TORONTO – Teachers and education workers are rallying behind a new blueprint to fix Ontario’s 20-year-old education funding formula and they’re calling on all parties to commit to a review of public education funding as part of their election platform.
The blueprint, published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), articulates a set of principles and objectives to guide a review of Ontario’s public school system and its funding needs.
“The education funding formula was flawed from the outset, but now it’s aged beyond the point of repair—it’s time to overhaul the way the province funds public schools in Ontario,” says Erika Shaker, CCPA director of education and outreach.
“Until we fix the way Ontario funds public education, chronic problems such as aging schools, portables, and avoidable school closures will keep rearing their ugly head.”
The blueprint, written by education funding expert Hugh Mackenzie, calls on a review of educating funding based on four key principles:
Inclusive, customized school funding: the report calls for an end to one-size-fits-all funding for schools;
A re-think of funding for students at risk: with increased investment, better targeting and enhanced accountability in special education, learning opportunities and second language funding;
Valuing schools as community anchors: the report concludes that too many schools have been starved of adequate funding, resulting in schools that are disrepair and unhealthy learning conditions;
Valuing the educators in public schools: the report notes that teachers and education workers are on the front line of our schools every day and need to be collaborators in a much-needed system redesign and funding formula transformation.
“The last time Ontario reviewed how it funds public education it was 2002,” says Shaker. “If you were in Grade One in 2002, you’ve already graduated from high school with no fundamental change in how the province funds education, despite clear indications that the funding formula has long needed to be re-evaluated. Clearly, the time to commit to a review is now.”
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