McGuinty Government's Vision For Excellence In Public Education
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty today outlined the government's vision for unleashing the potential of every student in Ontario's publicly funded education system. Underlying this vision is the belief that every student:
- Can learn and should come to school ready to learn;
- Should be able to read, write, do math and comprehend at a high level by the age of 12 as the necessary foundation for later educational and social choices;
- Should have significant exposure to music and the arts;
- Should undergo regular physical activity, appreciate a healthy lifestyle and have access to a full range of extracurricular activities;
- Should be safe and feel safe at school and in the schoolyard;
- Should receive a positive outcome from publicly funded education, whether it is an apprenticeship, a job placement that teaches real skills, or admission to college or university; and
- Should reach the highest level of achievement that his or her ability and willingness to work hard will permit.
Each of these outcomes will be tied to specific, measurable results that the government is prepared to take responsibility for achieving. New kinds of strategies will be developed that engage all parts of the education sector, other government ministries and segments of society at large. The strategies will cover areas such as a new "best start" program, safe schools, healthy schools, arts in education, adult education and others.
The first steps in realizing excellence in public education require that every student should be able to read, write, do math and comprehend at a high level by the age of 12. The government is committed to making improvement in public education the centrepiece of its mandate, starting with improved student success in literacy and numeracy. Progress will be measured by ensuring that by 2008, 75 per cent of students reach the provincial standard of a 'B' or Level 3 on province-wide reading, writing and math tests - up from the slightly over half that are reaching this marker today.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE GOVERNMENT'S ACTION:
- Reduce class sizes from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 3;
- Amend the curriculum to put a clear focus on reading, writing and doing math at a high level of comprehension;
- Send "turnaround teams" of experts into struggling schools;
- Provide every elementary school, for the first time, with a lead teacher in literacy and numeracy, equipped to share best practices and techniques;
- Create a new Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat that will ensure schools, teachers and students are, in fact, getting the supports they need;
- Provide parents with additional resources to encourage and support reading at home; and
- Create an atmosphere of peace and stability within public education, and safety and security within our schools.
SPECIAL ADVISOR TO THE PREMIER AND EDUCATION MINISTER
Michael Fullan is Dean Emeritus of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. An international authority on positive change in education, Fullan is engaged in training, consulting and evaluating change projects around the world and is currently leading the evaluation team conducting a four-year assessment of England's National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy. Fullan is involved with colleagues in training, research and evaluation initiatives in several Ontario school districts and is a widely published author.
As the Special Advisor to the Premier and Education Minister, Fullan will:
- Advise the Premier and Minister of Education on managing large-scale change to help improve student achievement in literacy and numeracy;
- Advise school boards and schools on their plans to boost student literacy and numeracy; and
- Work with trustees, principals and teachers to encourage and maintain a lasting commitment to student literacy and numeracy.