On June 12, Ontario is having an election.
There are three political parties that have a chance to lead the province for the next four years or until another election is called.
Education is not the top issue for the leaders, but they each have ideas (known as “platforms”) about education.
The party in power now is the Liberal Party. Premier Kathleen Wynne leads Ontario’s Liberal Party. She has been the premier since 2013 and at one time she was the Minister of Education.
The 2014 budget, which came out just before the election was called, told of the Premier’s plans for education. It said that the province will not spend extra money on education over what has already been promised. But $2- billion will still go to education – not for teachers or staff, but for “infrastructure” – (keeping schools up-to-date and working properly). If elected again, the Liberals will also go ahead with full-day kindergarten this fall. Full-day kindergarten is popular with parents, but some people say it costs too much.
The official opposition party in Ontario (that means they are second after the Liberals) is the NDP (New Democratic Party), led by Andrea Horwath. Horwath has said that the school system should not allow Ontario schools to charge for any textbooks, musical instruments, science lab fees or any other fees. She says the New Democratics will give high schools $20-million to pay for these things.
Parent councils would also get help from the NDP. Horwath said her government would give a “grant” (money) to parent councils to let clubs, teams and special events happen in schools. People who oppose Horwath say her plan would spend too much money which the province doesn’t have.
Tim Hudak is the leader of the PC Party of Ontario (Progressive Conservative Party). Hudak’s father was a school principal and his mother was a special needs teacher. Hudak wants to save money in the classrooms of Ontario. If he is elected premier, he would put more students in each classroom, stop a pay raise for teachers and do away with thousands of support staff jobs. Critics say these cuts will hurt the students with the greatest needs.
By Kathleen Tilly
If you were to run for government in Ontario and you had to come up with your own education platform, what would you say? What would you promise to parents, teachers and students? What programs would you cut?
Reading Prompt: Responding to and Evaluating texts
Three very different education platforms are explained in this article. Which platform do you most agree with and why? Which platform do you disagree with and why?
Make judgements and draw conclusions about the ideas and information in texts and cite stated or implied evidence from the text to support their views (OME, Reading: 1.8).
Evaluate the effectiveness of both simple and complex texts based on evidence from the texts (OME, Reading: 1.8).
Language Feature: Parentheses
Parentheses (also called brackets) are used several times in this article. Circle all of the times that they are used and explain why you think the journalist might have chosen to use them?
How do brackets affect how you read an article?