Base the special education grants on the educational needs of students.
Increase the funding allocation for educational assistants, behavioural counsellors, child and youth workers, psychologists, and speech and language pathologists.
Provide educators training to help them address student behavioural issues and adopt teaching strategies that support students with a wide spectrum of special needs.
The government should continue or grow current investments in the Priorities Funds that support special education.
Students with special education needs are not getting the front-line supports and services they need. Inadequate supports have a bigger impact on students who face additional barriers, such as Black, Indigenous, and racialized students, students from low socio-economic backgrounds, and those who are English Language Learners.
Kids need access to educational assistants, behavioural counsellors, child and youth workers, psychologists, and speech and language pathologists to help them learn and thrive.
Meeting the special education needs of students is a constant challenge for any government. The Ministry of Education’s core grants for students with identified special education needs are currently tied to enrolment – and the number of students enrolling with identified special needs is increasing. We need the province to reflect that change and provide the necessary funding to school boards to ensure they can adequately support all students.
Many students with special education needs are not formally identified until mid-to-late elementary school years, which means that they might be at a school with little to no resources to support them. That’s a serious issue for public education. Leaving even one student out is one too many.
Often, school boards are strapped for funds and are compelled to take the money that has been allocated to other program areas to support special education, which leaves every kid at a loss.
As recommended by the government’s Declining Enrolment Working Group in 2009, special education grants should be revised to better reflect the actual needs of students. The impact of this change will be significant not only for the students whose needs are currently not being met, but for all students in our public schools. Adequately supporting students with special education needs helps build more supportive and inclusive classrooms.
Over the past few years, educators have been reporting an increase in incidents of violence involving students who are facing mental health challenges or who display disruptive behaviour. To ensure students are getting the support they need, classrooms require more access to educational assistants, behavioural counsellors, child and youth workers, psychologists, and speech and language pathologists.