Winnipeg – Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont announced the Liberal Plan to support students and educators in K-12 and ensure that every child in Manitoba is able to read by second grade.
Sunday September 8 is International Literacy Day, and a 2016 report showed that Manitoba has often scored last in literacy and numeracy scores in Canada.
“We expect so much more from our education system every year, and the PCs along with the previous NDP would just continue to put more and more on the plates of educators,” said Lamont. “Manitoba Liberals know we need to stop, take stock, and create a curriculum that is achievable for every classroom and uses international best practices.”
Liberals say they want to make sure schools can focus more efforts and resources on education, by ensuring the province is properly funding many services that have been shifted to the education system. Under the NDP and PCs alike, schools have been expected to provide and pay for social services - from social work, public health, mental health, addictions and justice costs.
Liberals say they will make sure those costs are borne by the departments in question, not by schools, which will free resources in school budgets to spend on education.
Manitoba Liberals will:
• Develop a 10-year education plan in partnership with teachers, parents, students and school divisions to direct funding and restore stability to our school system while getting better results for students.
• Start a curriculum review led by educators, with the goal of ensuring international best practices and the best outcomes for students. The curriculum review will focus on content and programs for academics and trades. It will include innovations in recreation and land-based learning.
• Create literacy programs, starting before Kindergarten, that include family literacy programs, with the goal of making sure that every child in Manitoba can read by the time the finish Grade 2.
• Hire more educational assistants to provide necessary supports to teachers and students.
Manitoba Liberals already announced they would create early childhood education spaces under the department of education and make psychological therapy free under medicare. As part of the Liberals’ infrastructure plan, the province will pay for 100% of renovations and retrofits to existing schools, instead of the current 50% formula.
Under those plans, the Manitoba Liberals will:
• Invest to restore high-calibre trades education ensuring that every school has a modern trades infrastructure.
• Ensure that children are being assessed by psychologists prior to entering 1st grade to diagnose and develop a treatment plan for learning and other disabilities.
• Manitoba Liberals will invest $500 thousand in developing the education plan, curriculum review, and increase funding to K-12 by $6 million in the first year. It will include inflationary increases anually.
“Education is the greatest leveller in the world because it allows people to fulfill their potential, and we want to work with teachers, students, and parents to build one of the best public school systems in the world,” said Lamont.