On Friday, the Ontario Education Minister Lisa Thompson announced proposed changes to the Province’s education system, which includes new class sizes, sex-ed curriculum, and cellphone use among students.
Thompson says, “From Kindergarten to grade 3, we propose no changes to class sizes. In grades 4 to 8, an average increase of just one more student in each classroom, our older and more mature students in high school would see the most change, with class sizes increasing to 28.”
An additional six students, from the current 22. Ontario’s Education Minister also assured reporters that no jobs will be lost as a result. “It will happen gradually over four years, and not one teacher will lose their jobs over class size strategy.”
But the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario disagrees. In a statement they write; “This will result in a reduction of approximately 4,500 teaching positions each year for the next four years according to Ministry of Education staff.”
And the increase in class size, is in violation of Collective Bargaining rights
Opposition Education Critic, Marit Stiles agrees, “Right now what we hear constantly from parents is that their children are not getting the 1 on 1 attention they need in the classroom.”
For the past nine months, the Ford Government says they’ve held consultations with educators and parents focusing on a wide-range of topics including sex-ed curriculum
Over the next four years, the PC’s will also usher in a new math strategy, which they say will get ‘back to the basics’, teaching things like arithmetic and financial literacy.
Also under the new plan, cellphones will be banned in the classroom.
“We can totally see why they want to take the phones away from students in the classroom but what we wonder is if there’s a missed opportunity.” says Dave Anderson and Blake Fleischasker, co-founders My Life Online.
My Life Online, aims to educate students on the importance of safe and smart social media practices. Something, they say, could actually benefit them in their careers and lives in the long-run.
“This is not going away; this technology, social media cellphone thing, so we want to make a positive dent in the online ecosystem for kids today to grow up in.” says Fleischasker.
The PC’s say they heard from more than 72-thousand parents, teachers, students and employers over last nine months of consultations, which they say included an open submission form, an online survey and telephone town hall meetings in every region of the province.