Ontario’s public education system used to be the model for jurisdictions around the world. Liberal governments understood the importance of early education and invested in programs like full-day kindergarten to provide support for families and opportunity for Ontario’s youngest learners. The Liberals prioritized an education system that strived to enrich all students across the province. Now, teachers, students, and their parents are suffering because of the Doug Ford government’s purposeful and systematic underfunding of the system.
The repair backlog in Ontario schools has reached a whopping $16.8 billion. Ford has increased the average class size to cut money out of public schools. Ontario is now facing an unprecedented shortage of educators, forcing boards to recruit unqualified contractors. Students are no longer receiving the same high-quality education that previous Liberal governments worked hard to provide. Ontario deserves better.
“Doug Ford is bragging about running a provincial budget surplus for the next three years and we know that Ford would prefer to use his multi-billion dollar piggy bank to line the pockets of his cronies,” said Bonnie Crombie, Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate. “We have a better idea. Let’s use that surplus to make our province stronger.”
Crombie has been traveling across the province to hear from all kinds of Ontario Liberals and stakeholder groups about how to best tackle the issues in our education system. She has heard excellent ideas on how to do a better job of preserving, strengthening and investing in public education. Several key policy opportunities have emerged in these conversations:
Reducing the average class size, including creating a class size cap for grades 4 to 12 and lowering the existing class size cap for junior kindergarten to grade 3
Addressing the shortage of teachers and education workers in our schools by repealing punitive laws like Bill 124 and introducing a one-year teaching degree
Working with educators to develop a revamped curriculum that meets the needs of the labour market by ensuring that our students – from an early age – learn more about entrepreneurship as well as careers in skilled trades, healthcare, science and technology, and other sectors that are in high demand
Doubling – at minimum – the annual investment in addressing the repair backlog to fix Ontario’s schools
Delivering enhanced in-person learning by creating a free, on-campus, after-school supplementary homework help program, guided by qualified teachers
Eliminating the online learning graduation requirement for high school students introduced by the Ford government
Expanding skilled trades learning programs with a particular focus on enhancing participation of women, members of equity-deserving groups, and racialized communities and support union-led skilled trades training initiatives
“Ontario’s future growth and prosperity depends on a well-prepared and educated workforce. That starts with investing in our young people, supporting our educators, and strengthening our public education system,” said Crombie. “I am listening to Liberals from across Ontario on their ideas for how to improve our education system. Because that is the only way that we are going to create the right policies and plans to rebuild our party and ultimately our province.”
For more information visit BonnieforLeader.ca and sign up to become a member by September 11.