at least at the Toronto District School Board.
My apologies to Neil Young.
The TDSB has been very open and transparent with their predictions about how funding will affect its operation.
OSSTF has been very vocal as well about how it will affect their members in that district.
Now, it’s time for the students and parents to take a look at how they’ll be impacted. This Scribe document shows the current situation.
Impact of Class Size Average Increase: Secondary Course Selection
I have a bit of knowledge of the TDSB through acquaintances who work there and reading about it online. As well, at the Faculty of Education, I did a couple of practice teaching stints at Woburn and East York so looking at the effect on those two schools at least had a bit of context.
As I looked through the entire document through the bias of a former Business Education Director and Computer Science teacher, I see some sad and alarming things. As an educator, you know the rationale for combining sections and you know that it really hurts a student who chose a Grade 12 elective with post-secondary in mind only to see it cancelled.
Now, truth be told, schools go through this process every year. There are times where sections or courses are cancelled due to low registration. But the resolution at all of the schools in this document tells a story of a different nature this year.
At the bottom of the summary document, there are reasons for the courses flagged.
304 courses continuing with larger class sizes and 313 courses cancelled leap from the document.
But there are a couple that are particularly painful to see. “Guidance support reduced” and “Library sections were cancelled, resulting in …”
It hurts to see each of the other reasons listed. What’s important to appreciate is that, behind each of those, are students – real human beings – who have been impacted.
Scheduling a school is surely a great deal of science but there’s also the art of making things happen. In the hands of skilled schedulers, amazing things can happen. And yet, there are still those lines headed to the Guidance Department to make alternative choices. “What’s left” doesn’t always work with single section courses that may be conflicting with your other choices.
There really is a human emotion at the end of adjusted timetables. What happens when “Plan B” doesn’t work? It may be easy to ignore the impact when it’s just numbers or teacher salaries or any of the things easy to work out on a spreadsheet. Now, it gets personal.
As with many things that have resulted from the announcement about the growth of class sizes, the TDSB has been first to the gate to show the impacts. Pretty soon, we’ll see similar stories emerge throughout the province.
Please share your thoughts here. I’d enjoy reading them.