'Back-to-Basics' Math Curriculum, Renewed Focus on Skilled Trades and Cellphone Ban in the Classroom Coming Soon to Ontario
Minister of Education Lisa Thompson Unveils Government’s Vision for ‘Education that Works for You’
TORONTO - Students and parents in Ontario can look forward to the implementation of stronger math, STEM, and financial literacy curricula, improved skilled trades opportunities, and a provincewide ban on cellphones in the classroom as part of the Government of Ontario's sweeping new vision for 'Education that Works for You,' Lisa Thompson, Minister of Education, announced today.
"This is our plan to protect a sustainable world-class education system for the students of today and the future," said Thompson. "We will make sure our students are leaving school with the skills they need to build good lives, families and careers right here in Ontario, while ensuring the system is both fiscally sustainable and respectful of parents."
The government's plan, Education that Works for You,will modernize curriculum, modernize classrooms and empower educators to better prepare students for the realities of today's modern world.
"Shortly after we came to office we did what the previous government had been afraid to do - and threw the doors open to real, meaningful public and parental input into our education system," said Thompson. "We heard from more than 72,000 parents, teachers, students, employers and organizations making this the largest consultation of its kind in Ontario history. The people told us what wasn't working and what we need to protect."
The new vision will modernize Ontario's classrooms and provide students with more learning opportunities to prepare them for success in post-secondary education, apprenticeship and training, and the workforce. The plan would include:
- Modernizing classrooms by expanding broadband, developing a new policy that will ban the use of cellphones during class except for educational purposes and modernizing the approach to assessment and evaluation with a renewed focus on equity across the province.
- Introducing changes to education funding that keep resources focused on students in the classroom.
- Supporting teacher mobility, greater transparency, fairness, consistency and accountability to school board hiring practices of teachers.
- Maintaining class sizes for Kindergarten to Grade 3, establishing a consistent approach to class sizes for grades 4 to 8 and aligning secondary class sizes more closely with other Canadian jurisdictions, while introducing a new approach to e-learning and reducing pressure on school boards to put students in portables and split classes.
Undertaking curriculum reform that will include:
- A new math curriculum that will focus on math fundamentals for all grades;
- A renewed focus on STEM, skilled trades and financial literacy; and
- A modern and age-appropriate Health and Physical Education curriculum that will keep students safe.
There will be clear provisions for parents who wish to exempt their child or children from sexual health education, and online modules will be available for parents who want to discuss sexual health topics at home whenever they feel their child is ready.
The government is committed to discussing the key elements of the proposed plan, including hiring practices and class sizes, through a consultation process that allows partners to provide the benefit of their expertise, experience and ideas.
"We welcome conversation with any education stakeholder who is prepared to work with us in good faith to ensure our plan continues to serve the best interests of Ontario's students in a way that works for families and school boards and is fair to our educators." said Thompson.
"In January and February, we consulted with our partners and I look forward to continuing to work with them on this bold and transformative plan for Ontario's education system. Over the next few years, we will shift our focus towards helping our students build resiliency, as well as other relevant skills to create the best education system Ontario has ever seen," added Thompson.
Ontario's Government for the People held the largest public consultation on education in the province's history. The consultation included more than 72,000 engagements across three different consultation channels, which included an open submission form, online survey and telephone town halls held in every region of the province.
"We will continue to look for better ways to improve student learning. We will continue to adapt curriculum to address the needs of the modern world. And we will continue to take responsibility for every dollar spent," said Thompson. "Together we will build on a system that supports careers, promotes well-being and prepares every student for the future."