Last month, Gillian Livingston, business writer and former deputy editor for Globe Investor, published an article in the Globe and Mail entitled, Pandemic learning gaps have parents digging deep to put their kids in private schools. The article was primarily prescriptive, providing suggestions to young parents for finding strategies to manage their limited funds to try to accommodate the expense of independent schools within the already expensive, high cost of life in the GTA.
Livingston began the article by noting the uptick in enrollment in independent schools due to the negative impact of the pandemic on teaching and learning within the public school sector. This increasing turn to independent schools has resulted in ravages in the monthly budgets and savings of the families who are seeking a more appropriate education for their children.
Of course, young parents in our community are quite familiar with the budgetary ravages and the various strategies that Livingston recommends.
We point to her article however to call attention to the enrollment phenomenon she describes, her actual chronicling of the financial hardship that accompanies such vital educational decisions by parents in determining the best interest long-term interests of their children, and for her corroboration of some of the observations recorded by the public-policy think tank, Cardus, that have also frequently appeared in this space.
“Cardus, a Hamilton-based public-policy think tank, examined private schools in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta in a 2019 report to find out who is attending and how parents are paying for it. In Ontario, two-thirds of parents sending their child to private school made “major financial changes to afford the cost” including taking a part-time job or changing jobs, making budget sacrifices, relying on a bursary, taking out a loan or getting help from family, the Cardus survey found.
“In Ontario, private schools do not get public funding while there are varying levels of government financial support for private schools in Alberta and B.C.”
(We point out that Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec also provide government financial support for private schools.)
That Ontario is the sole provincial government, excluding the underpopulated Atlantic provinces, that refuses to assist independent school parents – in choosing the best, most appropriate education for their children and in advancing and improving educational outcomes within the province overall – is perplexing. How is that Ontario’s policy makers are unaware of the well-documented educational, social and even financial benefits to the province in participating in the funding of independent schools.
That Ontario is the sole provincial government, excluding the underpopulated Atlantic provinces, that refuses to assist independent school parents in simply eliminating the injustice and the unfairness that continues to characterize Ontario’s educational funding and no other provinces’ funding is also an affront to conscience. Queen’s Park perpetuates the discrimination and injustice that we had long ago hoped we would never see again. That it exists in the Ontario of 2022 diminishes our society even as it shames the government for allowing it to persist.
Livingston’s article is available at:
GAJE has launched an application in court to remedy the government’s unfair educational funding policy. If you wish to contribute to funding GAJE’s lawsuit, please click here.
For further information, please contact Israel Mida at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.
Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)
July 15, 2022