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Overcrowded classrooms at TCDSB, tomorrow protest at Queen’s Park

TORONTO – Another protest demonstration. At 10am tomorrow the parents of the children attending the schools of the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) will gather in front of Queen’s Park to express clearly and unequivocally their disappointment at the increase in the number of students per class that comes into force tomorrow. A move, this, which immediately sent the parents of the boys who already last week organized demonstrations in front of numerous elementary schools of the Catholic school board of the city into a rage: no to “chicken coop” classes, they repeated loudly, no to classes with 31 students. 

That in crowded classrooms the school performance of the children is not the best is known since the teacher can devote less time to individual students, what at this particular moment sends parents into anger is the thought that their children are crammed into classrooms where physical distancing goes to be blessed. All this while the fourth wave of Covid-19 continues to sow infections left and right. Schools are no exception. With the last 129 Covid infections last Friday – 114 among students and 12 among teachers – cases in the province have risen to 2,975 while 9 schools are currently remaining closed.

But despite this and despite the uncertainty of the evolution of the situation, going against the recommendation of the experts of the Science Advisory Table, the Ontario Ministry of Education approved the creation of classes with a greater number of children. Decision, which among other things, translates into a cut in the number of teachers and a saving of salaries. But what once again leaves us stunned is to see how the Ministry of Education and the Catholic school board pass the hot potato: none of them is going to accept responsibility for this unpopular decision. Bringing classes back to pre-pandemic levels – and in many cases even exceeding them – seems to be the unseasy decision that can now turn into reality.

A reality that parents, like those who are part of the “nocuts2021” group, are trying to avoid: tomorrow from 10 am to noon they will be at 110 Wellesley St. W. to reiterate once again that the “chicken coop” classes do not benefit anyone, least of all their children. “We are opposed to the ongoing reorganization in the TCDSB. We want our teachers to stay in our local communities to allow for small classes,” they wrote on their Instagram page. The message is concise and clear but as the saying goes “there is no worse deaf than those who do not want to hear”.

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