TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 26, 2014) - Concerns raised publicly by students of E.C. Drury School for the Deaf in Milton are a clear indication that the Ministry of Education needs to do more to support students who are deaf, blind, or deaf-blind, according to David Sykes, President of the Provincial Schools Authority Teachers (PSAT).
PSAT, which is part of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF/FEESO), represents the teachers at E.C. Drury, and other provincial schools that service deaf, blind, deaf-blind students, and students in corrections. The schools are operated by the Provincial Schools Branch of the Ministry of Education.
Responding to misinformation contained in a recent media report, Sykes said, "We emphatically reject any claim that our members refuse to or cannot sign in ASL (American Sign Language). All of our members at provincial schools are first-rate teachers and highly qualified. Typically our members have specialist degrees or are working towards the same." Sykes added that every teacher of the deaf is fluent in ASL or LSQ (langue des signes québécoise), and uses that language exclusively when teaching or interacting with students.
"But the dedication and competence of the teaching staff is only part of the equation," he continued. "Our members have always taken pride in delivering programs and services that no other province can even hold a candle to. But it has become very frustrating to see how much some students are now being disadvantaged because other supports or resources are lacking, or simply not in place."
Cindy Dubué, OSSTF/FEESO provincial Vice President, said, "The goal of our members is always to help every student realize his or her full potential. OSSTF/FEESO will continue to press the Ministry of Education to provide more dedicated resources for students in Provincial Schools, and additional support staff. These schools are no place for the Ministry to be considering reduced service levels or austerity measures."
OSSTF/FEESO, founded in 1919, has 60,000 members across Ontario. They include public high school teachers, occasional teachers, educational assistants, continuing education teachers and instructors, early childhood educators, psychologists, secretaries, speech-language pathologists, social workers, plant support personnel, university support staff, and many others in education.