The People for Education, an Ontario public schools advocacy group, released a report today that found that Ontario’s public schools raised over $500 million from private (non-government) sources. This includes philanthropy, charitable donations and profits from cafeterias and vending machines. Either kids are being taken to the cleaners at lunchtime or schools have stepped up their efforts to privately finance childrens’ education.
Funding schools is the responsibility of the province. According to the report, while the Liberals have lowered class sizes, art, libraries, special ed, and ESL continue to experience shortfalls. Some of this need is clearly being picked up through charitable donations. The problem with doing this is that it will lead to large inequalities in which some schools will have and more will not. As the People for Education point show, the evidence speaks for itself: the top 10% of fundraising schools “raised more than the bottom 80% put together”.
The province must take this as a sign and fund access to special ed resources and extra-curricular activities. Otherwise, all we’re teaching is a hands-on lesson in systematic inequality.