Previously, we have examined the board-by-board impact of larger class sizes and mandatory e-learning in Ontario schools. One blog estimated the number of teaching positions that will be eliminated in each board as a result of policies approved in Spring 2019; the other blog recalculated figures in response to Education Minister Stephen Lecce’s offer, during contract negotiations with teachers, to scale back the changes. (At time of writing, these offers haven’t been accepted or approved).
This blog provides a calculator that allows us to estimate, using total enrolment numbers, the number of teaching positions that will be eliminated in each school should the current plan be fully implemented.
Before using the calculator, please read the explanations and caveats below.
The calculator captures one change in elementary schools: the increase in class sizes in Grades 4 to 8, from 23.84 students (on average) per teacher to 24.50.
It captures two changes in secondary schools: the increase in class sizes in Grades 9 to 12, from 22 students (on average) per teacher to 28, and the introduction of mandatory e-learning, either four courses (as approved in March 2019), or two courses (as announced in November 2019).
While the government plans to roll out these changes over the next three years, the calculator estimates the total number of teaching positions that will be eliminated once changes are fully implemented in 2023-24.
The calculator assumes a uniform 0.8 per cent enrolment growth for all schools. This is the province-wide enrolment growth rate reported by the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO). Actual enrolment projections vary from school board to school board. Since enrolment growth is built into the calculation formula, it is very important to use the number of students (total enrolment) in the 2019-20 school year; numbers from other years will distort the result.
As with our previous board-by-board analyses, the formula behind the calculator produces results that closely mirror the FAO’s estimates. The FAO estimates 994 elementary teachers will be eliminated by 2023-24; the calculator arrives at 999 positions. The FAO estimates 9,060 secondary teaching positions will be cut; the calculator estimates 8,985 positions. The FAO total is 10,054 fewer teachers; the calculator total is 9,984 positions. This discrepancy—of less than 1 per cent—is likely due to FAO having access to more precise enrolment growth projections.
The calculator only captures classroom teacher positions funded through the Pupil Foundation Allocation; it does not include classroom staff and education workers who are funded through other grants to provide fundamental supports to students, inside and outside the classroom.
Ricardo Tranjan is a political economist and senior researcher with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Ontario office. Follow Ricardo on Twitter: @ricardo_tranjan.