Smaller Classes Something to Celebrate During Education Week

Archived Release

Smaller Classes Something to Celebrate During Education Week

Ministry of Education

Grade 3 Class With 23 Students This Year Instead Of 32 TORONTO, May 2 - Smaller class sizes for many of Ontario's youngest students are just one of the things to celebrate during Education Week, Education Minister Gerard Kennedy said today. "For the first time in a long time, class sizes are coming down -- one out of every three elementary schools in Ontario has an additional teacher this year," said Kennedy. "For thousands of students in junior kindergarten to Grade 3, that means smaller class sizes and more individual attention from their teachers." The McGuinty government invested $90 million this school year to reduce class sizes in primary grades, allowing school boards to hire 1,100 more teachers. For students at Indian Road Crescent Junior Public School, where Kennedy read with students today to mark the first day of Education Week, the government's investment has resulted in a new primary teacher and a Grade 3 class with 23 students, compared to 32 projected students without the new teacher. "Having fewer students in my classroom this year is making a huge difference to me and to my students," said Grade 3 teacher Marie Braz. "I've got more time to give students the individual attention they need at this critical point in their education." Beginning to reduce the number of students in primary classes is key to the McGuinty government's plan to rebuild Ontario's publicly funded education system after years of cutbacks. Other results of the government's investment in and commitment to education include: - Peace and stability -- A new provincial agreement with the Elementary Teachers' Federation and the Ontario School Boards' Association that ended work-to-rule activities on April 18 and calls for four-year contracts within provincial salary guidelines - Opportunities for struggling high school students -- An $18 million investment in 105 projects provincewide is helping students stay in school, prepare for the workplace and accumulate the credits they need to graduate - Repairs and renovations to schools -- A $280-million fund will secure financing for up to $4 billion worth of repairs, renovations and new schools. Work on many projects will begin this summer. Later today, Kennedy will challenge all members of the provincial legislature to spend a full day back in school before the end of May. This fifth annual MPP Back-to-School Challenge is designed to ensure that all MPPs reconnect with teachers, education workers, students and others in the school system. "Strengthening our publicly funded education system means we have to stay connected to the day-to-day reality in the classroom," said Kennedy. "I encourage all MPPs to spend a full day in one of our schools and see this government's commitment to education at work for all students." Disponible en fran├žais. www.edu.gov.on.ca www.resultsontario.gov.on.caFor further information: Contacts: Amanda Alvaro, Minister's Office, (416) 325-2632, (416) 509-5696 (cell); Wilma Davis, Communications Branch, (416) 325-6730; Public Inquiries: (416) 325-2929 or 1-800-387-5514, TTY: 1-800-263-2892