On January 23, representatives from ETFO attended two meetings called by the government as part of an education sector "consultation on the GSNs (Grants for Student Needs) and savings opportunities."
Government representatives claimed that Ontario currently has one of the lowest student to teacher ratios for class size. They questioned the correlation between smaller class sizes and student achievement. They indicated the government wants to analyze different options around class size. Two examples raised were examining the value of class size caps as opposed to class size averages and whether lowering the class average in Kindergarten, but having only one adult in the classroom, would be more "efficient". Unions were advised that the Ministry has heard some school board representatives claim implementing hard caps on class sizes and maintaining Kindergarten classrooms that include both a teacher and a Designated Early Childhood Educator are expensive and difficult to manage.
Ontario’s experience with class size caps of 20 students for Grades 1 to 3 has demonstrated that teachers have more time to spend with each student and provide for more meaningful learning environments. The latest research strongly supports the notion that class size is an important determinant of student outcomes. Currently, primary grades are funded for an average class size of 20 and secondary grades for a class size average of 22. By comparison, funding for grades 4 to 8 supports a class size average of 24.5. These grades have the largest class sizes in the system, often more than 30 students in a class.
It's time to stand together in telling our local MPP's that small classes are essential to providing a world-class education to our local students!