Ontario’s elementary teachers’ union is responding to reports the provincial government is looking at making virtual learning permanent.
Sam Hammon, president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario says the plan is an attack on public education, and will divert funds to private companies.
He says the plan will also negatively affect students by increasing inequities, and lowering standards in schools.
“The move to virtual learning was never intended to be permanent; it was a temporary measure intended to deliver emergency instruction during a global health crisis. But this was never the Ford government’s plan. It’s now clear that, throughout the pandemic, they’ve been working on a virtual learning plan that will divert funds from publicly funded education to private companies,” says Hammond.
As early as this September, virtual learning could reportedly become a permanent fixture in Ontario schools.
According to a document from the Ministry of Education, obtained by the Globe and Mail, the government is considering legislation that would make remote learning a permanent option for school boards in the province.
If the legislation is passed, it would mean families would have the option to enroll their children in full-time virtual learning moving forward.
This would also mean things like snow days would most likely become a thing of the past, as schools would have the ability to pivot to in-person lessons should they need to.
Ontario’s 2020-21 back-to-school plan offered parents the choice to put their children in remote or in-person learning.
Approximately 20 per cent of students in that province enrolled in virtual learning for the current school year.