Toronto, ON, March 15, 2019 - All students in Ontario
deserve a strong publicly funded education system and school boards have a legislative responsibility for
student achievement and well-being.
announcements covered a number of areas, the most concerning of which is the
dramatic proposed increase to secondary class size. OPSBA is at the same
time pleased that some aspects in today’s announcement reflect feedback
proposed in our consultation
submission, and leaves the door open for additional discussion.
increase of the average class size in secondary from 22 to 28 students is
dramatic and of significant concern. It’s too early to know the board-by-board
impact but operationally, it clearly will be a challenge and teachers will be
displaced. The government’s decision to maintain class sizes in JK to
grade 3 is appreciated, however, the flexibility offered by class averages
versus capped class sizes is our preferred option.
the proposed changes to Regulation 274 to improve hiring practices. The
proposed changes would give school boards the flexibility, as the employer, to
hire staff in a fair and equitable way that reflects the diverse needs of a
school community. It will also improve a teacher’s ability to seek
positions at different boards and teacher continuity in the
classroom. “As an education sector partner, we have been advocating
for changes for a long time,” said OPSBA President Cathy Abraham. “School
boards must be responsive at the local level in order to ensure a high quality
of teaching and learning in the classroom based on the best interests of all
strongly supported the release of the new Health and Physical Education
curriculum in 2015, which reflected health, safety and well-being realities
faced by today's students. The updates, at the time, included healthy
relationships, consent, mental health, online safety and the risks of
"sexting”. The announcement today maintains the 2015 curriculum updates
for the most part, which reflect the principles of equity, social justice and
inclusion and recognize Ontario's growing and diverse population. The delay in
introducing certain topics such as gender identity could impact the self-esteem
and well-being of students. In Health and Physical Education, as in all aspects
of education, OPSBA highly values parents as partners in education and
encourages parents to be actively involved.
forward to seeing the new 9-12 curriculum on Indigenous education. The OPSBA
Indigenous Trustees’ Council will no doubt provide highly valuable input and
perspective to this revised curriculum.
the government’s commitment to preparing students for future jobs/careers in an
increasingly competitive global economy and equipping them with the skills they
need to succeed, including a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and
Math. OPSBA continues to recommend that the Arts be recognized and valued as
part of a well-rounded curriculum for all students.
trades has been a focus in our secondary schools for a number of years through
OYAP, Specialist High Skills Majors and Dual Credit programs. The government’s
proposal to increase student and parent exposure to the range of opportunities
offered through the skilled trades, as well as co-op placement, and partnerships
reflects many of the recommendations offered in our consultation
achievement in mathematics is complex and requires a multi-pronged
Education Program Work Team looks forward to continuing to provide input on the
revised mathematics curriculum over the next four years. We also look forward
to continued engagement and understanding of the details on a modernization of
EQAO which seems to be responsive to considerations put forth in our 2016
discussion paper on EQAO.
As education partners, we share a deep sense of pride in our public
education system which is world-renowned. OPSBA recognizes the provincial fiscal reality and
the government’s commitment to addressing it. We will continue to seek every
opportunity to consult with the government on the potential impacts of
any changes to public education
and to help find solutions that maximize the opportunities for each and every
student in our care.