What do the education changes announced on March 15th mean?
Click here to see our latest education update with infographics
Class size changes vary by grade:
- For Kindergarten to grade 3 class sizes stay the same.
- For grades 4-8 average class sizes go up by about 1 student to 24.5 students.
- In high schools, class sized rise 27% from an average of 22 student to an average of 28.
Average class sizes mean that some classes that have to be smaller, due to special needs or hands-on programs require others to be higher. An average of 28 will mean as many as 40 students in one class in some cases.
All class size changes take effect this September.
Teachers have indicated that this will require massive staffing cuts, with the province indicating that there will be 3,475 fewer teachers and the Toronto District School Board saying there will be as many as 1,000 fewer teachers in Toronto public schools alone. (1)
There are ongoing consultations on the class size issue, to participate just click here.
The province is cutting over $300 million on a variety of funding streams to schools including:
- The Local Priorities Fund which provides $235.4 million in targets programs such as special needs programming and programs for at-risk youth
- There will be $73.6 million cut in funding that cover staffing costs including the Cost Adjustment Allocation and the Human Resource Transition Supplement. (2)
- “Classroom Loading Factor” cuts will come shortly but the amount is unclear.
There will be broadband service in all schools and all high school students will be required to take one credit per year online through a new, centralized e-learning program. That may result in another 12% cut in classroom teachers.
Using cell phones during class time is banned unless they are being used for educational purposes, or for health or medical reasons, or as supports for students with special needs. The ban is mandatory for all boards and all classrooms.
The province introduced several adjustments to the curriculum including:
- A “Back to basics” Math curriculum will be phased in over 4 years, with a financial literacy component
- There will be more emphasis in science, technology and engineering
- There will be a new indigenous curriculum developed jointly with indigenous partners
- There will be increasing exposure to skilled trades and apprenticeships
- The Health/Sex Ed curriculum will restores some of the topics previously cut, but in later grades
Transportation funding will rise to match costs but will be reviewed for efficiencies.
The government will be investing $1.4 billion in school repairs in the 2019-20 school year.
There will be 30,000 new childcare spaces in schools.
Other significant changes have happened in education.
Program cuts: The government also cancelled $25 million in “EPO” grants for educational programs include mental health, Indigenous education initiatives and anti-poverty programs. (4)
Full Day Kindergarten: The province has promised full day kindergarten for next year, but after that only that there will be “full day learning” for 4 and 5 year-olds. What that looks like is still up in the air, and will be determined in part by ongoing consultations. (5)
Childcare rules are changing: TheProvince is revising the limits on the number of children a single childcare worker can supervise, increasing the allowable limit by 50% (6)
If your community is concerned about the changes in education, please let us know so we can support you in helping them to address that. Click here if your community wants to be informed or engaged on education issues.
Consultations with parents, staff and school boards will continue until May 31st as these plans are refined.
Click here if your community wants to be informed or engaged on these issues.
- (1) https://www.thestar.com/yourtoronto/education/2019/03/17/ontarios-plan-to-raise-class-sizes-will-lead-to-loss-of-800-public-high-school-teaching-jobs-in-toronto-tdsb-document-shows.html
- (2) http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/funding/1819/TechnicalPaper2018-19.pdf
- (3) https://news.ontario.ca/edu/en/2019/03/education-that-works-for-you-2.html
- (4) https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/specialized-school-programs-doug-ford-cut-catholic-teachers-oecta-1.4949439
- (5) https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ford-government-says-full-day-learning-will-stay-amid-concerns-about-kindergarten-cuts-1.5002881