As with the October 2007 Ontario election and the faith-based funding issue, the 2011 campaign is going to be mostly about education. Meaning, that once again, Ontarians can expect McGuinty-style smoke and mirrors.
I have no doubt, for example, that the McGuinty Liberals and their supporters, will spend a lot of time talking about their wonderful full-day Kindergarten and how the bad old PCs are going to freeze — not cancel — its rollout. Never mind that no one yet knows how much a province-wide full implementation of the ELP would cost. No need for accountability. It’s the Liberal “don’t worry, be happy” boondoggle mentality at work.
Ontarians can also expect, as the Kingston Whig Standard article “Failing Grade for McGuinty’s Grits” outlines, that the McGuinty Liberals will talk a lot about the fact that 14% more Ontario students are graduating from high school than ever before.
However, what they will not be telling voters, of course, is that the reason for that increase is not because more students were motivated and inspired to stay in school, but because the system watered down expectations and academic requirements through McGuinty’s “success/no-fail” social promotion policies.
But, that is not all. What the McGuinty Liberals will also NOT want to tell Ontario voters is that:
- EQAO standardized test results (scroll part way down the page to the chart) have pretty much stayed stable over the last five years, with only “writing” going up slightly at the Grade 3 level (see also the Fraser Report Card);
- Between 2002/03 and 2008/09, the province’s public schools lost 90,000 students; and
- Costs for education went up nearly $6 BILLION, from $14.4 billion in 2002/03 to $20.2 billion in 2009/10.
Yet, where has all that $6 billion gone? If EQAO standardized tests have only remained stable (tests the teachers’ unions apparently hate), why was $6 billion more spent for 90,000 fewer students? It makes no sense at all unless most of it went to higher teacher salaries and benefits.
Which would explain why the teachers’ unions, as well as other public sector unions (including the Working Families Coalition) are going to be fighting an anti-Hudak, anti-PC campaign in favour of the Liberal Party of Canada. They can recognize a gravy train when they see it.
The public sector unions also know that if they openly support the Ontario Liberal Party and they should win another majority government, the Liberals would owe the public sector unions big time. Meaning, that within months of a third Liberal majority, the EQAO office will be shut down putting an end to standardized testing.
“Change ahead?” Indeed! $6 billion dollars with little to show for it. Time for the Ontario PC Party to be elected to stop the Liberal education gravy train to nowhere.