The creation by UJA Federation of Greater of the Generations Trust Scholarship, as we wrote last week, is a giant step at enabling more families to provide a Jewish day school education to their children. It is an innovative, positive initiative that extends a financial hand to a potentially large swath of middle-income families.
It is indeed a watershed event in the history of the Jewish community of Greater Toronto. UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and the participating schools deserve enduring praise and high accolades for the generous, far-sighted policy benefiting children, families, schools and the community.
But, the problem of affordability is too urgent and too large for one group, agency, organization or individual to resolve. As visionary and generous as it is, the Generations Trust Scholarship, understandably, is designed with inherently qualifying and other restrictions. Moreover, the fund applies to elementary school education only.
Thus, still more needs to be done Jewish education in day schools and withal to be truly and permanently affordable for all families. The entire community must become part of the solution.
It falls therefore to all of us who care about our Jewish future – a fully representative cross section of individuals and organizations within the community – in addition to UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, to play a role in reaching the “more” that needs to be done.
As most readers of this update know, GAJE is committed to trying to change Ontario’s unfair educational funding policies.
Ontario is the only jurisdiction in the western world that funds the education of a single faith alone to the exclusion of all others. In our country, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec include non-Catholic, faith-based schools and other independent schools in their respective public educational systems.
The current Ontario model of public education is anomalous in Canada. Indeed, one could also say it is quite un-Canadian in the Canada of 2021. Why is this still happening? The answer, we all know, is that there is no political will to include the 125,000 students in Ontario’s independent schools into the system from which they continue to be cavalierly and callously excluded.
Since the political will is lacking, GAJE hopes to compel the government to remedy its unconscionable policy by operation of the law.
Be safe. Be well. Shabbat shalom.
GAJE, April 2, 2021