For Immediate Release
Toronto, ON – The Ontario Student Trustees’ Association – l’Association des élèves conseillers et conseillères de l’Ontario welcomes the provincial government’s release of the 2018-2019 Grants for Student Needs (GSN).
In January 2018, OSTA-AECO released the Student Platform for the upcoming provincial election campaign. Entitled A Turning Point for Education, the platform reflects three fundamental pillars of a student’s education: Student Wellbeing, 21st Century Learning and Equitable Access to Opportunities.
“The provincial government’s announcement of the 2018-2019 GSN is a crucial first step towards realizing the vision of The Student Platform,” said OSTA-AECO president Dasha Metropolitansky. “Our organization is thrilled to see Student Platform policy recommendations such as reducing the student-to-guidance-counselor ratio in elementary schools to match the secondary ratio and funding additional mental health supports reflected as priorities within the 2018-2019 GSN announcement.”
In particular, OSTA-AECO applauds the investments of $24.5 million to fund approximately 180 mental health workers in secondary schools and $120 million over the next three years to support over 450 additional teachers who will assist grade 7 and 8 students with career and pathway planning. As an extension of these investments, OSTA-AECO encourages the government to address the shortage of guidance counselors in secondary schools and to develop mental health programming for students.
The association also supports the investment of $300 million over the next three years to support special education. However, OSTA-AECO also recognizes that this funding must be followed up with further professional development to assist teachers in identifying and integrating exceptional learners and the creation of provincial and school board accessibility standards which enshrine exceptional learners’ right to access special education accommodations.