daily: Friday, August 23

High school class sizes, dealing with grizzlies, and life after rebirth
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Aug 26, 2019
Education Minister Stephen Lecce says the government will limit the average size of a high school classroom to 22.5 students for this school year.



Good morning, Ontario.

Here's what we're following

Average high school class sizes will be smaller than expected

Education Minister Stephen Lecce says the government will limit the average size of a high school classroom to 22.5 students for this school year, up from 22 last year but a less substantial increase than many anticipated. The province plans to increase average class sizes to 28 students over the next four years. Critics warn that average is a flawed metric, as some classes will be much larger. 

Meanwhile, NDP Education critic Marit Stiles says the damage to the school year has been done, as school boards have already redone course offerings and student timetables. “[Premier Doug Ford] knows darn well that all that work can’t be redone in the next 10 days,” she says. 

Province fights to keep ministers’ mandate letters secret 

The provincial government is taking the CBC and Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, Brian Beamish, to court, hoping to prevent the release of cabinet members’ mandate letters. CBC news requested the letters through a freedom of information request in June 2018 but never received them. Beamish, who directed cabinet office to deliver them, says “There is no persuasive evidence or argument before me that disclosure (of the letters) would give rise to a chilling effect on cabinet deliberations.”

Social conservative reaction to new sex-ed curriculum mixed 

The provincial government released its sexual education curriculum this week, largely a modified version of the former Liberal government’s plan, and reaction amongst some prominent social conservatives is split. Canadian Christian College president Charles McVety says it’s a “great day,” and that he’s glad parents will be able to remove their children from sex-ed classes. Tanya Granic Allen, an activist who ran in last year’s PC leadership race, disagrees. “I think Doug Ford won because he promised the parents and children of Ontario that he would get rid of what he called liberal ideology being forced into the classrooms of Ontario,” she says. “Nothing has been repealed, Doug Ford lied.”

11 health services to be delisted or restricted

A committee tasked with finding savings in Ontario’s health care system has recommended that 11 medical procedures be delisted or restricted under OHIP. The services include outdated fertility testing and unnecessary earwax removal. Cutting the procedures from OHIP is expected to save $83 million a year — short of the $120 million annually the committee was supposed to find. 

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Can the Tories rebuild their relationship with municipalities?

TVO’s Queen’s Park reporter John Michael McGrath wonders what Doug Ford’s government can do to mend fences with Ontario’s municipalities. One person to watch might be Minister of Municipal Affairs Steve Clark. “Clark is definitely proving to be an asset for the government,” McGrath writes. “A former mayor, he’s been a calm head in a government that could use a few more of them.”

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National Geographic: Warlords of Ivory

A shocking trail of blood and money, a ground-breaking sting operation, and an attempt to save one of the planet's most magnificent animals from extinction. National Geographic exposes the illicit trade that enslaved tens of thousands of people and threatens to wipe elephants off the face of the Earth. 

Re-Engineering the Career Escalator

Lisa Taylor, co-author of The Talent Revolution: Longevity and the Future of Work, believes an aging workforce can be a competitive advantage. She joins host Nam Kiwanuka to discuss our shifting notions of work. 

Tonight on TVO

7:30 p.m. Striking Balance: Waterton

Grizzly bears, a protected species in Alberta since 2006, are living and thriving around the Waterton Biosphere Reserve. See how nearby ranchers work to coexist with the powerful animals, while also protecting their livestock.

8 p.m. The Agenda in the Summer: Living with My Sister’s Ghost 

At five months, Gail Gallant died, the victim of a car crash. A year later, her mother gave birth to a child she believed was her daughter reborn. She named her Gail. Today, Gail has written The Changeling: A Memoir of My Death and Rebirth, My Haunted Childhood, and My Education in Sainthood and Sin.

From the archive

TVO Arts: AGO with Lupe Rodriguez, Oct. 12, 1997 

When artist Lupe Rodriguez provides a guided tour of the AGO, she stops to discuss Anthony Van Dyke’s “Daedalus and Icarus,” with a group of students. “This is very much what we call a Baroque style of painting, because it involves the audience. It’s 17th century art,” she says. “You are participating, and there’s a sense of drama and the moment in the picture.” 

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