TORONTO, ON – The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) welcomes the proposal put forward today by the Ontario Liberal Party to cap class size at 20 students as part of their election platform. As Ontario looks ahead to addressing learning gaps that were created or deepened by the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing class size is a necessary first step.
ETFO applauds the Liberals’ focus on lowering class sizes by implementing a cap size of 20 in grades 1 to 12, if elected. Smaller class sizes help improve student engagement, achievement, and well-being, and are especially critical as we move to a post-pandemic recovery.
We look forward to a similar commitment to reducing Kindergarten class sizes, as it is also an issue in this program. There are still many Kindergarten classes with over 30 students and an even greater number of Kindergarten/Grade 1 split-grade classes, which are not supported by a designated early childhood educator.
When lowering class sizes, additional staff are needed, and so a comprehensive recruitment and hiring strategy is needed. But a strategy alone won’t meet the demand.
Professionals need to feel valued and respected for what they bring to their roles each and every day. Unfortunately, over the past four years, educators and other education workers have been disregarded and disrespected by the Ford government. A government that values public education and its workers would go a long way in helping recruit sufficient staff to offer students the high-quality and equitable in-person instruction and support they deserve.
ETFO firmly believes that in-person learning is the best, most equitable way for students to learn. Remote learning does nothing but further exacerbate the inequities that exist across our province, as a result of poor decisions made by the Ford government. The Liberal Party’s commitment to in-person learning for all students is certainly welcome by ETFO members.