LTE: Education minister washing hands of school closures

I listened intently to an interview with Ontario Education Minister Mitzie Hunter. To sum up, I have zero confidence that the minister will do anything to change the UCDSB’s (Upper Canada District School Board) decisions regarding the closure of numerous rural schools.

It does not matter that some students may be on a bus for 3 hours and up to 90 km each day. How that is good for the health and education of students is beyond comprehension. What extra curricular courses and sports will they miss? What good will come from a one and a half hour bus ride?

What about the harm to the environment from buses? What about the cost of bus drivers? What positive effect on the communities could possibly come from closing local schools? How much accountability on the part of teachers, students and parents will be lost? How many school bus cancellations will occur in the winter, leaving parents to fend for themselves.

The minister says she has complete confidence that the board will do the right thing. In other words she washes her hands of the mess.

The board has to economize because it has run out of money, having maximized the salaries and benefits of unionized  employees, mainly teachers. The province has run out of money as well. The only solution that I can think of is that parents take over the operation of the schools that could be closed and use the per capita allowance to run them themselves.

Stay tuned as your education system follows the the same downward spiral as your health care.

Don Betts
Ottawa

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