We noticed that this item was featured in the latest newsletter from the People for Education organization (who you may remember from their recent commentary on the proposed e-learning changes in Ontario).
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Confusion about class size
Is there really a change in funding and policy for high schools?
There was some confusion this week when it appeared that Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce had announced a change to policy for secondary schools in Ontario.
The public, students, and parents were left wondering if the province had changed its mind on funding for high school teachers and class size.
But a closer look at the Minister’s speech and a memo to school boards sent August 22nd shows there has been no real change. As the Minister said last week, “The plan unveiled in the spring is being realized.” That plan includes lower amounts of per pupil funding and a restriction on replacing teachers who retired or resigned.
So what exactly is happening? Will courses that were cut be re-instated?
People for Education’s analysis of the numbers and the policy
Annie Kidder’s interview on CBC Metro Morning
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As you may recall, the original proposals included an e-learning class size limit that was 25% higher than the face-to-face limit. Like many, we are unsure what these recent announcements mean for that aspect of the proposal. For example, does this announcement mean that e-learning class sizes will stay the same as face-to-face class sizes?
Remember that one of the State of the Nation: K-12 e-Learning in Canada researchers issued a special topics report on the proposed e-learning class size increase recent (you can read the report here). That report stated that the norm across Canada has been for e-learning class sizes to be consistent with face-to-face class sizes. One of the reasons for this is that there has been a general understanding within the e-learning community that teaching in an environment where all communication is mediated through technology it can often require more time to ensure student learning. It also found that when e-learning class size is increased it has a negative impact on student outcomes. This result is particularly true in instances of e-learning where the program does not make use of a school-based or local mentor/facilitator to help support students when they are engaged in their e-learning.
As a new school year is about to begin in Ontario, it will be important that should the e-learning aspects of the Education that Works for You – Modernizing Classrooms proposal be enacted, that it is done so in a way that students are provided every opportunity to succeed in the e-learning medium.