Queen's Park, April 8 2019 - My question is to the Minister of Education. Following this government’s $1-billion cut to public education last month, 35 educational assistants received layoff notices from the Thames Valley District School Board. This is in addition to the 100 special education learning coordinator positions that were eliminated on March 6. The EA layoffs were announced even as the board prepares for more than 500 students with autism to enter the school system in September, many for the first time.
Speaker, this government wants to talk about math, so here’s my math question to the minister: When you add 500 students with special learning needs to Thames Valley classrooms and take away 35 of the educational assistants who help them, will students in London be better off or worse off?
Like many other school boards, Thames Valley already has a shortage of educational assistants. These 35 layoffs will just make the shortage worse, especially for students with autism. The loss of these 35 EAs means that EAs who wanted to become certified in applied behaviour analysis are being told to cancel their training because there is no one to cover for them in the classroom.
Can the minister explain how making specialized autism training available to EAs will help support students with autism when EAs can’t be spared from the classroom to participate in this training?