70% of public consultation participants were against larger class sizes

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Internal documents reveal that a majority of Ontarians who participated in the public consultation process on education were averse to the idea of larger classrooms.

Of the 7,036 public submissions received by the government, about 70 per cent said they did not want an increase in class sizes.

Those who participated in the public consultation said that the ideal class size across grades should be 20 students. The initial idea of increasing class size from 22 to 28 was unacceptable to many but most were okay when presented with a change from 22 to a class to 24.

Despite the feedback, the Ontario government announced in the spring of that year that they would be raising the average high school classroom size to 28 students.

After considerable backlash, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced in October 2019 said the provincial average would only increase to 25 students per teacher in high schools.

At the time, the Ontario Public School Boards Association said they were still concerned as the previous increase in class size average to 22.5 students “led to significant challenges.”

On the issue of mandatory online learning, only about 20 per cent said they did not support the mandatory online courses proposed by the provincial government.

However, participants recommended that if e-learning is mandated, it should be done gradually and should be administered by the school boards.
The internal education consultations were released by the New Democratic Party earlier this week via social media. The party accuses the premier of trying to “cover up the results of the public consultations” before posting a link to the 130-page document.

The province spent close to $1 million on the public education consultations, which included two rounds of submissions—one in February 2019 and another that ran from March 15 to May 31, 2019.

Meanwhile the issues are far from resolved with both sides sticking to their demands. -CINEWS

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