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September 22, 2009
An Open Letter to Premier Dalton McGuinty
The Ontario government has before it a blueprint for major educational reform, one that will make Ontario the best place there is to raise a child. To do the best for our children, we need to create the finest possible education and family service system. With Our Best Future in Mind, the report of the Premier’s early learning advisor, maps out how Ontario can achieve more family-centred schools that are vibrant learning hubs for children and their parents.
The plan envisions our elementary schools buzzing with parent programs, recreation, arts, social activities and homework clubs long after the last school bell rings. Our youngest learners, from infants to preschoolers and their families, will enjoy expanded opportunities for early learning and care, pre-and postnatal supports, playgroups, parent resources and health assessments. Every four- and five-year-old child will be entitled to a full school day of learning and four- to 12-year-olds will be able to participate in extended day and summer programs enriching their opportunities to succeed.
When the plan for child- and family-centred schools is in place Ontario will become the Canadian leader with a world-class education system. As the foremost family-friendly province, Ontario will attract the best and the brightest because it helps families raise the best and the brightest.
All eyes are now rightly on Ontario.
Families and children are ready. Municipalities and school boards are ready. Educators and champions of publicly funded education are ready.
This is our opportunity to get it right, for children and families today and for the benefit of all into the future.
Getting it right: The 3Rs of making Ontario the best place to raise a child
Do the right thing: Wholesale change
The recommendations in the early learning report are interdependent parts for wholesale positive change. Implementing some changes (such as full day JK/SK and not others, such as enriching out-of-school options and holistic services for parents and preschoolers) will lessen their effectiveness, add to the fragmentation that now plagues education and family services and will fail to provide accountability for investments and results.
Do it right: Adopt the goals and timetables in the report.
That means September 2010 is the start date with 2012 the rollout end date. This is a doable timeframe: 35% of our schools now have the capacity to become centres for children and families. They should be ready to go by September 2010. At the same time the provincial government should announce its plans to make all schools child and family ready by 2012.
Do it with the right resources: Build in quality from the start
Give local governments and school boards the resources they need to do the job well. Establish the provincial infrastructure required to support the new system. Ensure staff are appropriately trained and supported. Develop standards and transparent accountability mechanisms.
Premier McGuinty, we are part of a groundswell of supporters for transformative change that makes Ontario the educational place to watch.
We are committed to this vision and offer our support towards securing Ontario’s best future.
Hon. David Crombie, O.C
Annie Kidder, People for Education
Hon. Margaret McCain, O.C., Co-Chair, Early Years Studies 1 and 2
Stuart Shanker, Milton and Ethel Harris Research Initiative, York University
Robin Williams, MD, Medical Officer of Health, Niagara Region
Avie Bennett, O.C.,Chancellor Emeritus, York University
Ken Battle, President, Caledon Institute of Social Policy
The Hon. Monique Begin
Dr. Fraser Mustard, Founder, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research
Charles S. Coffey, O.C.
Penny Milton, Canadian Education Association
Jill Worthy, Superintendent of Education, Toronto District School Board
Patricia Chroney Rubin, Director, School of Early Childhood, George Brown College
Kenneth Coran, President, Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation
Hon. Wm. G. Davis, P.C., C.C., Q.C
Jane Gaskell, Professor and Dean, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto
Martha Friendly, Executive Director, Childcare Resource and Research Unit
Frances Lankin President & CEO United Way Toronto
Anne Marie DeCicco-Best Mayor, City of London
Rachel Langford, PhD., Director, School of Early Childhood Education, Ryerson University
Valerie Sterling, President, Association of Local Public Health Agencies (alpha)
Veronica Lacey, President & CEO, The Learning Partnership
Carl Corter, Professor, Institute of Child Study, OISE, University of Toronto
Paul Johnson, Chair, Hamilton Best Start Network
Thomas (Tim) Armstrong, BA, LLB, QC, O. Ont.
Hon. Landon Pearson, O.C.
