Take Action by Telling your Story: A Political message from CODE President, Jane Deluzio

Dear Members: 

     CODE is a non-partisan provincial organization. This means that we hold ALL governments accountable and that we work with all parties positively and respectfully. We represent Dance and Drama teachers and their educational interests. We are now actively engaged in political action.

At the present time our two political parties of focus are the Conservatives with a majority government, and the New Democratic Party who form the official opposition to the government.  Both the Liberals and the Green Party do not have official party status in this government but we do reach out to their elected MPPs where appropriate and helpful to do so. 

CODE supports the work of all teacher unions and subject associations, and all professional organizations such as OTF and OCT.

CODE is in opposition to the fundamental approach, philosophy and actions of Doug Ford and his government. The needs of Ontario students and teachers are not supported by the policies and programs released by our current Minister of Education. We have been submitting our objections to specific educational changes and we have been and will continue to respond to all requests for feedback by the Ontario Government.  We stood with Physical and Health educators to support their revised Sexual Education curriculum and with our FNMIEAO colleagues against the cancellation of the Indigenous curriculum writing projects. We have written in response to overall cuts in education and their specific negative effects on arts in education.

CODE is currently liaising and strategizing with our existing arts allies and, specifically, our Dance and Drama allies, both educational and professional: artists, companies, theatres, and organizations. We are working hard to increase our list of allies in order to support political initiatives together because we believe we need a powerful, unified approach.

Right now, CODE is working to support the NDP shadow Minister of Education, Marit Stiles, a former TDSB trustee with an extensive background supporting education and the arts who is MPP for Davenport. We are also directly in touch with MPP Dr. Jill Andrew who represents Toronto-St. Paul's and is the NDP Culture Critic. Jill is a certified OCT teacher of Drama and Social Sciences and former TDSB. Student Equity Program Advisor who attended the tdsbCREATES Dance and Spoken Word Showcase on April 25th in order to support Drama and Dance work. One of CODE's advocacy emails to Jill may be read into the legislature; we have given her permission to do so.

Your stories of 150 words may be sent directly to: JAndrew@ndp.on.ca.  Write about the effects of government cuts on your students, your school, yourself!

CODE board members also continue to protest as individuals about all of the cuts being made by the Ford government to the environment, public health, libraries and so much more. Many of us are also focusing on their attacks on democratic processes. 

Your board has not yet taken CODE as an organization into protests beyond those related to education. Respectful emails about  how you, as a CODE member, feel about whether or not (and if so, when) CODE should step forward as an organization against this provincial government beyond educational concerns are welcomed at: president@code.on.ca. I will be able to acknowledge receipt but not necessarily answer every one of these emails.

Please remember that your CODE board members are all volunteers and we do our CODE work along with our other responsibilities and paid work; most of the CODE board are full-time teachers.

In the meantime, I firmly continue to believe that the most important advocacy work we can do is in our own drama and dance work with students in classes and in clubs.  We need to focus on keeping strong, engaged and hopeful in spite of our anger and our fears. We cannot survive on a diet consisting entirely of  bad news and anxiety. And we need to know that good work in drama and dance survives.

Please share photos and short blogs with us about what you are doing with students and we will share these on our website and via Facebook. These should be related to dance and to drama work but may also be related to political action on the part of your students. Remember that all students in photos must have signed permission for their photos to be used. Take a few moments to celebrate your work! This is what we are fighting for! And why we are fighting against our Ministry of Education's cuts and priorities.

Jane Deluzio, President of CODE