The Toronto District School Board has decided to follow thorough on its plans to eliminate 87% of Education Assistants. Over 400 education assistants will be laid off, and over 400 early childhood educators (ECEs) will be hired to replace them. ECEs are required by Ontario law to deliver the new full-day kindergarten program.
Don't feel too bad for the educational assistants though. The government has offered to hire them as ECEs if they will complete their ECE training at a local college within two years.
I have posted before on how unfair this is to special needs students. Don't be fooled - the lack of assistance for students will result in more students being sent home or attending for partial school days only. Parents will have to fight more than ever for services that should be provided to them freely.
If that is not unfair enough, consider the double standard the government applies to early childhood education and special education. Apparently, to work with four and five year old children in an educational setting, you need a one or two year diploma to qualify you to deliver this education.
Colleges in Ontario have offered a good program in Autism and Behavioural Science for years now, yet no educational staff who work with children with autism require this diploma. Tell me why an untrained educational assistant is qualified to work with children with autism, yet that same EA requires a year or more of training to work with young, typical children?
There is no choice for children with autism in Ontario. Either the child is home-schooled (partially or full-time), the parents are on the hook for the full cost of their education, or parents must flee the jurisdiction. Don't worry though, little Jonny is getting a fully trained early childhood educator and can attend school all day. It'll save his parents a bundle on child care. What's not to like about that?