THUNDER BAY – Ontario Liberal leadership candidate Kathleen Wynne has released her campaign’s plan for primary and secondary education in Ontario. The Way We Learn, was released by the former Education Minister in a Toronto event. “We need to keep building on our success in Ontario’s education system. The Way We Learn will increase student success and build on Ontario’s competitive advantage as a highly skilled, highly educated, highly paid workforce,” said Wynne.
“I got into politics to fight Mike Harris and defend my kids’ public school,” continued Wynne. “Together, we’ve reduced class sizes, increased graduation rates, increased test scores and we’re implementing full-day kindergarten,” said Wynne. “Working with our education partners, Ontario’s schools are now ranked among the best in the world.”
The Way We Learn highlights:
- Raise Student Achievement and Well-Being – Ensure our students are well prepared by raising student achievement, expanding models of learning, improving parent and community engagement, and better integration of services for students with special needs.
- Curriculum Improvements – Seek advice from the Curriculum Council for ideas about a number of curriculum changes, including foreign languages, increased Canadian and Aboriginal content, and increased phys. ed. in high school.
- Better Preparation for the Labour Market –
- Work with educators, colleges, business and industry to expand student work placements, internships and co-op programs so more students gain valuable work experience.
- Promote better use of credits by increasing their transferability between institutions and expanding our dual credit system.
- Require students to gain team work experience, better preparing them for the workplace.
- Efficient School Systems – Increase co-operation among school boards for shared facilities and administration; have municipalities and school boards manage public space together.
- Safe and Inclusive Schools – Keep our schools safe and inclusive by strengthening teacher training to include rural, urban, and suburban issues; broad-based equity considerations; and enhanced Additional Qualifications that address youth gangs and violence.
- Expand Ontario’s Role in Aboriginal Education – Work with our First Nations partners and the federal government to improve outcomes for First Nation students in Ontario by making greater use of Ontario’s expertise in education.
- Establish the Premier’s Youth Advisory Council – Create a permanent advisory council with representatives drawn from student organizations, college and university bodies, Aboriginal Youth Organizations, and groups that represent youth entering the workforce.
Wynne also committed to improving relations with teachers by implementing a sustainable model for wage negotiations – a structured dialogue with our partners in the broader public sector to create innovative models for engagement and negotiation.
“Continued improvements in our education system are only possible if we repair the relationship with our teachers and support staff. Just as I did as Education Minister, I will sit down with our education partners to strengthen the bargaining process at both the provincial and, importantly, the local levels,” said Wynne. “I am committed to an open, fair, and sustainable process. One of the most important things to me is that we listen to each other as partners. We cannot afford regular cycles of labour instability that disrupt our valued public services.”
“I am firmly committed to our fiscal plan of eliminating the deficit by 2017-18,” concluded Wynne. “These commitments will fit in the current fiscal framework so we can get the province where it needs to be: deficit free, paying down debt, and ensuring Ontario is a prime environment for investment of all kinds.”