Removing caps on class sizes “short sighted” says Vanthof

Timiskaming-Cochrane MPP John Vanthof says the Province’s decision to consider removing caps on class sizes in kindergarten and in grades 1 to 3 is “short sighted.”

Education Minister Lisa Thompson has announced she is launching consultations with education partners on class sizes and teacher-hiring practices.

Currently, the kindergarten class size cap is 29 students, and the average of class sizes across any board can’t be more than 26. For the primary grades the cap is 23 students, but at least 90 per cent of classes in any board must have 20 or fewer students.

Vanthof says “Smaller class sizes make big benefits for students. The Ford government is considering eliminating class size limits. This would be a very short sighted decision especially for younger children. Ensuring that kids get the best possible start in school will help them throughout their lives and will make Ontario a more productive and better place to live in the long term.”

A government consultation document poses questions such as whether hard caps on class sizes should continue, and if they were removed, what would be an appropriate way to set effective class sizes.

“The province’s current fiscal circumstances require an examination of whether changes to class size would allow school boards to deliver better value for government investment,” the document says, noting that educator staffing costs make up about 80 per cent of government funding to school boards.

Sam Hammond, the president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, said in a meeting with government officials Wednesday, the officials made it clear they need to work toward balancing the budget.

By Brad Sherratt

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