Toronto, October 24, 2019 – "We are encouraged that in his announcement today, Minister Lecce demonstrated flexibility on the class size issue. However, we remain concerned with the government's most recent proposal to set the average class size at 25 students. Such an increase would still cause a number of challenges for students. The smaller average increase in class size we saw in September (22 to approximately 22.5) led to significant challenges for students and school boards, and we expect that the situation will only get worse if it were to move to 25:1," said President of the Ontario Public School Boards' Association, Cathy Abraham.
As the funded average class size increases, a school's ability to continue to offer courses with smaller class sizes will be diminished. Schools will either have to cancel courses or, in order to retain them, combine courses together into larger classes, resulting in less suitable support for students.
"With fewer program options, students are forced to take courses they didn't choose, which reduces motivation and engagement. For example, a student interested in the skilled trades will have a very limited opportunity to explore various options within the technology subject areas. This is even more of an issue in rural, remote and northern school settings," said Abraham.
Minister Lecce has frequently spoken about ensuring our young people can develop the skills they need, to get good jobs in a modern economy. In order to achieve this goal, our school system must have the ability to provide the learning conditions and opportunities to enable students to pursue their interests and passions, which will ultimately result in strengthening a diversified workforce and produce contributing and engaged citizens.
We will continue to negotiate class size at the central table with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation and our priority is ensuring that we are providing an environment that fosters student success and well-being, while offering the courses that students want and need to take in order to get into the post-secondary programs, skilled trades, college or university of their choosing.
For more information, please contact:
Shane Gonsalves Managing Director, Government Relations and Public Affairs Ontario Public School Boards' Association firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ontario Public School Boards' Association represents public district school boards and public school authorities across Ontario, which together serve more than 1.3 million public elementary and secondary students. The Association advocates on behalf of the best interests and needs of the public school system in Ontario. OPSBA is seen as the credible voice of public education in Ontario and is routinely called on by the provincial government for input and advice on legislation and the impact of government policy directions.