Premier Wynne's 2014 Mandate Letter: Education is reprinted below. It is addressed to our Education Minister Liz Sandals. Ostensibly it is a vision statement for public consumption. It outlines 9 issues the Premier wants to focus on, including Collective Bargaining. Since our readers here are the teachers who will need to implement whatever results in our classrooms and schools, the letter is reprinted for your erudition, and Comments, using the link below. Here's the Letter:
- Building on the successful implementation of full-day kindergarten, which will be fully implemented this year. As outlined below, you will continue to work with school boards, municipalities, First Nations, child care operators and parents to modernize, stabilize and strengthen the child care system and improve oversight.
- Overseeing the implementation of legislative and regulatory changes through the Child Care Modernization Act, 2014, if passed.
- Creating Best Start Child and Family Centres by integrating and transforming existing family support programs.
- Ensuring that children have the opportunity to benefit from the continued integration of child care, early years and the education system.
- Working with the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport to develop options to support the implementation of high-quality before- and after- school programming for 6 to 12 year-olds through school boards or a third party.
- Working with our education sector partners to, as detailed below, achieve the four renewed goals for education in Ontario outlined in Achieving Excellence: A Renewed Vision for Education in Ontario. This will require taking evidence-based actions informed by broad collaboration. Your plan will result in a high-performing education system with engaged educators, supportive staff, and administrative and other professionals who are committed to continuous learning.
- Working to ensure that students graduating from high school are ready to meet the opportunities and challenges of tomorrow’s economy and society. Children and students of all ages will achieve high levels of academic performance, acquire valuable skills and demonstrate good citizenship.
- Supporting educators in learning so they will be recognized as among the best in the world. You will lead efforts to modernize and expand teacher education into a two-year program, starting in September 2015. The modernized program will include mandatory content that will better prepare teachers for the classrooms of today and tomorrow. That content would include topics such as: using technology in the classroom, literacy and numeracy, mental health and addictions, safe schools, First Nation, Métis and Inuit education and special education.
- Continuing to measure progress toward an 85 per cent five-year high school graduation rate and a 75 per cent success rate on elementary Education Quality and Accountability Office assessments — with a particular focus on mathematics. These results will continue to be reported publicly to ensure transparency and accountability within the education system.
- Supporting progress toward the above goals by investing $150 million over three years in technology and learning tools such as new digital tablets, netbooks, cameras, software and professional development for teachers. You will also look at new and innovative ways to increase support that improves student performance in math, science and technology, such as new supports and resources for the classroom. These will include new learning opportunities in mathematics for educators, and supporting access to TVO’s Homework Help, which provides students with free, real-time math tutoring by certified Ontario teachers.
- Inspiring all children and students to reach their full potential, with access to rich learning experiences that begin at birth and continue into adulthood.
- Continuing to focus on closing achievement gaps for those groups that are at higher risk of not succeeding in school — including Aboriginal students, children and youth in care, students with special education needs and students new to Canada.
- Ensuring equity by supporting students through transition periods that we know pose challenges: when students enter kindergarten; when they make the transition to Grade 1; when they move from elementary to secondary school; when they move from secondary school to postsecondary education or the world of work; and when they move between schools or communities.
- Supporting students through transitions unique to each student’s circumstances. For example, a youth in care may be transitioning between parents or guardians, and may be changing schools at the same time. Some Aboriginal students may be transitioning from on-reserve schools to the provincial school system. You will recognize these challenging transitions and work collaboratively — both within the education system and with broader public sector partners — to ensure that all students, regardless of circumstances, can be successful and supported.
- Working with the ministers of Training, Colleges and Universities, and of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade to ensure the adult education system better supports adult learners in their efforts to finish high school, and successfully transition to postsecondary education, training or the work place.
- Ensuring that all children and students develop enhanced mental and physical health and a positive sense of self and belonging. Building on your work to promote equitable, inclusive and accepting school climates.
- Working with partner ministries to support a long-term goal for children and youth to have access to 60 minutes of activity connected to their school day, and for students to learn from an up-to-date health and physical education curriculum.
- Ensuring that Ontarians continue to have confidence in a publicly funded education system that helps develop new generations of confident, capable and caring citizens.
- Working with school boards to better prepare students for the workforce by providing Grade 7 to 12 students with access to their own online career planning tool and adjusting the current Grade 10 Careers curriculum. The new tool will help students explore potential careers in a more hands-on way — and support all teachers, including guidance counsellors, to better prepare students for future careers.
- Working with schools, school boards, guidance counsellors, and business and labour in communities to increase experiential learning opportunities and to identify people who can mentor students throughout school toward apprenticeship and successful careers.
- Complementing the above initiatives by introducing a new Experience Ontario program to support paid community work and service. This program will be led by the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, who will also improve the availability of labour market information to help government, institutions, students, families and employers make important decisions about education, training and hiring. Your goal is to build on the success of existing programs to help students leave secondary school with a clear path for their initial postsecondary destination — be it apprenticeship training, college, Experience Ontario, university or the workplace.
- Continuing to respect the collective bargaining process, as demonstrated by our introduction and passage of the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act. Collective bargaining enhances the ability of responsible employers and bargaining agents to increase productivity, deliver services and ensure fiscal sustainability. Any modest wage increases that may be negotiated must be absorbed by employers within Ontario’s existing fiscal plan.
- Providing over the next ten years more than $11 billion in capital grants to school boards to continue building better places to learn and to support school consolidations, including joint use projects.
- Using some empty school space across the province for community resources — or community hubs — that could be supported by creative partnerships. You will work with the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and others to consult with stakeholders and develop a policy that supports the development of community hubs. This policy should consider the amount, location, value and nature of excess space in the education system that could be used for novel purposes. You will also work with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to consider how to improve interactions between school boards and municipalities to ensure effective land-use planning.