Stop Hybrid Classes in the TDSB
Stop Hybrid Classes in the TDSB
To: Colleen Russell-Rawlins, Director; Chris Brown, Board Chair; TDSB Trustees
Honour Your Promise, Stop Hybrid, Give Students the Dedicated Teacher They Deserve
We - the parents, students, and education workers of the TDSB - call on you to immediately honour your stated commitment that every student, either in-person or virtual, would have a dedicated teacher.
In other words: stop simultaneous Learning and give students the dedicated teacher they deserve.
You told us that “all learning will either be fully in-person, or fully virtual.”
Indeed, parents and students were only ever given the option of choosing “fully virtual” or “fully in-person”, when registering.
However, this school year begins with a very large number of classes in many of our schools being “Hybrid” or “Simultaneous”.
The research is clear that “hybrid” or “simultaneous” learning is a “failed response to Covid pressures”.
After many boards experimented with it last year, students, parents, and education workers gave powerful testimony that simultaneous / hybrid teaching has negative impacts on student learning, mental health and wellbeing, and equity outcomes.
This year students need MORE academic and emotional supports, not less. Hybrid undermines the learning environment for students in school AND at home.
We know that students in lower socio-economic neighbourhoods, often Black, Indigenous and racialized and subject to multiple barriers, have already borne the greatest burden of the pandemic and are the most likely to choose “fully virtual” only to find themselves forced to struggle for access in a hybrid classroom.
Preventing simultaneous learning is an urgent equity issue. Rather than introducing new barriers and inequities, we urge you to continue the essential work of dismantling all harms and ensuring equitable access and opportunity for all TDSB students, a vision that is clearly outlined in the TDSB Multi-year Strategic Plan.
For example: It is outrageous that students in gifted programs in the elementary panel who have to learn from home are getting dedicated virtual teachers, but students in Intensive Support Programs who have to learn from home will be forced into simultaneous learning.
We recognize that ultimately the provincial government is responsible for the prospect of simultaneous learning. We know the government hired expensive U.S. education privatization consultants to design the cheapest possible pandemic education plan. We know their ongoing cuts to public education and refusal to fund virtual schools has put the entire TDSB in a difficult position.
While we know this government doesn’t care about equity or safety or mental health and well-being, we demand you do.
If need be, hire more teachers to provide dedicated teachers for virtual classes for families of schools.
Due to the bold and principled organizing of parents, students, and education workers, school boards in Peel (elementary), Dufferin-Peel, Windsor-Essex, and Waterloo have all maintained their promise of “fully virtual or fully online.”
We know that the same is possible in the TDSB.
Read our signatures, and the stories we share below in the comments about the real harms simultaneous/hybrid learning is doing in our schools and do the right thing:
Honour your word and give students the dedicated teacher they deserve.
We will deliver this petition in person to TDSB Trustees at 5050 Yonge Street on Sept 21st, accompanied by education workers, parents, and students who will speak publicly about the negative impacts on simultaneous learning. We urge you to listen to those directly impacted by hybrid learning.
The Ontario Parent Action Network (OPAN)
Ontario Education Workers United (OEWU)
Coalition for Alternatives to Streaming in Education (CASE)
Standing Up for Racial Justice - Toronto (SURJ)