GAJE seeks to extend not to abolish (2)

Last week we wrote about the decision by Judge Fred Myers dismissing the application by Adrienne Havercroft and James Sutton seeking a declaration that would have ended public funding for Catholic separate schools in Ontario.

Judge Myers noted that the “Supreme Court of Canada has determined the issues already. The issues raised in this application are not new. There has been no change in circumstances that fundamentally shifts the parameters of the legal debate.”

And as we also wrote and emphasized last week – even though GAJE is also suing the Government of Ontario to change its educational funding policies – there is no similarity between the GAJE lawsuit and that Havercroft/Sutton lawsuit.

The Havercroft/Sutton application sought to abolish funding for Catholic schools. GAJE’s application seeks to apply and extend the original purpose of the 1867 founding constitutional agreement – namely, to protect minorities – to other religious minorities as well. The differences between the two applications are patent and profound.

In asking the court to confer legal sanction to GAJE’s request to compel Ontario to extend educational funding to other minorities, GAJE will follow the two-step legal path outlined by Judge Myers in the Havercroft/Sutton decision. Judge Myers wrote: “There are two situations when a judge is free to reconsider a decision of a senior court. The first occurs when a new legal issue is raised that was not considered before. The second occurs when there has been a change in circumstances that fundamentally shift the parameters of the debate. See: Carter v. Canada (Attorney General)”.

GAJE hopes to demonstrate that new legal issues have indeed emerged since the Supreme Court ruled in 1996 (the Adler case) that Ontario’s refusal to also fund non-Catholic denominational schools was legal. In addition, GAJE will demonstrate that there has indeed been a significant change in the circumstances relating to independent school funding in Ontario and throughout Canada over the more than 27 years since the Adler decision.

•••

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: imida1818@gmail.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.

•••

Shabbat shalom

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)

January 27, 2023

Advertisement
Posted in Uncategorized

GAJE seeks to extend not to abolish

An Ontario judge has re-affirmed what all Ontarians – and Canadians – have known for many years: funding Catholic schools in Ontario is constitutional and legal. The Superior Court dismissed an application brough by Adrienne Havercroft that sought a ruling ending public funding for separate schools in the province.

Judge Fred Myers agreed with the province that the application should be struck even before a full hearing on the matter as showing no cause of action. He noted that the “Supreme Court of Canada has determined the issues already. The issues raised in this application are not new. There has been no change in circumstances that fundamentally shifts the parameters of the legal debate.”

Regular readers of this update, supporters, and followers of GAJE know that the government of Ontario has brought the same motion to strike GAJE’s application to achieve fair, equitable, funding. That motion is scheduled to be heard April 20.

It should be stated and restated at the very outset that there is no similarity between the relief GAJE seeks and that which Ms. Havercroft sought.

The Havercroft application sought to abolish funding for Catholic schools. The original purpose of that funding in 1867 was to protect religious minorities in the confederating provinces. GAJE’s application seeks to extend that original positive intention to protect minorities to other religious minorities as well. The differences between the two applications could not be starker.

David Hunt, education program director of Cardus made this very point to the Catholic Register.

He pointed out that some 61% of Canadians support at least partial funding for other religious school systems as is the case in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec.

“If we’re going to have religious freedom, that requires educational freedom to preserve and pass on the faith. If we believe in religious freedom here in Canada, that religious freedom needs to extend through all legitimate faith communities,” he said.

Hunt reminded the Register that Cardus has produced an economic analysis that showed an expansion of religious education rights would cost the Ontario treasury  between 0.3- to 0.8-per-cent increase in the provincial budget depending upon the model of funding adopted by the province.

“The reason we fund any schools,” Hunt said, “is because the education of my neighbour’s kids or the lack thereof is going to have a profound impact on, not just that immediate family, but the entire community. That’s why we fund education, because it is a social good that impacts all of us”.

GAJE emphatically agrees with Hunt. Funding Catholic education in school is legal. But why should the province not be moved by conscience, by seeking the best educational outcomes, or by seeking the best civic examples and outcomes, to also fund other religious communities and independent schools too?

