'New York City invests twice as much per student in public education as Toronto.'
No Time for Complacency: Education Funding Reality Check ranks Ontario in 46th place compared to the 50 U.S. states and ninth among Canada’s 10 provinces and three territorial jurisdictions.
“The gap is most notable between Ontario and key North American cities,” says the study’s author, CCPA research associate Hugh Mackenzie. “In fact, New York City invests twice as much per student in public education as Toronto."
Mackenzie says Ontario’s school funding shortfall is built right into a funding formula that desperately needs an overhaul. He finds the following core flaws in the formula:
- Insufficient funding to cover the basics of education, which forces school boards to draw money from other areas to fill the gaps.
- Under investment in programs required to support students with special needs in Ontario’s diverse population.
- A lack of funding for local priorities, which forces school boards to rely on school-based fund raising for services not covered by the funding formula. As a result, students in low-income areas go with less than students in high-income areas.
- A narrow view of education that was designed to curtail school funding but is inconsistent with the economic and social needs of a modern society.
- A complete lack of accountability to ensure the provincial government responds to the inadequacy of its funding to schools.
“It’s long past time for a major overhaul in how Ontario funds its public school system,” says Mackenzie. “It’s also time for a permanent, independent third party commission to depoliticize the funding process and make sure Ontario’s schools get the funding they need to give students a fighting chance.”
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