McGuinty government boosts support for high school students

Archived Release

McGuinty government boosts support for high school students

Ministry of Education

Investments To Reduce Dropout Rate, Create New Opportunities For All Students TORONTO, May 17 - The McGuinty government will reduce the dropout rate and create new opportunities for all students with a $158 million secondary school investment, Education Minister Gerard Kennedy said today as he announced the first details of the $820 million 2005-06 increase to publicly funded education. "We have undertaken a concentrated program to transform our high schools so they are equipped to unlock the potential of every student," said Kennedy. "We will dramatically reduce Ontario's unacceptably high dropout rate and give all high school students the ability to succeed in their destination of choice - whether that means a work placement with training, apprenticeship, college or university." The McGuinty government has increased its investment in education to over $17 billion since coming to office. Of the $820 million boost for education in this year's overall budget, $158 million will be allocated to the Student Success Program. Last year, $100 million was invested in initiatives to help more high school students graduate and lower dropout rates. An estimated 30 per cent of high school students are at risk of not graduating. The government will continue to invest in programs to keep students learning, at least to age 18. The comprehensive plan to fundamentally shift the role of high schools includes: - $89 million for 1,300 new high school teachers, contingent on successful labour agreements. At least 800 teachers dedicated to the student success program, - At least one student success teacher in each school to work with students who need extra help, - Lowered class sizes in specific courses and more resource teachers, such as librarians and guidance counselors that benefit all high school students, - $23 million in special projects to support struggling students and students with English as a second language - more details of this investment will be announced soon, - $14.5 million for textbooks for secondary schools. In addition, $31 million has been allocated in one-time funding to support student Success, this includes: - An additional $25 million, for a total of $45 million, for technological education programs - New equipment, expanded programs and increased opportunities for students, - $6 million to purchase new resource materials for secondary school libraries. Over 70 per cent of parents expect that their children are headed for university, but only 33 percent of high school students go on to university after graduation. The Student Success Program provides experiential learning that gives students workplace skills and experience - so every student, including those who do not choose university, have a good outcome from their high school education. "From horticultural studies to culinary arts to avionics and construction, our high schools will give students more exposure and preparation for in-demand skilled trades and apprenticeships," said Willowdale MPP David Zimmer who joined Kennedy at Newtonbrook Secondary School. Other student success initiatives already underway in Ontario high schools include: - Student success leaders in every school board, - Resources for principals and teachers to deliver local action plans to meet the specific needs of students, - Revisions to the curriculum to offer more flexibility and options, and - Training for teachers. An upcoming announcement will provide details about increased funding for library resources and special projects for secondary schools. Significantly higher test scores in reading and writing illustrate the impact the student success initiatives are having on student achievement. The percentage of first-time eligible English-language students taking applied courses who passed the Grade 10 literacy test went from 49 per cent in October 2003 to 62 per cent in October 2004 - a 27 per cent increase. Disponible en français. www.edu.gov.on.ca www.resultsontario.gov.on.ca Backgrounder ------------------------------------------------------------------------- HELPING HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS SUCCEED The McGuinty government is creating a new role for publicly funded high schools and working to create a good outcome for every student. Success for students is moving beyond college and university to include apprenticeships and skilled job placements. That is why $158 million is being allocated to the comprehensive student success program. Over 70 per cent of parents expect that their children are headed for university, but only 33 percent of high school students go on to university after graduation. The Student Success Program provides experiential learning that gives students workplace skills and experience - so every student, including those who do not choose university, have a good outcome from their high school education. Redefining Success The Student Success Program is illustrating to students and parents that students who do not go directly to university or college can experience success in school and be well equipped with the skills they need to enter the workforce or an apprenticeship. Recent studies project a shortage of over one million skilled trade workers in the next 15 years, due to retirements. While the stakes for leaving school without a diploma are high for individual students, they are also critical for Ontario's economy and competitive advantage. Smaller Class Sizes, Increased Support for Struggling Students A new provincial high school policy is investing $89 million to send 1,300 more teachers into English-language public high schools to deliver new courses and programs. Over three years, an investment of $143 million will provide high schools with 1,900 more teachers. Every school will have at least one student success teacher and additional course sections with smaller class sizes in key subjects for struggling students. All high school students will benefit from lower class sizes and more resource teachers, such as librarians and guidance counsellors. This investment is contingent on successful labour agreements. Supporting Innovative Programs Innovative programs will continue to help increase graduation rates and reduce dropout rates. In March 2005, $18 million was allocated to school boards for 105 creative programs that engage students and help those who have dropped out return to school or connect with work or apprenticeship opportunities. The government will invest $18 million to expand successful projects for the 2005-06 school year. The government has expanded support for the school-college-work initiative to $3 million to increase opportunities for secondary students to get exposure to college early in their career planning. One-Time Funding Improving Technological Education Programs Technological education programs are receiving an additional $25 million, one-time funding for a total of $45 million. Schools will be equipped with new equipment so that students can benefit from programs that have a real relationship to current work needs. Improved technological education programs will help reduce dropout rates by providing hands-on learning environments that appeal to students who may be disengaged from academic programs. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Construction Technology Offering Students New Options Newtonbrook's Construction Technology program is offered to Grade 10 students in a state-of-the-art construction technology facility funded through the new technological education investment. For most of the 60 students enrolled in the class, it is their first experience with technological education. "Students will be earning credits that they would have struggled to achieve sitting in a computer or science class. This program is giving students new career options and alternative pathways while keeping them in school learning. Jim Spyropoulos, Principal of Newtonbrook Secondary School ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Library and Textbook Funding The government has allocated $6 million in one-time funding to purchase new resource materials for secondary school libraries. A $14.5 investment will provide secondary schools with new textbooks. Ongoing Initiatives to Improve Student Learning and Outcomes The government recognizes that a one-size-fits-all approach to helping students does not work. Curriculum changes are providing more flexibility in meeting student needs. The programs announced today build on initiatives already in place to help high school students succeed. - The revised Grade 9 and 10 applied math curriculum has been updated. It is now available online and is being delivered to schools this month. The new curriculum will be offered to students next September, one year earlier than planned. - Six new locally developed compulsory credit courses are providing greater choice for struggling students in Grade 9 and 10. The new courses help students advance to workplace courses in Grade 11 and 12. - Two new co-op related courses are now available to help schools prepare students for today's workplace. - The government will be redirecting funding for the ineffective Teacher Advisor Program. The still worthwhile goals of the program will be delivered in the future, in part, by individual and small-group student mentoring and advocacy. - Ongoing investment of $65 million for the Learning Opportunities Grant to support for special programs for students with additional challenges in both secondary and elementary schools. - The government allocates $19 million to fund student success leaders in every school board and resources for principals and teachers to deliver local action plans to meet the specific needs of students in communities across the province. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- "The Student Success Program is providing us with the resources to truly make a difference for our students. Because of this funding, we have been able to expand the choices available, no matter which pathway students decide to pursue: apprenticeship, direct entry into the workplace, or post-secondary education. We have added more experiential learning, such as co-operative education, and increased opportunities for industry-standard certification that students can accomplish while they are still in secondary school. We are also expanding the possibilities in technological education because these courses present students with the opportunity to develop much-needed skills. TERI provides critical funding to upgrade and repair outdated equipment and address gaps in equipment available for our students to meet curriculum expectations in safe learning environments. It allows us to build the very kinds of programs that our students tell us they need: programs that are real, relevant, and practical. In short, these are the programs that help keep our students where they belong: in school and engaged in learning." Cathy Phillips, Student Success Leader, Toronto District School Board ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Disponible en français www.edu.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