Ontario’s public education system used to be the model for other jurisdictions around the world. Now, our teachers, students and their parents are suffering because of purposeful and systematic underfunding of the system wrought by Doug Ford and his Conservative government.
Support Ontario Students, Parents & Education Workers
Ontario Liberals deserve a leader that understands the value of a high-quality, responsive and accessible education system – one where the success and well-being of every student and child is prioritized. Here are some opportunities Ontario’s education system:
Preserve and strengthen our public education system
- Keep profits out of our public education system, oppose charter schools and vouchers for private education.
- Respect collective bargaining processes, negotiate with unions in good faith, and listen to educators.
Address shortage of teachers and education workers in our schools
- Repeal punitive laws such as Bill 124 which undermine the public education system and drive educators away.
- Recruit more teachers and educators by introducing a one-year teaching degree and offering them better wages that are negotiated through free, fair, inclusive and equitable collective bargaining processes.
- Boost retention within the workforce by adopting dedicated wellbeing initiatives for educators that improve their mental health and reduce burnout.
- Expand French-language training programs to address the massive shortage of teachers across Ontario’s French-language education system.
- Pay close attention to the unique needs of teachers and education workers in northern, rural, and remote communities.
Deliver small class sizes and enhanced in-person learning
- Increase the number of trained Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) by offering them a living wage.
- Create more childcare spaces through improved partnerships so that more early childhood centres are willing to sign on to this initiative instead of leaving the funding on the table.
- Establish mandatory standards for ratios between students and teachers/educational workers (K-12) to ensure that every student gets the support and supervision required in the classroom, to be developed in collaboration with teachers, academic experts, and other stakeholders.
- Close the learning gap exacerbated by the pandemic through fully-funded after-school academic programs that provide homework help and supplementary teaching designed in consultation with educators.
- Establish a comprehensive special needs and mental health strategy that identifies and delivers the wraparound services needed at every school for students with disabilities. This includes:
- Recruiting additional and retaining current teachers and educational workers who specialized in helping children with learning disabilities; and
- Hiring new psychologists, social workers, and other education workers so that students with Individual Education Plan (IEP) can be appropriately supported.
- End mandatory online learning credits to keep students in the classroom where they can maximize their educational and social development.
- Curate a publicly-funded and high quality digital database of learning contents coupled with training products for teachers to implement according to best-practices.
Develop a modern curriculum that meets the needs of the labour market, advances holistic development, and sets our students up for success
- Put an end today to eleventh-hour curriculum changes that are quietly released on Friday afternoons, and instead prioritize consultation with students, parents, and educators.
- Eliminate EQAO testing and partner with parents, teachers and education experts to develop a reporting strategy that measures students’ success and identify potential areas of growth.
- Revise the provincial curriculum to ensure students are taught knowledge and skills relevant to modern society starting from an early age which includes
- strengthened STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education
- an enhanced foundation in arts, history, geography and humanities
- a particular focus on practical subjects such as personal finance, entrepreneurship, social media literacy, and democratic engagement.
- Provide opportunities for training in the skilled trades including union-led programs with a special focus on marginalized or under-represented demographics such as women or people from Indigenous backgrounds.
- Deliver a culturally sensitive curriculum that
- acknowledges the past and meets the needs of the present, that incorporates Indigenous knowledge and perspectives in the planning process and syllabus;
- adopts an equity-centred approach responsive to the challenges of students with disabilities, autism, special needs, or from racialized, marginalized and Indigenous backgrounds; and
- broadens the opportunities for students to learn in French by working collaboratively with school boards to recruit and retain French-speaking teachers.
- Reverse Ford’s cuts to per-student funding which have amounted to inflation-adjusted reductions of nearly $1200 per student, and instead deliver targeted boosts to programs like Grants for Student Needs (GSN).
- End academic streaming and level the playing field by ensuring that all students have equitable access to appropriate academic support within the classroom.
Fix Ontario’s schools, and make our schools safe and welcoming
- Invest in school infrastructure to catch up on overdue maintenance and repairs that are estimated to cost over $16.8 billion, but which threatens the health and safety of students.
- Prioritize state-of-the-art upgrades in schools – that includes high-speed internet, HVAC systems, and air conditioning – to ensure that Ontario’s students have access to the tools and equipment necessary to excel.
- Increase the pathways between schools and school boards to allow better cooperation and collaboration on shared interests.
- Promote safety by ensuring the presence of additional caring adults (child and youth counsellors, school-based safety monitors, mental health workers, guidance counsellors, and other support. staff) to strengthen connections with students, maintain positive relationships, address concerns and promote mutual respect.
I continue to travel the province and want to hear from you. Do you have an idea? Email us.