2006/04/16

Columnist Denley:Kennedy has left schools a mess

According to Ottawa Citizen columnist Randell Denley, Liberal leader hopeful Gerard Kennedy
has left Ontario schools in a mess.

"A recent Citizen story about the school board's foundation raising money for things like art and music programs had Kennedy scratching his head. How could the board need more money when his government had increased its budget by 16 per cent over the last three years?
It's an easy question. Most of the money was to pay for the teacher raises Kennedy negotiated or for the decrease in class sizes and increase in preparation time his government ordered. In other words, much of the money was spent before the board even got to it.

"The provincial government would have us believe it has delivered lots of money for new specialist teachers in art, music and phys-ed. Not quite. It bundled that money into a sum it sent to cover the increased preparation time it mandated. What little was left was used by our school board to pay for core French in the primary grades, a program the province does not cover.

"Public education is not no-frills education," Kennedy recently said. Sorry, but it is, and it's just barely that.

"Premier Dalton McGuinty describes public education as his "pride and joy," but his performance there is a microcosm of what's wrong with his whole approach to government. The provincial Liberals promise new things we really can't afford while papering over problems in paying for what we've got now.

"Gerard Kennedy's great success is that he made the McGuinty education con game seem plausible. If you want a taste of reality instead, check out the school board website at www.ocdsb.edu.on.ca and look for the board's position paper on education finance. It makes nine sensible recommendations to fix the board financial mess. None has been acted on."

3 comments:

John Snow said...

One thing's for sure. Gerard may be a Kennedy but he's no John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Pete said...

It is unfair to blame the Liberals and Kennedy for the mess that the Harrissites put Ontario's education system, and finances, in to. They are doing their best to fix what the Conservatives threw a wrench into. Messes like these take a long time to fix.

The Liberals, and perhaps Kennedy, have a lot to be held accountable for, but education is not one of these things.

cardinal47 said...

Pete, McGuinty is in bed with the teachers unions and Gerard Kennedy was his agent in giving away the keys to the store.