Ontario PCs Focus on Preparing Students for the Future

January 24, 2013

CORNWALL – The Ontario PC Caucus released today a White Paper on education entitled Paths to Prosperity: Preparing Students for the Challenges of the Twenty-First Century. It contains proposals to improve student achievement in mathematics and sciences, as well as ensuring Ontario students learn key skills and attitudes for modern life, such as financial literacy. Decision-making powers are to be returned to principals and teachers who work closely with their students on a daily basis and are best qualified to determine teaching methods and class protocols.

Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell welcomed the release of the White Paper: “The Liberals believe that more spending is the solution to any problem. Today, the Province spends $8.5 billion more on education than it did in 2003, while student numbers have declined by 255,000 and achievement has stagnated. The high-paying jobs of the future require mathematical, scientific and engineering knowledge, and we should focus on these key areas to give our children the best chance at succeeding in the very competitive worldwide marketplace and achieve their goals”.

The debt crisis created by the McGuinty Government requires difficult decisions to better target scarce resources to priorities like special needs children, skilled trades programs and struggling schools. As recommended in the Drummond report, the White Paper proposes the phasing out of 12% of the non-teaching positions, an incremental increase in class sizes and delaying the implementation of full day kindergarten until the budget is balanced. MPP McDonell stated: “The current student testing has identified a number of schools in the Province that have been performing poorly over the past number of years. Our plan will redirect needed financial resources to address their needs with programs that will allow these children to succeed in this fast paced world of ours”.

MPP Jim McDonell commented on the White Paper’s proposals in the sphere of labour: “The Liberal government has created labour turmoil that is negatively impacting our children’s education. We believe that our schools must offer a full range of extracurricular activities and to accomplish this, we will give school boards and principals the flexibility to recognize and reward teachers for before-and-after school involvement, through such initiatives as less supervisory time and relief from other duties. We believe that neither governments nor union bosses should be allowed to dictate what one does with their spare time, and therefore will prevent unions from punishing teachers who want to help children. When sufficient teaching staff is not available for clubs and sports, principals will be enabled to work with parent councils to find community volunteers to fill the void. Education is the key to our future and we must make the tough changes today to ensure our children’s success in their chosen fields, which will help return Ontario to its rightful spot as the economic engine of Canada.”

Read Paths to Prosperity: Preparing Students for the Challenges of the Twenty-First Century at http://www.ontariopc.com/paths-to-prosperity/students/