The Yukon Liberal Party understands that the territory’s education system needs to be meaningful and responsive to the needs of students and educators. Staff and educators currently working in this system are incredibly dedicated to their students. The Liberal team appreciates these individuals and wants to continue to support them by enhancing a solid system focused on helping students and empowering educators to do their work.
“When we came to office in 2016, our Liberal team found the education system to be in significant need of improvement. From failing infrastructure to outdated practices, the system had been left to languish for too long. We have spent four and half years working back from that deficit and have made great strides. The work is not finished and we are committed to continuing to develop a system that supports and responds to the needs of all students in the Yukon.”
Tracy McPhee, candidate for Riverdale South
Under the leadership of Tracy McPhee as Minister of Education, extensive improvements have been made.
While in government, the Yukon Liberals:
- Brought in a new curriculum and adapted it to reflect the realities in the Yukon.
- Worked with Yukon University as it transitioned to become the first university in Canada’s North.
- Settled the 11-year lawsuit with the Commision scolaire francophone du Yukon and built a new French language secondary school.
- Committed to establishing early kindergarten in all rural communities by fall 2021 and working with Dawson City and Watson Lake to develop an early kindergarten (K-4) program that meets the needs of their community.
- Worked with Yukon First Nations to develop the framework for a First Nations School Board
- Invested millions of dollars in school infrastructure including:
- The first new elementary school in Whitehorse in over 25 years.
- Adding classroom space with portables at Golden Horn Elementary, Robert Service School, Selkirk Elementary and Hidden Valley Elementary.
Our team has a plan to improve education opportunities and outcomes for our students. We have worked with First Nation Chiefs, First Nation Education Commission and the Chiefs Committee on Education to significantly improve education outcomes for First Nations students, and are committed to doing more. The Liberals Party believes Yukon First Nations must have more authority, control and responsibility for their children’s’ education.
We know that current supports for students need to be improved, which is why we have commissioned an independent Review of Inclusive and Special Education. The information from this review will help determine how our education system can better support students with diverse learning needs. It will help determine how to use existing supports and what new programs or services are needed. In particular, we will look at behavioural support programs, such as the Grove Street program, to ensure it is meeting the intended purpose and consider how to offer students on the autism spectrum the best possible learning environments.
If re-elected, the Yukon Liberals will:
- Complete the Whistle Bend elementary school and the Burwash Landing school and begin the planning for the next Whitehorse elementary school replacement.
- Work with communities and stakeholders on safe school drop-off and pick-up areas, snow removal, crosswalks, speed control and proper lighting.
- Ensure students have full access to individualized education plans, student learning plans and behaviour support plans.
- Support educators and school-based teams to have the tools to better address classroom violence.
- Support the establishment of a First Nations School board and continue to work with the Chiefs Committee on Education, the First Nation Education Directorate and all Yukon First Nations to improve education outcomes.
- Invest in experiential learning spaces and modernizing existing learning spaces.
- Work with Yukon University to:
- Support a new science building at Yukon University and its’ inclusion of traditional knowledge.
- Ensure the increased demand for early childhood educators can be met
- Ensure the licensed practical nursing program continues to have annual intakes.
- Investigate the development of a building science program tailored to northern climates.
- Investigate the potential for a varsity sports program.
These commitments are in addition to the Universal Early Learning Childcare Program (ELCC) that launched on April 1. This program is based on three principles: affordability, quality, and accessibility. Our ELCC program provides a $700 per month subsidy for all children registered in a licensed program, which is an annual savings of $8400 per child for Yukon families. A pro-rated savings for children attending part-time is also available. Our ELCC program supports children in part-time, full-time, after school and summer care.
The program, which is open to all licensed childcare and early learning programs, also provides employers with a wage top-up for employees of up to $17.11 per hour in addition to the salary paid by their employers. Wage tops-ups help retain staff and encourage more people to become accredited and will help foster and support these skilled employees.
We will provide a subsidy directly to program operators to support high-quality, early learning environments.
As the ELCC program continues, we will also expand available early learning spaces.
“Giving children a strong foundation through early learning is not as simple as making childcare affordable. It is about giving all Yukon families the opportunity to choose an early learning program and making sure those programs are supported and staffed to offer children the absolute best care and learning. That is what our program does.”
Tracy McPhee, Candidate for Riverdale South
“Ensuring that all Yukon students have access to a safe and supported learning environment is important to the Yukon Liberal Party. Time and time again, we have heard how important proper supports in the early developmental years are in order to set our young people on a strong course for success. Children with a solid foundation in their early years are less likely to have difficulty in school, have negative involvement in the justice system or struggle with addictions. Our team has made a lot of progress improving the education system and we know there is more work to be done. We are committed to supporting all Yukoners throughout their learning journey and our platform reflects this commitment.”
Nils Clarke, Candidate for Riverdale North
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