Glen A. Jones, Ontario Research Chair, Postsecondary Education Policy and Measurement, University of Toronto
Hon. John Godfrey
Mario Lajoie Director, Planning, Accountability, and Strategic Partnerships, Conseil des écoles catholiques de langue française du Centre-Est
Arthur Bielfeld, Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Emanu-El, Toronto
Zeenat Janmohamed, Coordinator, Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development, OISE
David Rivard, CEO, Children’s Aid Society of Toronto
Angela Foster, ECE Faculty, Georgian College
Margaret Hancock, Executive Director, Family Service Toronto
Mark Chamberlain, Chair of the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty
Evan Wood, The Lawson Foundation
Eduarda Sousa, Executive Director, Association of Early Childhood Educators, Ontario
Canadian Union of Public Employees (Ontario)
Fidelia Torres, Fellow, Council for Early Child Development
Mary Lou White, Manager, Children’s Services, County of Lanark
Peggy Taillon, President, Canadian Council on Social Development
Greg deGroot-Maggetti & Michael Creek, Co-chairs, 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction
Jane Bertrand, Chair, Best Start Early Years Panel on curriculum
Professor Rick Volpe, Institute of Child Study, OISE, University of Toronto
Janette Bax, District Child Care Manager, Children’s Services Division, District of Thunder Bay
Nigel Fisher – President & CEO UNICEF Canada
Peter A. Armstrong, President, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Atkinson Charitable Foundation.
Tracey Saarikoski, President, Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care
Carol Gott, Rural Voices for Early Childhood Education and Care
Linda Sibley, Executive Director, Addiction Services of Thames Valley
James R. Dunn, Ph.D, CIHR-PHAC Chair in Applied Public Health and Associate Professor, Department of Health, Aging & Society, McMaster University
Andrea E Feller, MD MS FAAP, Associate Medical Officer of Health, Niagara Region Public Health
Dr. Pat Dickinson, Program Director Bachelor of Early Childhood Studies Program
Charles Sturt University
Ross L. Fair General Manager of Community Services City of London
Lynne Livingstone Director, Neighbourhood and Children’s Services Community Services Department City of London
Marsha Millar, Director Children’s Services, Municipality of Chatham-Kent
Hon. Doug Peters
Lynn Bue, 2nd National Vice President Canadian Union Postal Workers
Suzanne Gagnon, Manager/Gestionnaire, Social Services Centre East, Ottawa
Professor Becky Xi Chen, Department of Human Development and Applied Psychology, OISE, University of Toronto
Tam Goossen & Winnie Ng, Co-Chairs, Good Jobs For All Coalition
Sue Norden, RECE, Director of Child Care Services Public Health, Safety and Social Services, Corporation of the City of Brantford
Brian F.C. Smith President & C.E.O. WoodGreen Community Services
Joanne MacEwan, Chair, Parent Involvement Committee/Catholic School Parents’ Association Ottawa Catholic School Board
Romona McLennon, Best Start Coordinator, Community Child Services, Sault Ste. Marie
Amy Ruttan, Best Start Coordinator, Childcare Programs, Community & Family Services, Kingston
Anne Biscaro R.N., B.Sc.N., M.Sc.N, Director, Family Health Division, Niagara Region
Dr. David Colby, Medical Officer of Health (A), Chatham-Kent
Lucy Brown, Chair, Chatham- Kent/Lambton Best Start Steering Committee
Aimee Wolanski, Ed.D, Peel District School Board
Tammy Adkin, Executive Director, London Regional Children’s Museum
Deena Ladd, Worker’s Action Centre
Nancy Brinbaum, President, Invest In Kids
Michelle Hurtubise, Executive Director, London InterCommunity Health Centre
Jehad Aliweiwi, Executive Director, Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office
Bonnie Rikkonen, ECE Coordinator, Confederation College. Thunder Bay
Kim Jackson Chair, Timiskaming Best Start Network
Rhonda Roffey, Executive Director, Women’s Habitat of Etobicoke
Corinne Wolsey, President, Ontario Federation of Home School Association
Armine Yalnizyan, Senior Economist, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Dr. Patrizia Albanese, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Ryerson University
Rev. Dr. Jim Sinclair, retired, The United Church of Canada
National Alliance for Children and Youth
Toronto Coalition for Better Child Care
