One Helluva Bake Sale

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.

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2 thoughts on “One Helluva Bake Sale

  1. I’ll go one better. How about funding one school board system in both french and english. There is only one pot of money, and funding, for example, increased access to special ed resources and extra-curricular activities, requires moving money from one pot to another pot, the pot doesn’t get bigger.

    HOwever, we fund 4 school board systems: english speaking public board, french speaking public board, english catholic speaking separate board, and french speaking catholic separate board. These are not separate geographical areas, but the duplication of infrastructure and services that are funded is mind blogging. Moving from there, and looking particularly at rural and northern boards, you have declining enrolment, where you have partially full schools. The duplication is literally eating $$$.
    Think about it – reduced bussing, less buildings, less infrastructure and duplicate services, where the number one priority would be serving all students. Freeing up this money, we could afford special ed, after school activities, without all that fund-raising.
    The time has come for Ontario public education to get out of funding separate religious education for one group, just like NFL and Quebec.
    It is not a constitutional issue it requires political will.

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