Mathematics was on Premier Dalton McGuinty’s mind this first day back at school – specifically the ratio of teachers to students – as he announced an online tool that allows parents to help track their children’s class sizes.
McGuinty contends Ontario students, especially those in early grades, are returning to facilities with more teachers and smaller class sizes. The target is 20 students or less per class.
“Reducing class sizes in kindergarten through Grade 3 is a big part of our plan to help students succeed in reading, writing, and math,” the Premier said in a statement. “We know that kids in smaller classes in the early years get more individual attention and are more likely to reach their full potential.”
The provincial government wants to see a class ‘cap’ of 20 students or less in 90 per cent of kindergarten to Grade 3 classes by the next school year.
The remaining 10 per cent will be allowed to have up to 23 students in order to account for enrolment changes and reduce the need for split grades.
The government claims that since the fall of 2003 it has given school boards enough funding to hire 5,200 elementary school teachers – 3,600 to teach primary grades and 1,600 specialist teachers in subjects like music, physical education and the arts.
Parents wanting to check class sizes in each of the province’s 4,000 elementary schools can visit www.ontario.ca/classsizes.