This morning, Ontario Education Minister Lisa Thompson made an announcement on behalf of the PC government revealing that the average Ontario class size in high schools will be officially increasing from 22 students per teacher to 28 students per teacher.
According to Minister Thompson, although existing caps on class sizes from Kindergarten to Grade 3 will not be affected by the change, Grades 4 to 8 will also see a new average class size of 24.5 students per teacher.
"We know not everyone will agree with every single part of our plan but Premier Ford and our PC government have a mandate to govern and a mandate to lead," Thompson reportedly said in her announcement.
Today, I’m proud to share our Government’s vision for the future of education in Ontario. #EducationThatWorksForYou will modernize learning, modernize classrooms and improve hiring practices for teachers. #OntEd #Onpoli pic.twitter.com/oqhDxNIW5t— Lisa Thompson (@LisaThompsonMPP) March 15, 2019
She explained in a press release that, "Our older and more mature students in high school will see the most change with class sizes increasing to 28. These changes are evidence-based and it is important to know that Ontario has an extremely low teacher to pupil ratio in its system."
"We know not everyone will agree with every single part of our plan but Premier Ford and our PC government have a mandate to govern and a mandate to lead," Thompson says.— CP24 (@CP24) March 15, 2019
At first, Thompson refused to directly to respond to inquiries about how the change would impact teaching jobs. She told reporters, "It is too early to tell at this point but certainly we will be working with school boards."
She then addressed the concern of whether or not teaching jobs would be eliminated by explaining that the changes to class sizes would occur "gradually" over the next four years. "Not one teacher will lose their jobs because of our class size strategy," she promised.
"Our older and more mature students in high school will see the most change with class sizes increasing to 28. These changes are evidence based and it is important to know that Ontario has a extremely low teacher to pupil ratio in its system," Thompson says.— CP24 (@CP24) March 15, 2019
Ontarians have already taken to Twitter to directly respond to the announcement, and many of them don't seem too pleased about the upcoming educational changes:
I swear to goodness each decision day after day seems to be a new challenge to young people in Ont. How can increasing class size improve a child’s education? How? https://t.co/0NJCcAvFYp— Irwin Elman (@OntarioAdvocate) March 15, 2019
Education Minister Lisa Thompson, yes, you do have a mandate to govern, but if you keep treating the the non-business class of Ontario like crap, that mandate will end in 2022, or sooner if you don't realize there are limitations to that mandate.— Oooh, Canada ! (@CanadaOooh) March 15, 2019
Can’t have an Ontario Comservative government without an attack on public education. Schools here never really recovered from the Harris government. @fordnation is even worse.— Jay Baltz (@jaybaltz) March 15, 2019
Increasing the average class size from 22 to 28 in Ontario secondary schools is not in any way modernizing our classrooms. Ontario students are going to get less attention from teachers as their classrooms become larger. Another Doug Ford lie about no cuts. #onpoli— michaelbudd (@hot_sushi) March 15, 2019
Sad day for Ontario and the Education of our children.— Red Clappy J Garrett My Hero (@TheBigNicker87) March 15, 2019
That’s an *average* class size of 6 more students. How much less one-on-one time will each Ontario HS student have with an educator as a result of this decision? @osstf #canlab #cdned #onted https://t.co/sOSdGnb7vb— Erika Shaker (@ErikaShaker) March 15, 2019
@maritstiles could you please explain publicly and clearly that the “average class size” numbers for high school are misleading? A number of 22 leads to many classes of more than 30.— Actually Jeff Jones (@JeffreyPJones1) March 15, 2019
Teachers having a 27% workload increase is not good for Ontario!