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Building Better Schools- ETFO’s agenda will build a better learning environment for all students

Posted: April 2,2014

News Category : ETFO News

Toronto, ON – The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has released its education agenda to build a better learning environment for all students, including those with special needs.

Building Better Schools- the ETFO education agenda calls for smaller class sizes for grades 4 to 8, more meaningful assessment beyond EQAO, a greater focus on equal opportunity and inclusion for students, and more resources for students with special needs. The full document can be seen at

“These proposals come directly from our members, teachers and other education professionals, whose job is to teach basic skills, and foster creativity, innovation, and a love of learning in students to ensure they succeed. They are also priorities for parents,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond.

Research shows that smaller classes enable teachers to provide more individual attention to students. This contributes to improved student behaviour, student engagement, and achievement.

With its 15-year intensely narrow focus on literacy and numeracy, EQAO testing stresses both students and educators, and leads to system fatigue. ETFO advocates a random testing system along with a new vision for collaborative school cultures, a call supported by Ontario-based education experts.

Building Better Schools points out that special education grants to school boards are not keeping pace with the increased number of students with special needs. More access to educational assistants, behavioural counselors, speech and language pathologists, and other support is needed to help these students succeed.

Ontario schools need more specialist teachers to ignite and sustain students’ interests in technology, and arts, global, and environmental education. Building Better Schools also identifies actions that the government can take to address the impact of poverty on students.

“Some of ETFO’s proposals will save money, some are cost-neutral, and some will cost more. In anticipation of the next provincial election, our goal is to continue bringing to the fore issues that directly affect the education and lives of all students,” added Hammond.