The story about the decision in the Hamilton Spectator is available at:

https://www.thespec.com/news/hamilton-region/2022/12/07/ontario-catholic-school-funding-lawsuit.html

The story about the decision in The Catholic Register story is available at:

https://www.catholicregister.org/item/35144-ontario-court-sides-with-catholic-schools-over-public-funding-challenge

•••

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: imida1818@gmail.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.

•••

Shabbat shalom

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)

January 20, 2023

Posted in Uncategorized

Ontario could provide more choice, but refuses

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:

https://www.fraserinstitute.org/article/heres-what-school-choice-in-ontario-could-look-like-for-parents

•••

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: imida1818@gmail.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.

•••

Shabbat shalom

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)

January 13, 2023

Posted in Uncategorized

A review of first principles

The first weekly update of the new calendar year is an appropriate observation post from which, briefly, to look back to where we have been and to scan the horizon for the hopeful sunrise of fair educational funding.

In three months, at Pesach, we will mark the eighth year since the founding of GAJE. Our mission was, and remains, to help make Jewish education in our community affordable for every family that wishes to send its children to a Jewish day school. It was our view then – and remains our view today – that “the affordability of Jewish education is the most important immediate and long-term priority for our community leaders…. By striving to make Jewish education more affordable, we fulfill a moral obligation to our community and a historic obligation to the wider Jewish people.”

Those words, written some eight years ago, attempted to encapsulate what it means to belong to the Jewish people: we link hands and hearts, so to speak, with all generations from one to the next, forever. In his elegant commentary on this week’s Torah portion, Vayehi, Rabbi Marc D. Angel, paints the portrait of inter-generational connection with sharply clarifying and emotion-evoking colours. The following statements are excerpted from his dvar Torah.

“Children are not born into a historical vacuum. They are heirs to the generations of their family going back through the centuries and millennia. In the case of Jewish children (and grandchildren), they are not only heirs to their particular family’s traditions, but “inherit” all the previous generations of the Jewish people going back to the time of Abraham and Sarah.

“The challenge to the older generations is to transmit to the new generations a feeling of connectedness with the past.

“We want our children and grandchildren to understand that they are engaged in a life-long dialogue among all the generations of their family and of their people. What a wonderful gift to give children! And what a tragedy when this gift is not conveyed!”

It is widely agreed among all expert and lay observers that the best – though not the only – means by which to convey that feeling of connectedness to children and grandchildren is through comprehensive, intense Jewish education as modeled and reinforced at home and among peers.

Yet, if that education is not affordable, it is merely a theoretical possibility and not an actual experience. The founding of GAJE was intended to help bring about true affordability of day school education. “The status quo is an affront to conscience. Inaction is not an option. Nor is failure,” GAJE wrote in 2015.

We are happy to be able to write that the status quo in 2023 is decidedly different than it was in 2015. Dan Held, UJA’s Chief Program Officer, has noted that “affordability and enrollment are intrinsically linked.” And so, the community acted upon that link. To achieve higher enrollment, UJA facilitated the reduction of tuition at the community high school (Tanenbaum CHAT). The result has been higher enrollment in the high school. Higher enrollment is now also rippling encouragingly through elementary day schools.

But the task of helping achieve true affordability for all young families is far from complete.

Ontario’s educational funding supports and prefers one religion to the exclusion of the others. Indeed, to the ongoing perplexity and frustration of most knowledgeable observers, Ontario gives nothing toward the cost of running independent schools – unlike the educational funding practices of the next five most populous provinces in the country.

As readers of this weekly update know, GAJE has launched an application in court to compel Ontario to change its unfair, unjust, discriminatory, anachronistic, regressive policies. Our next day in court is April 20 defending against the aggressive effort by the government to strike our application before we have had an opportunity to plead our case.

What GAJE wrote in 2015 in relation to the larger issue of educational affordability, applies with equal meaning and force to Ontario’s educational funding. “The status quo is an affront to conscience. Inaction is not an option. Nor is failure.”

•••

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: imida1818@gmail.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.

•••

Shabbat shalom

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)

January 6, 2023

Posted in Uncategorized

Summing up to this point…

As the last page from the calendar year 2022 falls away tomorrow night, we provide a brief update summary of developments in our legal challenge to Ontario’s ongoing, discriminatory refusal to fund Jewish day schools. Regular readers of this weekly update will be familiar with the following details.

