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Manitoba Government News Release–The Manitoba government has established a Provincial Task Force on Poverty and Education that will examine the correlation between poverty and education and work in connection with the province’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, Education Minister Cliff Cullen announced today.

“Poverty and education were highlighted as challenges to student success in the K-12 commission’s report, and this task force will examine the correlation between poverty and education,” said Cullen. “This group will support the implementation of strategies to improve engagement and outcomes for all students, and in particular, those who are living in low-income circumstances. The task force will be comprised of members from multiple key stakeholder groups, including students, parents, teachers, school leaders, Indigenous representatives and organizations, and other community experts to examine how poverty impacts school outcomes for students, and bring forward ideas for action.”

The report from Manitoba’s Commission on Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education identified factors such as an increasingly diverse population, relatively low overall socio-economic status, as well as a high number of children in care that contribute to education challenges faced by Manitoba. The commission reflected the urgency for action and made recommendations as a direct response. The minister noted these recommendations were accepted and are being prioritized as action items in the Better Education Starts Today strategy including establishing a Task Force on Poverty and Education.

Key responsibilities of the task force will be to address joint poverty and education issues, and to put forth advice on areas of action to the Poverty Reduction Committee of Cabinet. Areas of initial focus for the task force include:
• food access and security;
• access to technology, transportation and other socio-economic barriers to participation; and
• outcomes and continuity of education for children in care.

The Task Force on Poverty and Education will develop an engagement plan to seek out best practices and lived experience from identified experts in the areas of focus. Based on its early work, the task force will prepare a preliminary learnings report for the Poverty Reduction Committee in mid-2022, Cullen said.

The minister noted the issue of poverty extends beyond the education system and requires a whole-of-systems approach to identify barriers and solutions. The work of the task force will lead to holistic support for the needs of children and youth, and respond to the impacts of poverty on learning.

The Task Force on Poverty and Education members and terms of reference are listed at: https://bettereducationmb.ca/better-education-starts-today-best-strategy-advisory-groups/#tfpe.