Local secondary teachers are on strike! But why?

Deborah Buchanan-Walford is the local OSSTF President for Emery Adult Day School Teachers and Derik Chica is a Strike Captain for Emery Edvance Secondary School and a local community advocate

Toronto Secondary Teachers are on strike! Teachers at Emery Edvance Secondary School and Emery Adult Learning Centre are voluntarily taking their lunch time to spread information about why they are striking.  They want the provincial Conservative government, led by Doug Ford, to reverse the cuts to education. Over the past year, Doug Ford has cut education over and over again. Class sizes have increased and funding for low income communities, like Emery, has decreased.  Also, Doug Ford’s government wants to force all students to take online classes. Since April, teachers have been trying to bargain with Doug Ford’s Conservatives to reverse the education cuts but nothing has worked. Teachers now have only one last resort, a strike. 

Adult Day schools (ADS) exist as a place to help students over 21 years old who need to earn their Ontario Secondary School Diplomas (OSSDs). Many newcomers to Canada also attend these schools to learn the English Language, gain a Canadian high school diploma or at the bare minimum earn Canadian high school credits, which in turn gives them tools to apply to college or university in Canada and eventually enter the workforce in careers that contribute to the economy. 

The injustice is teachers who teach in an adult school have the same qualifications and belong to the same school boards as “regular” teachers. Yet, teachers in an adult school earn thousands of dollars less. In fact, while contract teachers are permanent, full-time employees who earn a salary, adult teachers are seasonal/casual workers and are paid by the hour. Adult Day School teachers also receive absolutely no health benefits. 

In most Adult Day Schools, teachers don’t get paid time to prepare lessons. Most adult schools have no class size maximums and have as many as 55 students in a class. These schools teach the same credit courses as any other “regular” high school from the same Ontario curricula.

In Toronto, there are only 5 adult schools which serve thousands of adult students every year. In other boards, there are even less. The looming reality of Ontario’s high schools having large class sizes, underserved special needs students, and underpaid teachers is already happening in Adult Day Schools. If it’s so bad for the regular schools, why is it ok for us? 

We need #equityforads and we need it now.