighted fiscal gain at the expense of long-term pain to the students of rural communities.