What’s the problem we’re trying to solve?
Every parent in Ontario knows that students have been through a lot over the past three years. In their short time in office prior to the pandemic, Doug Ford managed to slash thousands of teaching positions and hundreds of millions in funding from the education system.
Then COVID hit. Kitchens turned into home offices and living rooms turned into online learning classrooms. And even though things may feel as if they’re back to normal, parents and their kids still haven’t quite recovered.
Doug Ford doesn’t seem to think this is a problem. He has starved our education system of resources and support and he refused to pay an infrastructure and repair bill that now exceeds ten billion dollars.
This means many schools don’t meet modern standards for safety and accessibility. And it means students are struggling to access mental health support, while facing rising levels of violence and discrimination.
Our schools should be the envy of the world. But large class sizes, overworked teachers, and crumbling schools all add up to one thing: Our schools are more vulnerable than ever.
What are we proposing?
Ontario needs a world-class education system to keep our economy competitive. But to make that happen, bold and urgent action is needed. A Liberal government led by Adil Shamji as Premier will ensure safe and modern schools for every student in Ontario.
We will support students with mandatory standards for ratios between students and teachers, ensuring seamless and timely access to both special needs and mental health support, and an anti-bullying and anti-violence program.
We will focus on the teaching that counts by eliminating EQAO testing, adapting curriculum to focus on practical subjects, exposing high school students to the trades, and keeping students in the classrooms.
And we will support our schools by investing to eliminate the infrastructure backlog, ensure access to tools and equipment to support vocational training, and look to find savings to re-invest into the system by encouraging school boards to work together and share resources.
Why is this important?
Studies reveal that education funding delivers a 30% return on investment. Good education policy is good economic policy, and it’s critical to our future economic prosperity to ensure our young people receive a quality education that prepares them to succeed and help build a better Ontario.
But more than that, we owe it to the next generation to ensure their mental health is supported, that schools are a place of community and learning and growth, and that our teachers are valued and have the support they need to deliver the best possible education to our youth.
Safe and modern schools – for all of us.
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