Ontario's Minister of Education, Lisa Thompson, has outlined the province's strategy for the education system. The “Education That Works for You” plan includes a change to class sizes in secondary schools, a ban on cellphones in the classroom, a new math curriculum, as well as a revised sex-ed curriculum.

Thompson said, “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.

"We heard from more than 72,000 parents, teachers, students, employers and organizations making this the largest consultation of its kind in Ontario history,” says Thompson. “The people told us what wasn't working and what we need to protect."

The new vision includes:   

  • 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.

  • 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.

Thompson said 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.

EducationDeb Crossen