New special education report and more education news

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New report on special education shows challenges continue

People for Education released a new report today on special education in Ontario. 

Based on surveys from 1,349 Ontario elementary and secondary schools, the report says that the percentage of students receiving special education services has increased steadily over the last 15 years. Funding for special education has also increased, but 57 of the province’s 72 school boards spend more on special education than they receive from the province.

Among the findings in the report: 

  • In elementary schools, there is an average per school of 37 students with special education needs for every 1 special education teacher. 
  • Only 39% of elementary schools and 32% of secondary schools have access to a regularly scheduled psychologist. In Northern Ontario, only 8% of elementary schools have regular access.
  • 25% of elementary school principals report that “some”, “most” or “all” parents use private assessments, which can cost from $2000 to $3000 and allow families to “jump the queue” for special education services. Private assessments are more prevalent in schools with higher average family incomes.
  • In 44% of elementary schools and 32% of secondary schools, not all students with special education needs have access to the assistive technology that was recommended for them. Some schools report that parents are fundraising to pay for these vital tech supports.
  • 49% of elementary and 41% of secondary principals report they have asked a parent to keep their child with special education needs home for at least part of the school day.
To read a synopsis of the report, click here.
To read the full report, click here.
To join the special education conversation, click here.

Your school or organization may be eligible for a grant

Do you want to improve parent involvement in your school or board?

Do you have a great idea for a conference or a new program to help parents help their kids succeed? Your school or organization may be eligible for an Ontario Ministry of Education Parents Reaching Out Grant.

These grants—open to school councils, Parent Involvement Committees (PICs), school boards and non-profits working with parents—provide anywhere from $1000 (for school councils) to $30,000 (for regional or provincial organizations) to help enhance parent involvement.

The deadline to apply is May 16, so start working on your application today!

Click here to apply for a School Council grant.
Click here to apply for a Regional/Provincial grant.
Click here to find some helpful tips about PRO grant proposals.

The stars come out to support public education and the arts in schools

People for Education's annual benefit, Telling Tales Out of School, is on Sunday, May 25 at CBC's Glenn Gould Studio, Tickets are going fast, so get get your tickets now

Sean Cullen will host, and the show stars Eric Peterson (Corner Gas), Caroline Rhea (Sabrina, the Teenage Witch), Camilla Gibb (award-winning author), Bill Coleman (tap-dancer extraordinaire), The Darcys (hot Juno-nominated band), Lainey Lui (queen of gossip and new author) and Cornell Village Stomp (amazing students).

It's not too late to join Music Monday

Monday, May 5 is the 10th annual Music Monday—when schools, choirs, communities and Canadians from every region of the country will sing the same song at the same time to "unite the country in song."  

It's easy to participate. Just click here to get the participation toolkit. Or you can watch the live webcast that will link events across the country, culminating with synchronized nationwide performances of Is Somebody Singing with astronaut Chris Hadfield and Maestro Bramwell Tovey of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

Kids need to get outside!

Do you think that all children and young people should have the opportunity to build an outdoor fort, catch a fish, follow a trail, play in the snow, visit a farm? If so, check out the Ontario Children's Outdoor Charter.

Research shows that kids who spend regular time in nature are happier and healthier. And spending time outdoors improves kids' health, their well-being and their sense of responsibility for the planet.

The Ontario Children's Outdoor Charter website has a toolbox for teachers and lots of ways you can sign on to support children's right to explore the outdoors. 

Now more than ever, it's vital that we advocate for our schools.
People for Education is your strong voice for public education!

Make a donation now, to support our work, through Canada Helps’ safe, secure website. Donate now and take advantage of a special tax incentive from the Government of Canada.

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May 1 – Cobourg

Nurturing Resilience in our Children. This event will offer strategies for parents of children from birth to adolescence. Presented by the Northumberland Children’s Services Committee.

Read more.

May 1 – Orleans

Healthy Transitions: Building Resiliency. Join the Ottawa Catholic School Parents' Association and Parent Involvement Committee for this workshop, geared to parents of children 10–17 years of age.

Read more.

May 5 – Canada-Wide

Let’s fill the Canadian skies with music! For Music Monday’s 10th anniversary, we will connect special celebrations representing regions across Canada.

Read more.

May 14 – Toronto

The Forest of Reading, presented by the Ontario Library Association helps celebrate Canadian books, publishers, authors and illustrators. Come and join the celebration.

Read more.

May 2 – Canada-Wide

On Dress Loud! Day, kids wear the loudest, most colourful outfits to school and do special activities to raise awareness about hearing loss. Presented by Voice for Hearing Impaired Children.

Read more.

May 3 – Toronto

VOICE presents Building on the Past for the Future, a conference for parents and professionals who support children with hearing loss and VOICE Teen Leadership Program.

Read more.


May 15 – Toronto

Come out to learn more about Helping Other Parents Everywhere (HOPE), a volunteer run, self-help and support group for parents and guardians who are troubled by the behaviours of their teen or adult children.

Read more.

May 23 – Mississauga

Join the Ontario Association of Parents in Catholic Education for their 75th annual conference and AGM. This year’s theme is “Parental Influence on Student Well-Being and Catholic Education”.

Read more.


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