In early September 2022, we reported that the Ontario Federation of Independent Schools (OFIS) wished to intervene in support of GAJE’s case at the Superior Court. The governments of Ontario and Canada at first opposed OFIS’s request. Shortly before the Superior Court hearing, OFIS and the governments reached an agreement on OFIS’s joining the case. The Court approved the agreement with GAJE’s concurrence on October 3, paving the way for OFIS to participate as amicus curiae, a “friend of the court” in our application.

To obtain the consent of the governments, OFIS agreed not to participate in the motion of the governments to strike our case and to abide by certain evidentiary filing restrictions on the main constitutional law application launched by GAJE and some individual plaintiffs.

OFIS’s participation will strengthen our case. OFIS was established in 1974. It is the largest independent school association in Ontario with 97 affiliated schools. It is also the most diverse, with membership from faith-based schools, culturally-based schools, alternative educational schools, special needs and neurodiverse schools, community-based schools, and arts and athletics schools. Independent schools are attended by more than 150,000 students, or 6.9% of all students enrolled in the province.

The government’s motion to strike our application is scheduled to be heard on April 20, 2023.We remain confident our case will go forward. It has merit. We believe the Ontario Ministry of Education bases its discriminatory educational funding policy on outdated, incorrect information and upon now-dispelled myths about public funding for independent schools.

A recent publication by Cardus, the public policy think tank, entitled Naturally Diverse: The Landscape of Independent Schools in Ontario, provides current, detailed information on Ontario’s independent schools. We brought this important report to the attention of our readers and supporters at the time it was published. Its authors – David Hunt, Joanna DeJong VanHof and Jenisa Los – enable the public to understand exactly who and what the province’s independent schools are. Equally important, they enable government officials to make public policy based upon fact, not myth and in the process put paid to the harmful, false notion that extending any funds to independent schools would provide taxpayer funds to the well-heeled families of the province’s elite schools. 

The authors conclusively prove 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 the 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 Cardus report can be found at:

https://www.cardus.ca/research/education/reports/naturally-diverse-the-landscape-of-independent-schools-in-ontario/

If GAJE succeeds in its pursuit of justice and the end of discrimination in educational funding policy in Ontario, the outcome has the potential of helping make Jewish education in Ontario more affordable in perpetuity for all the families that seek it for their children.

We know that you understand the importance of our cause.

•••

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: imida1818@gmail.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.

•••

Shabbat shalom.

Best wishes for a healthy, meaningful coming year of manifold blessings for our community and for the world

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)

December 30, 2022

Posted in Uncategorized

Inside Jewish Day Schools (CHAT)

In last week’s GAJE report, we introduced readers to the recently published work Inside Jewish Day Schools by internationally recognized scholars of Jewish life and Jewish education Alex Pomson and Jack Wertheimer. The authors examined the day-to-day operations of nine Jewish day schools in North America, one of which is the Anne and Max Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto (CHAT).

TanenbaumCHAT is a coeducational community Jewish high school that offers “an extensive educational experience, inside the classroom and beyond.” Its current enrollment is an eye-opening figure of some1,300 students.

The authors are clearly impressed with the school. They write that “the story of how the school has been able to thrive despite constraints (some shared by other schools and some peculiar to Toronto) can be instructive even, and perhaps especially, to those who may consider their own circumstances less fortunate.”

The 25-page report on CHAT is entitled It’s All in a Name. The very name of the school, the authors suggest, points to the fact that the school operationally integrates ‘Community’, ‘Hebrew’ and ‘Academy ’in a manner that sets the school apart from most other Jewish high schools.

Pomson and Wertheimer examine the issues positive and negative that arise for administrators in effectively running the school while remaining true to its mission. They do not ignore uncomfortable discussions. But they do make broad observations about the administrators’ rigorous devotion to the school’s history, context and loyalty to a framework of overarching values.

