THURSDAY, JULY 4TH AT 1- 2PM AT THE TRENTON PORT MARINA (MEET AT 12:15PM IN THE TRENTON METRO PARKING LOT.) BRING A FRIEND
Talia Epstein, a student at PECI plans to be there. Proposed education changes raise concerns for students and parents
(L-R): Madison Colton, Erica Monroe and Sarah Johnson demonstrate their opposition to proposed changes to public education funding during a student walkout last Thursday. Photo: Wellington Times
Talia Epstein: Over the past few weeks, I’ve been approached by many students asking how they will be impacted by the proposed cuts to education and what they can do to help.
I have noticed that the kids are quick to do their own research and come to their own conclusions. It’s actually so admirable how much the student body at PECI cares about their futures.
None of us are going to pretend to love school. But part of what makes it as good an experience as it can be is the connection we are able to make with our teachers, and the resources we have access to while at school. All of the teachers and staff at PECI, and at most if not all schools across Ontario, are incredibly valuable people dedicated to helping each student succeed on an individual basis. The cuts would make that individual connection so much harder to achieve.
I can guarantee that there would be little to no motivation to go to school to sit in front of a computer or in exponentially larger classes. The sad thing is that every student I’ve talked to has had a unique problem or story of how they would be impacted. I was talking to a boy the other day who wants to pursue a career as a musician. He was so concerned for the quality of his music education and his future if funding for music classes was cut or his music teacher retired and wasn’t replaced. Another example is actually my sister. She wants to be an architect and therefore has to take visual art, but also wants to take drama. PECI currently offers an arts plus program that allows students to take 2 art courses in grade 9. A few of my friends participated in that program and loved it.
When we were talking about Ford’s suggested cuts as a family she was very worried about how she would be able to realize her plan. But the biggest thing people I’ve spoken to have an issue with is the suggested mandatory e-learning credits.
Most high school students aren’t compatible with e-learning programs. You need to be so incredibly disciplined to succeed in that environment, not to mention that many students across the province do not have a computer or stable internet connection at home, and most schools don’t have enough computers to supply one to everyone who would need them even just during the school day.
This topic brings us back to that teacher-student relationship. It’s a human thing. It’s not a connection that we can form with a machine. We need to be able to have a real life conversation with someone when we need help, not an email conversation with someone we don’t know.
We need to remember that students and staff at Ontario schools aren’t a budget or a statistic. They are hundreds of thousands of individuals with individual dreams and needs that need to be met, and who need the funding necessary to excel. It’s also important to mention that the students, not only here but all across Ontario, are ready and willing to stand up for themselves and fight for their friends, family, and teachers. Education isn’t a cost. It’s an investment.