Ontario announces funding to improve students’ math, writing

The Ontario government is investing more than $180 million to help students across the province improve their reading, writing, and math skills.

“We know that for your children to strive to reach their full potential, we must ensure they master their foundational skills every day,” Education Minister Stephen Lecce said during a news conference alongside Parliamentary Assistant Patrice Barnes Sunday morning.

“Parents tell us they want their children’s school to focus on the fundamentals, improving reading, writing, and math. So today, we’re outlining our strategy to boost math and literacy skills in Ontario by going back to the basics.”

Lecce went on to say that in Ontario and everywhere in the industrialized world, “too many children are falling behind.”

In Ontario, Lecce said the Education Quality and Accountability Office’s (EQAO) data shows there are schools that have consistently underperformed in fundamental skills.

“And so today, we are challenging the status quo, raising the bar, all of us from educators to school boards to governments to community, working harder and smarter, leading to better outcomes for your children,” he said of the plan to “ boost literacy and math skills designed to deliver better schools, better jobs and outcomes for your children.”

Notably, the investment will bring in 1,000 more educators: 300 educators to support math and 700 to help with literacy development.

When it comes to math specifically, Lecce said the province would be investing more than $71 million in the 2023-2024 school year for this new plan, which supports Ontario’s mandated financial literacy and coding in all grades.

The minister said they intend to double the number of school math teacher coaches in classrooms who “direct hands on support to both teachers and to students in classrooms who are falling behind.”

Lecce also said that the government would be funding a dedicated math lead who is “exclusively focused on improving math competence, and the training of our teachers with new strategies to lift math skills in the classroom” in every board.

“They will spearhead math curriculum implementation that will standardize the training and provide additional support for math coaches in schools and in classrooms,” he said, adding this new plan would also include the expansion of financial literacy and more hands-on practical learning, including personal budgeting, how to save, how to pay taxes, obtain a mortgage, and live within one means, as well as more digital math tools.

Further, Lecce said the province also intends to fund training, math qualification courses, and professional development for teachers.

Lastly, he spoke about the creation of new “math action teams” where highly-trained educators will be seconded in the Ministry of Education and deployed to boards “where we need to raise standards to improve the training and the outcomes of our kids.”

The goal of this initiative, he said, is to “identify and recommend targeted high impact teaching practices to improve math achievement right.”

As for literacy, Lecce said their new $109 million investment would include a complete overhaul of Ontario’s language curriculum by September as well as literacy screening for all students in their second year of kindergarten, and grades 1 and 2.

“This is critical to establishing some measurement tool so that we can intervene with additional support in the schools and classrooms to those kids who will need it most,” he said, adding close to 700 “additional frontline reading specialists” would be deployed to help children “get back on track.”

Lecce also said that the province’s free tutoring program is being extended to the end of the school year.

“It is an all hands on deck approach to boost financial literacy and math skills in the classroom,” he said, of the plan, which he said “sends a clear signal to the entire province that we have to do better to boost the skills that actually matters to the success of your child.”

“This represents the largest investment in math and literacy in the country. It is by far the most comprehensive literacy promotion strategy in the nation. And we’re doing this because we recognize the challenge ahead,” added Lecce.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *