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Alternative funding models, consumer ‘choice’ would severely compromise public school education

September 27, 2018

Should the Ontario government proceed with alternative funding models and consumer ‘choice’ in education, public schools across the province would be put in severe jeopardy, according to the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO).

“The very heart of public schools in rural, suburban and urban areas across this province would be extremely compromised and that’s not a choice that many parents, students and educators would want to make,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond. Recommendations for alternative funding models and consumer choice in services were made in Premier Ford’s review of government spending released this week.

“When a ‘consumer choice’ model was introduced in the United States and funding was tied to outcomes, it created a downward spiral that has left many public schools there in tatters.”

“As in Ontario, schools in well-to-do areas have thrived because fundraising is used to pay for things like school trips, new technology and outdoor learning spaces,” said Hammond.

“But what happens when schools face declining enrolment or have students with significant learning challenges like language barriers, special needs, racial barriers and health issues arising from poverty? If you take money out of the public system to pay for private schools, these public schools will have even less funding and resources. They need the funding the most if their students are to succeed.”

ETFO believes that the heart of Ontario’s public education is that it provides an equitable education for every student regardless of their family’s economic circumstances, their cultural background or where they live.  If Ontario is to have a generation of students who are all fully able to contribute to a highly productive Ontario workforce, the government must ensure public schools each have the tools and resources to meet the diversity of students’ needs. 

“Rather than privatize education, the government needs to undertake a review of the education funding formula to build better schools for everyone,” added Hammond.

For ETFO’s recommendations on what the government needs to do to build better schools, please visit The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province.

For more information, contact ETFO Media Relations:
Valerie Dugale, 1-888-838-3836 x2331, cell 416-948-0195,
Denise Hammond, 1-888-838-3836 x2772, cell 416-948-2428,