Ten Reasons Why Education In Ontario Was Better In 2010
In 2010, we continued to see smaller class sizes, higher test scores and increased student support. Helping students reach their full potential is part of the Open Ontario Plan, which ensures we will have the skilled workforce needed to compete in the global economy.
1. Full-day kindergarten for four- and five-year-olds began.
This past fall, about 35,000 four- and five-year-olds in nearly 600 schools started full-day kindergarten, which is giving our youngest learners a stronger start, so they are more prepared for Grade 1 and future success.
2. Ontario students are among the world's best.
Ontario's 15-year-old students are among the top readers in the world according to an international education study by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), and our students also ranked extremely well in math and science. Across the province, 68 per cent of grades 3 and 6 students are achieving or exceeding the provincial standard (a 'B' grade or higher) in reading, writing and math - an increase of 14 percentage points since 2002-03.
3. Our graduation rate continues to increase.
The graduation rate increased to 79 per cent in 2008-09. This means 52,500 more students graduated than would have had the rate remained at the 2003-04 level. This is as a result of focused high school programs and more teachers to help secondary students succeed and prepare for their future. Student Success programs like the Specialist High Skills Major and co-operative education are giving students new and interesting ways to earn credits and explore future career options.
4. Primary students continue to benefit from smaller classes.
This school year, all primary classes (excluding full-day kindergarten classes) in Ontario have 23 students or fewer and more than 90 per cent have 20 or fewer students. This is the third straight year the government has reached its primary class size targets. Students in these smaller classes get more attention, do better and are more likely to succeed.
5. New and renovated schools are providing better learning environments for Ontario students.
As of 2010, 400 new schools have been built with 100 more underway or being planned, and 17,000 renovations and upgrades have been finished or are underway. Through the Green Schools Pilot Initiative, more than 150 schools across 40 school boards are now benefiting from clean, renewable technologies such as wind turbines and solar panels.
6. Parents are provided meaningful feedback on the progress of their children.
Elementary students received their first progress report card this fall. The new progress report card places a strong emphasis on the development of students' learning skills and work habits to better facilitate communication among parents, teachers and students.
7. Helping students make wise financial decisions.
We are making financial literacy a part of every student's learning from grades 4 to 12. Students will learn more about saving, spending, investing and managing money. These new learning opportunities will help Ontario's youth develop the critical money-management skills they need to succeed in today's complex financial world.
8. Funding for education increased.
Financial support for schools and boards is increasing by more than $694 million (3.6 per cent) over 2009-10. Since 2003, we have increased funding by almost $6 billion or 40 per cent. Per pupil funding has increased by almost 50 per cent during the same time. Additionally, in a report from the consulting firm McKinsey and Company, Ontario's education system emerged as a model and an example of wise educational investment.
9. Families and students in high-needs areas are benefitting from stronger support.
There are now 145 Parenting and Family Literacy Centres in high-needs neighbourhoods to help children get a great start to learning and build a stronger foundation for parent involvement with the school. In the communities that need it most, 175 priority schools now offer not-for-profit groups free access to school space after hours for affordable sport, art and recreation programs for children, youth and their families.
10. Students now have healthier places to learn.
Good food, daily physical activity and a healthy environment are all part of Ontario's overall healthy schools strategy to help our young learners reach their full potential. We continue to work with boards and schools to have the new nutritional standards in place for September 2011.