2,000 More Teachers Helping To Reduce Class Sizes And Improve Education
New Online Tool Helps Parents Track Shrinking Class Sizes
Ontario students in the early grades are heading back to schools with more teachers and smaller class sizes this year, announced Premier Dalton McGuinty.
"Reducing class sizes in kindergarten through Grade 3 is a big part of our plan to help our students succeed in reading, writing and math," said Premier McGuinty. "We know that kids in smaller classes in the early years get more individual attention and are more likely to reach their full potential."
Since October 2003, the McGuinty government has provided school boards with funding to add 5,200 elementary teachers:
- 3,600 teachers to create smaller primary classes so our youngest students get more individual attention, including 1,200 this year
- 1,600 elementary specialist teachers in areas such as music, phys-ed and the arts, including 980 this year.
The Premier and Minister of Education Sandra Pupatello visited a Grade 1 class at Thornhill Woods Public School that has met the target of having 20 students or less.
"We're committed to reaching every student in Ontario with our strategy for improved student achievement," said Pupatello. "That's why we're stepping up to the plate to reduce class sizes, with the result that almost half of our youngest students are already in classes of 20 or less."
The government is on track to implement a "real cap" of 20 or fewer students in 90 per cent of kindergarten to Grade 3 classes by the 2007-08 school year. The remaining 10 per cent of classes can have a maximum of 23 students to accommodate enrolment changes and reduce the need for combined grades.
Parents can check class sizes in more than 30,000 kindergarten to Grade 3 classrooms in each of the province's 4,000 elementary schools by going to www.ontario.ca/classsizes.
Reducing class sizes is just one of the ways the McGuinty government is working on the side of Ontario families who want the best public education for their children. Other initiatives include:
- Providing funding for one million new textbooks and library resources
- Providing additional support to students through the Tutors in the Classroom program -- 1,775 tutors providing direct support to students in 54 school boards
- Investing $1 billion in major repairs, expansions, replacements and renovations, representing more than 3,000 projects completed or underway -- funding to support another $500 million worth of major repairs has been invested for the 2006-07 school year.
"We still have work to do but we're making progress -- test scores are up and adding these new teachers will help to further improve student achievement," said Premier McGuinty. "We're making progress because we are working together -- we'll continue engaging parents and our partners in education to make sure our investments deliver results for students, right across the province."
Students, parents and teachers can visit the Premier's website at www.ontario.ca/premier to find out more about improvements in education and to watch a back-to-school message from the Premier.