Ontario Continues To Invest In Its Students
Nine Reasons Why Education Will Be Better In 2009
More Ontario students will reach their potential this year with the Ministry of Education focusing on strengthening partnerships, making targeted investments and improving ongoing programs.
These efforts will further enhance the ministry's three core priorities -- providing higher levels of student achievement, reducing gaps in student achievement and increasing confidence in publicly funded education.
Here are nine examples of how Ontario will reach every student and help build the future prosperity of the province:
- More than 90 per cent of kindergarten to Grade 3 classes will continue to have 20 or fewer students -- compared to 32 per cent in 2003-04. That means more than 540,000 primary students are now in classes of 20 or fewer, compared to only 166,000 students five years ago. Students in these smaller classes get more attention, do better and are more likely to succeed.
- Elementary teachers will receive more support for teaching reading, writing and math. Over recent years, this has helped more students achieve the provincial standard on Grade 3 and 6 provincial tests -- rising from 54 in 2002-03 to 65 per cent in 2008.
- Focused high school programs will continue to give students more choices and opportunities to explore careers. This includes Specialist High Skills Majors and dual credits, which have helped raise the graduation rate to 75 per cent. That's 22,500 more graduates since 2003-04.
- Continued investments in new school facilities and vital renovations will create safer and more engaging places for students to learn and grow. Since 2003, the ministry has funded more than 200 new schools and nearly 12,000 renovation projects.
- Students will have more opportunities to provide input on how to improve the education system. Sixty students will be selected this year as the first members of the Minister's Student Advisory Council. This council includes meetings twice a year with the Minister of Education to share student perspectives.
- An increased focus on healthy living will energize students. This includes dropping trans fat from food and beverages sold in schools, encouraging students and staff to participate in the Healthy Schools Recognition Program and introducing nutritional standards in schools.
- Schools will become safer places to learn. Steps will be taken to make it mandatory for school staff to report serious incidents and add topics such as gender-based violence, homophobia and sexual harassment and inappropriate sexual behaviour into classroom discussions. In addition, the ministry will continue its partnership with Kids Help Phone which has helped provide anonymous support to bullying victims, bystanders and the bullies themselves.
- Students living in poverty will have a better chance to succeed. For example, Parenting and Family Literacy Centres will be expanded to help students in high-need neighbourhoods prepare for kindergarten.
- Outstanding educators and support staff will be honoured again with Premier's Awards for Teaching Excellence. These annual awards help inspire individuals to make a difference in education.