Sir: The success of our students is our government’s central focus and principal concern for families across Ontario. With the start of the new school year already upon us, I would like to take the opportunity to clarify the record for the constituents of Chatham-Kent-Leamington.
Some may not like the way we are distributing finances and enhancing Ontario’s educational system but we have analyzed the facts, listened to parents, students and other experts in education.
Our government is strengthening and modernizing our education system to better help students reach their full potential and prepare them for their future careers with transferrable life skills.
To that end, we are making key investments in our students’ education. These investments include:
Lambton Kent DSB
- $282,010 more for the School Foundation Grant for principals, vice principals and office support staff.
- $345,069 more for the Special Education Grant for special education supports, equipment and supplies.
St. Clair Catholic DSB
- $ 159,342 more for the School Foundation Grant.
- $ 292,918 more for the Special Education Grant for special education supports, equipment and supplies.
- $ 81,746 more for the Language Grant for supporting students who need extra help learning English or French either as new Canadians or a first language.
- $ 27,498 more for the Continuing Education and Other Programs Grant to adult day school, summer school and continuing education and other programs for adult learners and students.
We are also providing students with an updated and modern curriculum using three main strategies. First, there is a new Careers Curriculum that features a more comprehensive focus on financial literacy.
We are also introducing a new four-year $200 million Math Strategy, designed to get back to basics and make sure that students and educators have the math skills and resources to succeed.
Further, we are doubling the mental health supports in class and enhancing the Health and Physical Education curriculum with an increased focus on mental health awareness, concussions, healthy body image, cyber security, and bullying.
Furthermore, our reforms to class sizes will amount to a provincial average of 22.5 kids in classrooms grade 9-12 this school year compared to 22 last year. Keep in mind, enrolment in some local high schools has drastically dropped which may mean classes in the larger schools may show an increase in class sizes.
However, it is important to remember our youngest students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 will see no increase in class size, and Grades 4 to 8 will see up to one additional student in the classroom this year.
For some context, at the beginning of every school year, late registrations can cause some classes to be too full. To be clear, this is something that happens every year. School boards and schools will be spending the next couple of weeks adjusting to these enrolment challenges.
It is especially important for parents and students to know that every high school in Ontario is equipped to support students in meeting their graduation requirements.
This means every student will be able to graduate with confidence that our skills-focused education system will lead them to a successful and meaningful career.
I look forward to continuing to provide parents and students with the facts and to stand on their side as we work to ensure that students live up to their full potential, have the best education available, and the brightest future.
Rick Nicholls, MPP