Yesterday, Tasha Kheiriddin announced that she would not be voting for Tim Hudak:
I have been a life-long small-c conservative. I supported the Common Sense Revolution of Mike Harris. I believe in balanced budgets, low taxes and value for money. I like the PCs’ plans for ending corporate welfare and encouraging job creation.
I am also the parent of a four-year-old child with special needs in Ontario. And that’s why I cannot vote for you, Tim Hudak.
For kindergarten, we were looking at private, and much more expensive, school options, in large part because the public classes in her district school have 30 kids. She can’t handle a class that size. She won’t be able to concentrate or get the assistance she needs to stay focused. And it’s not just her; a lot of neurotypical children her age do better in smaller groups, with less distraction and more attention.
Ms. Kheiriddin wasn't a parent during the Harris years. Perhaps that's why she doesn't remember what Mr. Harris did to education during his time in office. Perhaps she remembers Harris as a former teacher -- who put three years into the profession and then left. Perhaps she forgets that Harris' first minister of education was John Snoblen -- who dropped out of school in grade 11 and never returned.
Snoblen, however, was a fortunate son. He inherited his father's waste management company. And, when he was appointed Minister of Education, he applied his talent for managing waste to managing education. Snoblen cut programs -- beginning with grade 13 -- and jobs. He proclaimed the way to change education in Ontario was to "create a crisis." And he did just that.
On Hudak's proposed changes to education, Kheiriddin writes:
Thirty children. That is the normal JK and SK class size in the entire region where we live. Have you been in a class with 30 four or five year olds, Mr. Hudak? How about 32 of them? Some classes already have that.
You propose to increase class sizes by “two or three students.” So you want there to be 33, 34, 35? With your proposed one-to-20 teacher ratio, that means what, 1 ½ teachers per class? How does that work? Do you really think little kids will learn anything in that environment? Do you think they are learning enough now?
The fact is, we've been there before. We got there because, when it came to education, neither Mr. Harris nor Mr. Snoblen knew what they were talking about. After Mr. Hudak received his Master's degree in economics, he worked for Walmart for two years, then was elected to the legislature. That's the extent of his real job experience.
You get the picture. When it comes to policy, the Conservatives don't know what they're talking about.