The illogic of Ontario’s education funding merely sharpens the sting of its unfairness.
Public, social and educational policy experts continue to point out that Ontario’s approach to education is anachronistic. It is anchored in an old model that no longer responds appropriately – i.e., responsibly and educationally – to the needs of all Ontario families or indeed, to the need to nurture an informed, engaged, civic society.
Queens Park need not search the globe for better models of educational funding policy. Models of better, fairer, wiser policy exist in Canada – in Quebec and in all of the western provinces.
Some weeks ago, Paige MacPherson, Associate Director, Education Policy at the Fraser Institute, published an essay that offers some concise suggestions to the Minister of Education on that very subject. The article is entitled Here’s what school choice in Ontario could look like for parents. It pleads with the province to allow parents to have more choice in the education of their children. And most important, the author prescribes four reasonable, already-tried, feasible ways in which the government could do precisely that. (We highlight only one of the four methods. GAJE has continually pointed to this funding possibility as a viable policy option.)
“The government could also send a portion of parents’ tax dollars to schools of their choice. In Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. the provincial government does exactly that by funding independent schools from 35 per cent to 80 per cent of the per-student cost of government public schools. This helps increase school choice and also saves taxpayer money. Every child who attends an independent school costs taxpayers less than students who attend government public schools.”
In addition to offering actual substantive suggestions for improving the system, MacPherson also shows that more and more Ontarians clamor for precisely such improvement and change.
“The question of demand has been answered. Even in Ontario’s current system where the government offers no independent school funding, enrolment in independent schools is increasing. From 2006-07 to 2019-20, the share of Ontario kids enrolled in independent schools jumped from 5.1 per cent to 6.9 per cent. Over the same period, the share of students opting to homeschool also increased while the share of kids enrolled in government-run public schools decreased.” GAJE decries the discrimination and the injustice of the current educational system. The Fraser Institute decries its sheer substantive inadequacy. That the Government of Ontario is so unmoved by the discrimination and so indifferent to the system’s glaring deficiencies defies understanding and offends conscience.
MacPherson’s article can be found at:
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Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)
January 13, 2023