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Ontario Tories would delay full-day kindergarten, slash thousands of education jobs

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Brennan, Richard J.
Publication Date: 
24 Jan 2013



An Ontario Tory government would slash thousands of jobs in the education system and delay the implementation of full-day kindergarten until the budget is balanced, according to the party's latest policy paper on education released Thursday.

Among other things, the paper calls for eliminating 10,000 non-teaching jobs and putting the brakes on rolling out full-day kindergarten, which is not to be completed for a couple more years.

The latter is a complete about-face for the Tories who, as recently as the 2011 election campaign, supported all-day kindergarten.

"These are not easy decisions to be made, but they need to be made," Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak told a news conference, citing Ontario's continuing deficit. "We can't keep spending more money than we have."

Of the 18 recommendations in the paper one is a call to delay the expansion of full-day kindergarten until the budget is balanced, which the current Liberal government says won't happen until 2017-18.

The Progressive Conservatives also recommenda thorough review of the benefits of full-time JK before proceeding with the rollout.

With an eye toward recent labour troubles in education in the wake of Bill 115, Hudak also said he would redefine a teacher's work day in union contracts to include "timely and full report cards," meeting with parents and after-school help for students in need.

He also promised legislation to prevent unions from "punishing" teachers for doing extracurricular activities, which the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation asked their teachers not to perform in protest against Bill 115.

The legislation was rescinded this week, but forced wage freeze contracts on teachers and curbed their collective bargaining rights, prompting the protest action from many educators.

-reprinted from the Toronto Star