For example, in relation to the school’s acceptance of a wide demographic cross section of students, the authors write: “Being as inclusive as possible is not a hollow promise. Fewer than twenty students drop out each year, a number that translates into a retention rate of 97 percent, higher than at most of Toronto’s Jewish elementary schools. Maintaining such high rates of retention is possible because of the considerable ideological alignment of parents with the school’s Jewish ethos and because of the extensive infrastructure that exists to support students behaviourally, academically and emotionally.”

The chapter on CHAT is informative and positive, without being fatuously flattering. Current and former parents, students and graduates will find the study interesting and worthwhile.

As we wrote last week the authors hold the view that “day schools offer an unparalleled Jewish education to young people: no other educational vehicles can match day schools as providers of skills and content learning in Jewish studies. Day schools therefore serve a critical role in preparing the next generation of Jewish leaders and active participants.”

Pomson and Wertheimer chronicle how Tannenbaum CHAT helps to fulfill that critical role.

•••

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: imida1818@gmail.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.

•••

Shabbat shalom.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)

December 23, 2022

Posted in Uncategorized

Inside Jewish Day Schools (1)

Alex Pomson and Jack Wertheimer have written a fascinating, informative work entitled Inside Jewish Day Schools. The authorsare uniquely qualified to have undertaken the study. Both are internationally recognized scholars of Jewish life and Jewish education. Pomson is Principal & Managing Director of Rosov Consulting Israel. Wertheimer is the Joseph and Martha Mendelson Professor of American Jewish History at the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Published by Brandeis University Press, the book examines the day-to-day operations of nine Jewish day schools in North America. One of the schools is Tanenbaum CHAT of our own community in Toronto. The authors acknowledge that these nine schools are not representative of the entirety of the day school sector in North America. However, they do believe that “taken together, our sample of nine schools is sufficiently diverse organizationally and ideologically to support a series of conclusions about what Jewish day schools in North America today are able to offer students, families and communities and what constrains them at times from doing so.”

Pomson and Wertheimer intend their book to be a guide to those wishing to understand the contemporary Jewish day school. And there is no doubt, according to the authors, that for many young Jewish families deciding upon the education of their children, it could be worthwhile to understand these schools. For, in the authors’ views, “day schools offer an unparalleled Jewish education to young people: no other educational vehicles can match day schools as providers of skills and content learning in Jewish studies. Day schools therefore serve a critical role in preparing the next generation of Jewish leaders and active participants.”

Of course, GAJE agrees with the authors’ proposition about day schools. We also believe, as do most observers of the benefits of a day school education, including Pomson and Wertheimer, that day schools provide to so many of their graduates the skills, abilities and strength of character required to contend with and thrive amid the unceasing challenges of life in its wide unpredictable sweep.

At the end of the work, the authors summarize the day schools’ contributions to the lives of the children who attend the schools, to the families of the students and to the respective communities of the schools and the families live. Not surprisingly, indeed quite essentially, the heart of their conclusions about the unique contributions of the schools is the poignant, incisive depiction of the far-reaching, life-sustaining place day schools reach but that public schools cannot.

In next week’s update, we will look at some of the authors’ observations about the daily Tananbaum CHAT experience.

•••

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: imida1818@gmail.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.

•••

Shabbat shalom.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)

December 16, 2022

Posted in Uncategorized

A comprehensive primer for achieving affordability

Last month, Dan Held, UJA’s Chief Program Officer, published an article for Prizmah, the North America-wide network for Jewish day schools that supports schools with services such as resources, research, programming, school services and peer-to-peer connections.

In the article, entitled Experiments in Affordability Programs: Major Findings, Held shares with the wide Prizmah constituency, a succinct statement of conclusions about growing Jewish education, especially among non-Orthodox families, through affordability initiatives. His conclusions, of course, are based upon the innovative interventionist measures undertaken in the past half decade by the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.

Held proceeds from the now empirically proven principle that “affordability and enrollment are intrinsically linked.” He offers a tightly written, instructive, important primer on the various inter-related factors to be considered when devising either a system-wide or school specific policy on affordability tailored to the unique characteristics of the community. As equally important as the substantive advice Held imparts in the article, is its upwardly arcing encouragement that affordability is achievable and through affordability, of course, higher enrollment in the day schools.

