EAs support special needs

 LETTER TO THE EDITOR
TheStar Mar 07, 2008

Re:Jobs of classroom helpers at risk  March 5

As an elementary teacher with the Toronto District School Board and a parent of children with special needs who have attended Toronto public schools, I am yet again appalled to hear that the board is debating further cuts to education assistants. The board says that none of the assistants who help special-needs students would be affected.

That is simply not true. With the exception of a very small minority, all students with special needs have been integrated into the regular classroom for more than a decade. This is a direct result of changes to the Education Act in the 1990s.

The vast majority of special-needs students are in regular classrooms and get their support from an already drastically cut number of education assistants. When we cut our education assistants, we are hurting our neediest students.

Officials need to advocate for these students and let the government know that Ontario's education funding is inadequate to carry out the Education Act's mandate.

Joanne Clarke, Toronto