Who can focus and learn in a hot room?
On very warm days, chances are that your children learn in classrooms with open windows but no air conditioning. Their classrooms are stifling hot. Students and teachers struggle to stay focused and get the job done. You and I went to school in those same classrooms and survived… so what’s the big deal?
Things have changed:
• Firstly, we have warmer average temperatures for the shoulder seasons. Spring and fall are hotter than when we attended school. Children have to cope with difficult classroom temperatures for much longer periods most years.
• Secondly, Ontario schools are not designed for intense heat, and they are being retrofitted with safety windows that now barely open. There is no cross ventilation with other classrooms, as is evidenced in the photo here.
• Thirdly, there is also research that shows that controlling the classroom temperatures significantly improves the academic success of the class.
There is a solution but it won’t come any time soon without your help. There are new options available for classroom temperatures in Ontario that cannot be rolled out until Provincial funding is made available.
The most difficult part of this issue is that politicians with the power over school funding sit in cool, air conditioned offices in the summer and warm heated ones in the winter. Is it any wonder there is no empathy for our students and teachers?
Contact your MPP now to demand funding for safe, well-maintained schools. Call or email your local MPP at their Constituency Office. You are their constituent and they care what you think because they want your vote in June 2018.
To exert pressure, we need your stories and photos. We must ensure that Ontario citizens far and wide are as affronted as we are by the unacceptable temperatures in classrooms, the leaking ceilings, the disgusting washrooms, the asbestos, the mould, the crumbling stairs, and the list goes on…
So please take a minute, and send us a photo of disrepair in your local school and explain to us the impact to students and adults who spend their days in this school.
In August 2016, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) led the way in transparency, when it released detailed information on disrepair in its schools, including both Facility Condition Index (FCI) and the Renewal Needs Backlog.
Feeling pressure to follow suit, the Ministry of Education released information on disrepair for all Ontario schools, confirming that over $15-Billion of disrepair existed in our publicly funded schools.
The Ministry of Education has increased funding for school repairs significantly over the past three years. In fact, since 2014 when Fix Our Schools began, funding for school repairs has increased by $1.25-Billion/year to $1.4-billion/year – the level it always ought to have been. As a result, a lot of work has been done to schools this past year and a lot of work is continuing to happen at schools to address disrepair.
How much of the $15-Billion repair backlog has been addressed? Citizens will have no idea unless the data that the Ministry of Education released a year ago is updated each year and made public. It would be nice to know if we’ve even stopped the bleeding on the year-over-year increase in disrepair in the buildings where 2-million Ontario children spend their days!
This type of accountability seems highly reasonable. Our schools certainly don’t look as if everything has been fixed!
If the provincial government claims that $1.4-billion/year for school repairs is sufficient to ensure that all Ontario children attend safe, well-maintained schools then we deserve to know how this funding has actually impacted our children’s schools.
So Minister Hunter, “When can we expect to see updated data about the FCI ratings and outstanding repairs for all Ontario schools”?
Shame on you for even making us ask. Your Ministry should, in the interest of being transparent and accountable, automatically update and issue this information every year!