In last week’s update we reminded readers of the seminal study released by Cardus in 2021 that carefully calibrated the cost to Ontario of actually providing some level of funding for the benefit of the children in the province’s independent schools.
We bear in mind that the Cardus researchers based their calculations on information available in 2021. But their study is as deeply relevant today as it was then. Indeed, more so. The study proves that the government’s decision not to give funding to independent schools turns on political will not on fiscal prudence.
Cardus established that within the scope of Ontario’s 2021 estimated annual budget, funding independent schools through a range of some 21 possible funding formulae – all of them based on current practices within Canada – would cost Ontario around 1/3 to 4/5 of 1 percent (0.3% to 0.8%) of the budget. “In other words,” the study concluded, “any of these funding options is a relatively minimal cost to substantially benefit the families who need it most.”
As we know, all of the western provinces as well as Quebec, find the financial means to provide funding for independent schools in their province.
Some 5 million people live in British Columbia. Its projected budgetary expenditures for 2023 was $81.2 billion.
The BC Ministry of Education and Child Care describes the purpose of school system thus: “to enable the more than 570,000 public school students, 89,000 independent school students, and more than 4,500 home-schooled children enrolled each school year, to develop their individual potential and to acquire the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to contribute to a healthy society and a prosperous and sustainable economy. “
Albertahas a population of 4.4 million people. The expenditures of the 2023 budget were forecast as some $68.3 billion.
Alberta’s Ministry of Education describes its education system as being “built on a values-based approach to accepting responsibility for all children and students. Inclusion is a way of thinking and acting that demonstrates universal acceptance of, and belonging for, all children and students.”
Ontario is the most populous province in the country. Some 15 million people live here. Ontario’s projected budget for 2023 is around $204 billion. Yet, the government has closed its heart to the children in its independent schools.
It is not surprising therefore, compared to BC and Alberta, the mission statement of our Ministry of Education is a meek statement of cliché and platitude. “The Ministry of Education is responsible for delivering a high-quality publicly funded education system from Kindergarten to Grade 12, and for the oversight of Ontario’s child care and early years system. The ministry is committed to ensuring the province remains a leading education system, both in English and French.”
Inexplicable, Ontario persists in finding no reason – neither sound public policy nor even conscience – to provide funds to independent schools. GAJE hopes this will change. GAJE hopes the courts will agree that this discrimination can no longer be justified in the year 2023.
Passover begins this evening. It is our fervent hope that everyone who reads this update will enjoy the holiday and savour the commemoration as one of historic connection, religious significance and family delight.
The messages deeply encoded into the Haggadah – some overt, many nuanced – are of hope. Each generation understood those messages according to the circumstances of their respective time. Never ever lose hope. That is the affirmation of a people used to struggling against greater numbers and against the odds. That message inspires GAJE.
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: 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.
Chag Pesach samayach. Shabbat shalom
Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)
April 5, 2023