Plan For Change Invests In Success For Students
$854 Million Increase Next Year Part Of Additional $2.6 Billion For Public Education
KITCHENER-WATERLOO -- The McGuinty government is investing an additional $854 million in funding for public education next school year as part of its plan to ensure success for students.
"We are working to make dramatic improvement in public education a centerpiece of our mandate because we know if we get public education right, we get the best citizens and the best workers," Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said during a visit to Westheights Public School.
The $854 million increase for 2004-05 announced today is part of a $2.6 billion additional investment in public education over the government's mandate. That includes the $2.1 billion over four years mentioned in the Budget, money added this year, and money being invested outside of the grants to school boards.
"We are taking responsibility for results. We want stability in our schools and we want all students to achieve a high level of literacy and numeracy before they reach age 12," said Education Minister Gerard Kennedy.
This announcement will bring new investments to the levels recommended in the Rozanski Report by the 2005-06 school year.
The plan includes:
- A cap of 20 children per class, from JK through to Grade 3, phased in over four years
- Additional help for students who need it the most, including struggling students, English-as-a-second-language students and students with special needs
- Change from a "one-size-fits-all" approach to one that better reflects rural, urban, suburban, northern and francophone factors
"I truly believe that what is at stake, over the next four years, is the future of public education," Premier McGuinty said. "Now is the time to invest, not just with dollars, but also with a commitment to students in publicly funded schools."
He met with Grade 6 students here on the same day that Minister Kennedy was at Queen's Park, announcing the details of school board grants for the coming year.
The Premier has said it's time to stop the slide in public education that has been marked by disturbing trends:
- The number of children attending private schools has increased by 40 per cent over the last eight years
- Crumbling schools and lost services
- Fifty per cent of the students who begin Grade 9 either do not graduate from Grade 12 or stop their education after Grade 12 -- despite estimates that 60 per cent of new jobs will go to people who study beyond high school
- Stalled student performance.
"Our commitment is to develop the intellectual, emotional and physical potential of all our students," Premier McGuinty said. "Our program will ensure our students are among the best educated anywhere in the world."