Government committed to excellence for students

Archived Release

Government committed to excellence for students

Ministry of Education

As Education Week begins, Kennedy outlines plan to make public education the best education TORONTO, May 3 - Education Minister Gerard Kennedy marked the start of Education Week across the province today by providing details of the government's plan to bring about dramatic improvement in public education. "Our job is to make the case for public education day in and day out - to make every week in the next four years one where education receives our focused attention," said Kennedy. Kennedy said it's time to stop the slide in public education, which has seen the number of children attending private schools increase by 40 per cent over the last eight years, and 25 to 30 per cent of students who began Grade 9 in Ontario in 1999 - the double cohort year - leaving school without graduating. "That's 40,000 to 48,000 kids dropping out," Kennedy said. "Meanwhile 60 per cent of all new jobs will require some form of post-secondary education." The first steps in realizing excellence in public education require that every student is able to read, write, do math and comprehend at a high level by the age of 12. The government is committed to making improvements in public education so that by 2008, 75 per cent of students reach the provincial standard in province-wide reading, writing and math tests - up from the slightly over half that are reaching this marker today. Kennedy outlined a program that includes: - Reducing class sizes from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 3 beginning this September; - Placing lead teachers specially trained in literacy and numeracy in every elementary school for the JK to Grade 6 years - for the first time - by the fall; and - Establishing an Ontario Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat to support and co-ordinate efforts. There will be increased funding for education in the May 18 budget and budgets that follow. "Working together, we will produce results," said Kennedy. "If we get public education right, we get the best citizens and the best workers, the strongest society and the most prosperous economy. It's the key to providing a quality of life that's second to none." Disponible en fran├žais www.edu.gov.on.caFor further information: Media Contacts: Amanda Alvaro, Minister's Office, (416) 325-2632, (416) 509-5696 (cell); Dave Ross, Communications Branch, (416) 325-2709; Public Inquiries: (416) 325-2929 or 1-800-387-5514, TTY: 1-800-263-2892