Late last year, GAJE reported on the publication of a landmark study by Cardus, the public policy think tank, entitled Naturally Diverse: The Landscape of Independent Schools in Ontario.
The study provides an up-to-date, in-depth portrait of Ontario’s independent school scene. The report’s authors – David Hunt, Joanna DeJong VanHof and Jenisa Los – have provided the public and the policy makers at Queen’s Park the truth-seekers key that unlocks the chest of empirical data concerning independent schools in Ontario.
The information in Naturally Diverse is indispensable for formulating the very best public educational policy. It is indispensable for separating the truth about independent schools from the fictions that have negatively influenced the attitudes of editorial writers and government officials for so many years about the families who send their children to independent schools. The Cardus report can be found at:
The authors demonstrate conclusively that independent schools are a multi-purpose, multi-faceted, multi-pedagogical tapestry of diverse families and students. They are definitively NOT a bastion of elite, top tier schools. Only 61 of Ontario’s 1,445 independent schools – 4.2%, or 16% of the students – are “top tier” schools, while religious school students account for 44% of students in independent schools.
The study is laden with eye-popping nuggets of information that, together, comprise the deep lode of important data. For example:
• Fully 25% of schools in Ontario are independent (1445+ as of 2020, prior to Covid).
• The number of independent schools has increased by 51.5% since 2013 (954 in 2013 to 1,445 in 2020, prior to COVID).
• It is estimated that 9.7% of Ontario students are currently educated outside of government-funded schools (Prior to COVID it was 7.4%).
• A majority of independent school parents earn average household incomes (ie. nurses, teachers, small business owners).
We ask the Ontario’s Minister of Education to look at the next five largest provinces in the country to see how they balance fiscal responsibility with achieving superior educational policy along with fundamental fairness and justice.
Parents of Ontario Indpendent School Students (POISS) enable all of us to do just that. POISS has compiled an infographic showing how Ontario’s support for independent schools compares with the five next biggest provinces. The source sheets for the information in the infographic are also available on the site https://parentsofontarioindependentschoolstudents.ca
The precise detail appears in the POISS infographics. But at a quick glance, it is illuminating and important to know that:
BC pays 35%-50% of the general per student allocation to students in qualifying schools;
Manitoba pays 50% of the general per student allocation to students in qualifying schools;
Quebec pays 60% of the general per student allocation to students to qualifying schools;
Alberta pays 70% of the general per student allocation to students to qualifying schools;
Saskatchewan pays 80% of the general per student allocation to students in qualifying schools.
Ontario, the largest and richest of the provinces, spends nothing for the benefit of the children who attend and/or need to attend independent schools. How is this anachronistic, harmful policy justified today? To the extent that the Ontario Ministry of Education bases its discriminaory educational funding policy on outdated, incorrect information and upon the myths of independent schools being elite schools, we plead with the minister to align his ministry’s funding policies with best educational policy practices and equally as important, with the dictates of conscience and basic fairness. The Government of Ontario should not ignore the educational needs of the 150,000 children attending independent schools. Nor should it support or prefer the educational needs of the students of one religion to the exclusion of the other religions in the province.
Ontario is a better place than this.
If you wish to contribute to GAJE’s lawsuit for fairness in educational funding, please click here.
For further information, please contact Israel Mida at: email@example.com
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)
February 24, 2023