“Coming out of the pandemic,” Held writes, “enrollment has grown in many schools, philanthropy is flowing, and perceived value is high. Given that affordability initiatives have a greater impact on enrollment when launched from a place of strength rather than a place of challenge, now is the moment to move the needle.” (Our emphasis)

As Held notes elsewhere in his essay, the “needle” of enrollment in the GTA has indeed moved in the right direction in the past few years as a result of the community’s creative affordability initiatives. Philanthropists have generously responded. Policy planners have implemented new, bold programs. Everyone applauds this current success. But everyone also agrees we cannot be complacent about it. Current success is no guarantor of future success. Like all durable, sound, reliable infrastructure, permanent long-term affordability of day school tuition requires ongoing maintenance.

With unceasing, alarming rises in the overall cost of living, let alone the cost of “Jewish” living, we therefore cannot ignore the “large elephant in the room of day school affordability” that should be factored into ensuring the long-term maintenance of the infrastructure of day school.

Contrary to all reliable evidence about how best to advance the provincial educational system, and unlike the policies of the next five most populous provinces in the country, Ontario gives nothing toward the cost of running independent schools. Worse. Ontario’s educational funding supports and prefers one religion to the exclusion of the others.

We understand and appreciate the unabating financial and other pressures on the government in budgeting for the efficient, forward-looking, responsible, fair running of the province. But we shall not acquiesce in or remain silent about Ontario’s perplexing disdain for doing the right educational thing. Conscience compels action.

Dan Held’s article can be found at:

https://www.google.com/url?q=https://go.ujafed.org/e/772983/bility-programs-major-findings/2ns113f/1043726337?h%3DsWLqPXEXtB0ea0E_NPCuSrYsl-03j79SdfiM_qbnbPQ&source=gmail&ust=1670424197487000&usg=AOvVaw3j_LrE4KRp09T-crS08LxJ

•••

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: imida1818@gmail.comvCharitable 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.

•••

Shabbat shalom.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)

December 9, 2022

Posted in Uncategorized

The landscape of independent schools in Ontario (2)

Last week, we reported on the publication of the study by Cardus, the public policy think tank, entitled Naturally Diverse: The Landscape of Independent Schools in Ontario. The study is a timely work of research that provides current, detailed data of Ontario’s independent schools. The report’s authors – David Hunt, Joanna DeJong VanHof and Jenisa Los – enable the public to understand exactly who and what the province’s independent schools are. Equally important, they enable officials to make public policy based upon fact, not myth and in the process, put paid to the harmful, false notion that extending any funds to independent schools is to provide taxpayer funds to the well-heeled families of the province’s elite schools.

The study is a seminal work focused solely on independent schools in Ontario. It ought to be read by the Minister of Education, his ministry policy officials, his personal staff and by every Member of the Provincial Parliament.

Because of its importance, we shall refer this week as well to some of the key introductory remarks by the authors. They identify a number of core questions that the study explores:

• What types and subtypes of independent schools make up the sector?

• What is the purpose of these schools?

• How do they differentiate themselves?

• What is the nature of independent schools?

• Why do they exist?

The authors examine where the schools are located and how they deliver their education, along with other key factors that define Ontario’s independent-school landscape.

There is no doubt that more parents are choosing independent schools for the unique learning and educational needs of their children. The report notes that over the past two decades, enrolment in Ontario’s independent schools has increased from 4.1 percent of total K–12 provincial enrolment to 7 percent.

The authors conclusively prove 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. Merely 61 of the 1,445 independent schools—4.2 percent— are “top tier” schools.

As with the community’s day schools, the authors state without ambiguity that “independent schools in Ontario are typically non-profit charities that are financed entirely by tuition fees and donation. …No public funding is provided to independent schools in Ontario.”

The empirically unassailable information contained in this report calls to conscience.

How can Ontario simply ignore the families and the children in independent schools? How can Ontario prefer and support the education of only one religious group in the province to the exclusion of the others? What does Ontario’s unjust, unfair, anachronistic education funding policy say about the province’s true loyalty to our charter of rights and freedoms?

The full report can be found at:

https://www.cardus.ca/research/education/reports/naturally-diverse-the-landscape-of-independent-schools-in-ontario/

•••

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: imida1818@gmail.comvCharitable 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.

