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Ted McMeekin
M.P.P. - Ancaster-Dundas
Flamborough-Westdale


tmcmeekin.mpp@liberal.ola.org
4th Floor, suite 4320
Whitney Block
99 Wellesley Street
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 1W3
416-327-2333
Fax 416-327-3790



Constituency Office
P.O. Box 1240,
Waterdown, ON, L0R 2H0
905-690-6552
Toll-Free: 888-566-6614
Fax: 905-690-6562


  Home / Weblog / Focus on Education  

Focus on Education

 

This week our youngest daughter, a graduate of WaterdownDistrictHigh School, headed off for her first year of post-secondary studies.

 

Reflecting on the moment it occurred to me that we have something very important in common - we all want what’s best for our children.

 

Doing well in life requires both a capacity to think as well as the acquisition of specific knowledge and skills necessary for success. Simply put – a great education system is Ontario’s single most important investment portfolio.

 

Your provincial government has recognised this reality by investing an additional $2 billion in support of education. This means more teachers, more resources including library books and computers and cleaner, better and safer schools. In fact with the provincial focus now clearly on student success we are seeing a remarkable turnaround.

 

The province has provided funding to hire 2,375 additional primary school teachers; 1600 new high school teachers and 4800 more Educational Assistants.  

 

Today, 48% of our primary classes have 20 or fewer students. These smaller classes coupled with the work of the new Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat are having a dramatic impact on student achievement.

 

Province wide reading, writing and math test scores have dramatically improved two years in a row.

 

One of our biggest challenges is to ensure that more high school students graduate. The reason for action is clear, high school dropouts earn roughly $6500 less per year than graduates – that’s a quarter of a million dollar pay cut over a lifetime. Leaving school also doubles their chance of being unemployed and makes them five times more likely to require income assistance. This is simply not acceptable.

At the high school level, the province’s new ‘Student Success Strategy’ is attempting to reach more students through an increased emphasis on Co-Operative Education as well the new ‘Specialist High-Skill Major’ initiative which encourages students to focus on a career path more closely matching their skills and interests. And 159 special ‘Lighthouse Pilot Projects’ are assisting students who require extra support, guidance or a different learning environment to succeed. Today, more students than ever are benefiting from the knowledge and skills they have gained through real-life work experiences.

 

While program initiatives are important, the province’s new emphasis on collaboration is critical to overall success. Today, parent groups, educators and students are being encouraged as never before to work with the provincial government in the planning, implementation and evaluation of changes to our public education system.

 

It seems to be working as test scores are up, dropout rates are tracking down and more students with special needs are getting the extra assistance they require. There is even a sense that peace and stability has returned to our previously beleaguered educational system – a nice switch from the chaos and turmoil of the recent past.

 

By working together our education system is getting better and that has got to be good news for all of us.

 

 

                                  -30-