- Ontario government announced an investment of over $180 million to boost students’ math, reading, and writing skills.
- The funding will bring in over 1,000 additional educators to support math competency and improve student literacy in public schools.
- The investment aims to address the decline in math and literacy skills, which has been worsened by the pandemic.
The Ontario Education Ministry has announced an investment of over $180 million to boost students’ math, reading, and writing skills. The funding will bring in over 1,000 additional educators to support math competency and improve student literacy in public schools. The province has been focusing on low test scores in math for years, with the pandemic leading to disruptions in learning and the worsening of EQAO test scores. The funding will be divided between a new math plan and an overhaul of the language curriculum. However, some critics have expressed concerns about the lack of details provided in the announcement.
Decline in Math and Literacy Skills
Education Minister Stephen Lecce has announced a plan to invest over $180 million in classroom and at-home support for math, reading, and writing skills in Ontario. Lecce said that the decline in reading, writing, and literacy skills prompted this comprehensive plan. He also stated that the province cannot sit idle and must lift the skills, standards, and ambitions of kids.
Focus on Math Test Scores
The Ontario government has been focusing on low test scores in math for years, with the pandemic exacerbating the problem. The disruptions in learning due to lockdowns and shifts between virtual and in-person learning have led to the worsening of EQAO test scores and other skills.
Funds Allocated for Language Skills
More than $71 million of the funding will go toward a new plan that builds on the 2020 math curriculum. The new plan mandates financial literacy and coding in every grade and aims to double the number of school coaches, introduce one math lead per board, expand digital math tools for students and parents, expand financial literacy learning, and enhance math fluency and competency through teacher training.
Meanwhile, $109 million will be allocated to boosting literacy rates starting this school year. This includes hiring additional specialist teachers, screening senior kindergarten to Grade 2 students twice a year, overhauling the language curriculum starting in September, and ensuring that young students master basic literacy.
Lack of Details in the Announcement
Critics have expressed concerns about the lack of details provided in the announcement. Laura Walton, president of CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions, called the announcement “anemic” and questioned whether it was meant to distract from the Grants for Student Needs announcement. Walton urged Education Minister Lecce to speak with education workers, teachers, parents, guardians, families, and students to learn what they need. She also called on school boards to express their concerns to the government if they are unhappy with the funding allocation.
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Focus on Lowest Performing Schools
While all school boards will benefit from the new funds, the Ontario Education Ministry said that the majority of the funding would be allocated to the lowest 20% of schools that have historically underperformed in math and literacy EQAO testing.
Call for Education Minister to Speak to Education Workers
Laura Walton has called for Education Minister Lecce to speak with people who are currently working in the publicly funded education system to learn what they need. She identified education workers, teachers, parents, guardians, families, and students as the key stakeholders who should be consulted in the decision-making process.
Call for School Boards to Express Concerns
In addition to speaking with stakeholders, Walton called on school boards to express their concerns to the government if they feel that the funding allocation is not sufficient or if they have other concerns about the implementation of the plan. She emphasized the importance of collaboration between the government and school boards to ensure that the funds are used effectively to support student learning and achievement.
In conclusion, the Ontario government’s investment of over $180 million to boost math, reading, and writing skills is a significant step toward improving educational outcomes. While the plan addresses the decline in math and literacy skills and supports underperforming schools, some critics have expressed concerns about the lack of details. The call for Education Minister Lecce to speak with educators is valid. The government must continue to work with educators and education workers to ensure that the funding is being used effectively to support student success.