•••

Shabbat shalom.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)

December 2, 2022

Posted in Uncategorized

Dispelling the stereotypes, finally

Ontario is the glaring outlier among the six most populous provinces in Canada, adamantly and illogically refusing to extend public funds to independent schools.

It has always been assumed that one of the reasons for Ontario’s obstinacy has been the presumed extra expense of doing so. But reputable, definitive studies and the experiences of the western provinces and of Quebec categorically refute this assumption.

It has also always been assumed that another reason for Ontario’s abject refusal to help fund independent schools has been to avoid the perceived threat such funding would pose to the viability of the public school board system. But here too, reputable, definitive studies and the experiences of the western provinces and of Quebec refute this assumption.

It has also been assumed that Ontario’s denial of any funds to independent schools stems from the fear of appearing to lavish taxpayer funds upon the very well-heeled families of the province’s elite schools. Now however, there is definitive proof dispelling the harmful, inaccurate, even mendacious stereotypes regarding independent schools and the families and the children who comprise them.

Cardus, the public policy think tank, this week published a report entitled, Naturally Diverse: The Landscape of Independent Schools in Ontario, that provides an up-to-date, detailed snapshot of Ontario’s independent schools. The authors of the report David Hunt, Joanna DeJong VanHof and Jenisa Los have provided an innovative, ground-breaking study that enables policy-makers and the curious public to understand exactly who and what are the province’s independent schools.

The authors identified three reasons for conducting the study. “First, there is no accepted or widely used typology of independent schools. Second, independent schools are poorly understood in Ontario, which leads to misinformed public narratives and affects public policy. And third, the sector has grown considerably in recent years. Despite dozens of independent schools closing each year, the number of independent schools in Ontario has increased by at least 51.5 percent since the last (and only) study of this kind was conducted—from 954 in 2013–14 to at least 1,445 as of July 2022. “

The authors identified six distinct types of independent schools: Religious, Special Emphasis (e.g., Montessori, STEM, Arts), Top Tier (member of an elite school association), Preparatory, Credit Emphasis, and Other. According to these six types of independent schools, they counted and analyzed 1,445 schools. In addition to school type, the authors “explored schools’ different approaches to educational delivery, accreditation and school-association membership, geographic location, and additional variables like school size.”

For the brief summary purpose of this GAJE update and to help to finally put paid to the false notion that independent schools are but bastions for the elite and the wealthy, the report categorizes merely 61 of the 1,445 independent schools—4.2 percent— to be Top Tier schools.

“Ontario’s independent-school landscape is robust in its diversity. Special Emphasis schools, for instance, accommodate an immense variety of pedagogical approaches, educational philosophies, lifestyle decisions such as high-performance sport training, neurodiverse learning styles, and other non-traditional learning opportunities.

“Independent schools serve a diverse set of students and needs that district schools do not or cannot, given that district schools exist to provide universal education. Pluralism in education contributes to the common good. An increasing number of Ontario families are enrolling their children in independent schools, and their reasons for doing so vary. We hope that our research will encourage Ministry of Education officials, policy-makers, researchers, and the general public to better understand these varied motivations, needs, and purposes of the families and the schools that make up this innovative and growing sector.”

This important report should be consulted and widely shared. It is beyond unconscionable that Ontario’s education system in 2022 is indifferent and oblivious to the widely differing, educational needs of its diverse population, only supports and favours the education of one religious group to the exclusion of all others, and appears to base its policy upon outdated thinking and entirely false factual assumptions.

The full report can be found at:

https://www.cardus.ca/research/education/reports/naturally-diverse-the-landscape-of-independent-schools-in-ontario/

•••

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: imida1818@gmail.comvCharitable 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.

•••

Shabbat shalom.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)

November 25, 2022

Posted in Uncategorized
Like Us on Facebook!
Parents Tell Their Stories

We would like to share personal stories about how the affordability issue has affected families in our community. We will post these stories anonymously on our Facebook page and on our website.

We will not include any personal information such as names, schools, other institutions, or any other identifying information. We reserve the right to edit all submissions.

To share your story, either send us a message on our Facebook page or email us @ info @ gaje.ca.

%d bloggers like this: