McGuinty Government's Vision For Excellence In Public Education
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Education Minister Gerard Kennedy announced today an additional $854 million in funding for public education in the next school year.
Ontario students will benefit from a base increase of $2.6 billion in additional funds over the course of the McGuinty government's mandate. Funding will be channelled from two sources: the Grants for Students' Needs ($2.3 billion, consisting of $2.1 billion announced in the Budget and improvements made mid-year in the current school year of $230 million) and an additional $250 million in School Support Funding for targeted programs.
The funding supports 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
- Should reach the highest level of achievement that his or her ability and willingness to work hard will permit.
Each of these outcomes is tied to specific, measurable results that the government is taking responsibility for achieving. New strategies are being developed that engage all parts of the education sector, other government ministries and segments of society at large.
The strategies 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 has made improvement in public education a 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 provincewide reading, writing and math tests -- up from the slightly over half that are reaching this marker today.
Highlights Of The Government's Action:
The government's plan will:
- 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
- Create an atmosphere of peace and stability within public education, and safety and security within our schools.
Details on the funding, including how much each local board will receive, will be provided by Minister Kennedy later today at Queen's Park.