(QUEEN’S PARK) – The government’s announcement on Wednesday that it will be accepting enrolments for Demonstration Schools in 2016-17 is a good first step, but it doesn’t go far enough according to Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith.
“It’s a tribute to the hours of work put in by parents, students, graduates and staff of Provincial and Demonstration Schools that they were able to force the government to reopen enrolment for next year.” Smith stated. “What’s clear, at the end of this consultation, is that this is no way to run an education system for some of Ontario’s most vulnerable students.”
Smith was the second of 14 Progressive Conservative MPPs who asked a question about Demonstration Schools in Question Period this morning after hosting a press conference that morning with Sagonaska Parent Council Chair Lesley Lehman. Smith then spoke to a protest that included hundreds of students, parents, staff and graduates of Provincial and Demonstration Schools.
“These schools change lives, they save lives and they provide hope. “ Smith added in an afternoon speech to the Legislature. “If we are in no other business in this place, let us be in that one. Let us be in the business of giving kids hope that are often looking for it wherever they can find it.”
The schools are still contending with staffing issues for the upcoming school year, concerns about their future beyond the 2016-17 school year and concerns about enrolment caused by the freeze introduced by the government this winter.
“Kids deserve better than having to wonder if this will be the year that the government decides it can close the doors on their future.” Smith concluded.