Jacquie Maund, Coordinator, Ontario Campaign 2000, Family Service Toronto
Mary Marrone, Director of Advocacy & Legal Services, Income Security Advocacy Centre
Christine Alden, Ontario Coordinator, Council for Early Child Development
Ray DeV. Peters, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, Queen’s University
Dr. Donna S. Lero, Jarislowsky Chair in Families and Work, University of Guelph
Gail Hunter, George Brown College, School of Early Childhood
Laurel Rothman, National Campaign Coordinator, Campaign 2000
Dr. Gordon Cleveland, Economist, University of Toronto Scarborough
Sue Colley, Executive Director, Building Blocks for Child Care
Mary-Louise Vanderlee, Ed.D. Faculty of Education, Brock University
Professor Fred Lazar, Schulich School of Business, York University
Dr. Rachel Berman, School of Early Childhood Education/MA program in Early Childhood Studies, Ryerson University
Susannah Varmuza, PhD, Professor and Associate Chair Undergraduate Studies, Department of Cell and Systems Biology, University of Toronto
Janet Astington, Professor, Institute of Child Study, University of Toronto
Janette Pelletier, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Human Development and Applied Psychology, Institute of Child Study, OISE, University of Toronto
Michael R. Peterson, B.GS, LL.B
Jane van Berkel, Executive Director, Child Development Resource Connection
Jan Blaxall, Parent, Early Childhood Educator, Fanshawe College
Lori Gray, Early Years Coordinator/Toronto First Duty, Bruce Woodgreen Early Learning Centre
Sylvain Guilbeault, Executive Director, Centre pour enfants, Timiskaming Child Care
Karen Chandler, Professor, Centre for Early Childhood Development, Ryerson Campus
Ailene Wittstein, Executive Director, Merrymount Children’s Centre
Elaine Levy, Woodgreen Community Service
Gaby Chauvet ,Heritage Home Child Care
Kelly Massaro-Joblin, School House Playcare Centre
Tammy McCormick Ferguson, Early Childhood Community Development Centre, Niagara
Dr Diane Kashin, Seneca College
Lee Quann RECE-ECEC, Resource Consultant
Carol Leishman Child Care Manager District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board
Colleen Brady RECE, ECEC. B.A., Professor Early Childhood Education Program, Sault College of Applied Arts and Technology
Lori Cranson, Associate Dean Community Services & Health Sciences, St. James Campus
Ruby Moayer, Manager Child and Family Services, Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Offices
Leslie Corbet, professor, Early Childhood Education, Sheridan College
Leslie Kopf-Johnson, Professor of Early Childhood Education, Algonquin College
Ellis Katsof, NCYS Sandra Christie, Faculty Member, Fanshawe College
Janet Gasparini, Executive Director, Social Planning Council of Sudbury
Kim Hiscott, Executive Director Andrew Fleck Child Care Services
Francesca Dobbin, Director of Family Programs and Services, University of Toronto
Maria Ciampini, Ph.D. Professor, Center for Early Childhood Development, George Brown College
Connie Winder, School of Early Childhood, George Brown College
Prof. Linda White, Department of Political Science and School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto.
Marie Goulet, Best Start Early Learning Panel Member
Barb Pimento, Professor and Coordinator, George Brown College
Karima du Tloit, Fanshawe College
Glory Ressler, Community Development & Projects Manager, Early Childhood Community Development Centre, Niagara Region
John Hoffman, Communications Coordinator, Father Involvement Research Alliance, Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine
Cindy McCarthy, Director, Terry Tan Child Centre
John Campey, Executive Director, Social Planning Toronto
Maxine Brown, ECE Professor, Ryerson University
Andrea Endicott, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario
Barbara Ledger, Professor, Early Childhood Education, Sheridan College
Rumjana Dimitrova – Community Worker
Sonia Worotynec, immigrantchildren.ca
John Liss LL.B.
Sandra Robinson, Executive Director, Trent Child Care Inc.
Jacqui Strachan, School Council Chair, Monarch Park Collegiate
Marnie Bernstein, Ontario Early Years Centre, Scarborough Centre
Pam Belli, Professor, ECE, Loyalist College, Belleville
Magdalena Janus, Offord Centre for Child Studies, McMaster University
South Riverdale Child Parent Centre
Family Supports Institute Ontario