Following weeks of attack over its intention to suspend driver licenses of students who drop out of school, the McGuinty government has backed down.
PC Education Critic, Oak Ridges MPP Frank Klees claimed a small victory following a committee meeting during which the government agreed to strike down the provisions of Bill 52 which would have stripped driver licenses of students who dropped out of school before the age of 18.
October 26, 2006
For Immediate Release
Klees: Teachers Join Opposition in Calling For Withdrawal of Bill 52
Klees: "We need a Cheque, not a Bill!"
(Queen's Park) PC Education Critic, Frank Klees, called on the Education Minister to withdraw the controversial Bill 52 following another day of Public Hearings during which witnesses unanimously condemned the Bill as bad legislation.
" Based on the evidence heard at public hearings, this legislation is so badly thought out, that it is beyond repair," said Klees following the third day of hearings on the Bill.
Klees quoted the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation to emphasize the mounting opposition to legislation that would strip students of their drivers' licenses if they drop out and opens equivalent learning programs to unqualified instructors.
"The implementation of Bill 52 could lead to a devaluation of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma and the secondary school environment in Ontario . No amendments are possible which would adequately prevent the harm caused by the introduction of widespread dual/external credits by unspecified and unlimited providers of equivalent learning". (OSSTF)
"We have been sounding the alarm that this government is systematically lowering education standards for students just to satisfy their political commitment to keep students in school to age 18," said Klees. "It's encouraging to see teachers taking a strong stand against the government on this issue."
The point was made repeatedly by witnesses that the Bill is nothing more than political grandstanding by the government, and that what is needed is adequate funding to school boards to strengthen and expand the existing equivalent learning framework introduced in 1999 by the former PC government.
The OSSTF pointed out in their submission that "Expansion and increase of the availability of equivalent learning opportunities is already possible under Ontario Secondary Schools, Grades 9-12: Program and Diploma Requirements 1999".
Klees called on the government to stop playing politics with this issue and replace the Bill with a cheque instead.
For immediate release
August 29, 2006
Withdraw Bill 52 ! PC Education Critic
(Queen's Park) PC Education Critic, Frank Klees (Oak Ridges) called on the McGuinty government to withdraw what he calls "legislation that is punitive, ill-conceived and will prove to be counter-productive".
The proposed Bill would force students to stay in school until the age of 18 and will strip dropouts of their driver's licence.
Klees' statement came following the first day of public hearings in Whitchurch-Stouffville where the legislative committee heard from parents, educators and education stakeholders who repeatedly condemned the legislation as punitive, unworkable and unfair.
"There is a strong consensus that this legislation is not only flawed, but that it will prove to be impossible to administer, and in the final analysis sends all the wrong messages to students about Ontario 's education system. This legislation should be withdrawn before any more of our time is wasted deliberating on this Bill," said Klees following today's hearings.
Klees pointed out that no one objects to the goal of encouraging students to complete their education, the stripping of driver's licences should not be tied to a student's success in the classroom.
"Attendance in school has nothing to do with the privilege to drive, and to tie the two together is fundamentally wrong" said Klees. "This government is once again assuming the role of being the "official parent" and that is an intrusion Ontarians will, and should reject."
Klees pointed out that the OSSTF is also opposed to the punitive measures in the Bill.
For further information:
Frank Klees, MPP
Debate at second reading
Other news releases regarding Bill 52
YRNG Article by Teresa Latchford
Province slammed for threatening driver's licenses
full article 08/31/06
Please join Frank Klees, MPP as he discusses Bill 52
on Rogers Cable TV Show "Insights".
Monday Sept 25 at 9:00PM
Rogers Cable 10 & 63
© 2008 Frank Klees, M.P.P. All Rights Reserved