As the dispute between the province and the teachers’ unions in Ontario continues with no end in sight, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has announced that the entire public school system will shut down on February 21 as all four unions participate in a one-day walkout.
Members of ETFO, the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO), the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) will all strike next Friday — meaning nearly 200,000 teachers and education workers will strike across 72 school boards, affecting nearly 5,000 schools across the province in protest of the government funding cuts to education.
This is the first time since 1997 that teachers and education workers from Ontario’s main education affiliates will all be out of their classrooms on the same day, according to a statement from ETFO.
Educators across Ontario are united in action!
On Feb 21, elementary and secondary educators will all strike to stand up against Ford’s education cuts. It’s the first time since 1997. Read release: https://t.co/aEDezYc2Wa #ONpoli #onted #ETFOstrike pic.twitter.com/17qYtCkM4L— Elementary Educators (@ETFOeducators) February 12, 2020
“It is clear to all four Ontario education unions and our members that the Ford government and Education Minister Lecce care nothing about students or educators and everything about taking money out of the publicly funded education system,” AEFO President Rémi Sabourin said in a statement.
“To achieve their cuts, they have knowingly thrown students, families, educators and the system into chaos.”
The news comes as leaders from each union are currently attending an event in downtown Toronto where Education Minister Stephen Lecce is speaking, and teachers are protesting outside the venue.
While ETFO members and supporters of public education protest outside the Royal York, Lecce is inside talking to millionaires. Look at the wealth on display in this building. Wish we had funding like this for our schools! @ETFOeducators @ElemTeachersTO #ETFOstrong pic.twitter.com/lyIc9YcSTK— Joseph Sholtes (@joesholtes) February 12, 2020
“It is now evident that the Ford government’s agenda is entirely ideological and not at all concerned with providing quality education,” said OSSTF/FEESO President Harvey Bischof in a statement.
“They are pulling resources out of the public education system and, with schemes like mandatory e-learning, laying the groundwork for private interests to profit from our students’ education. We are heartened that so many parents are standing with us against the dismantling of Ontario’s public education system.”