Violence should never be normalized in school

Schools must avoid the equally misguided extremes of zero-tolerance policies and permissive idealism

Violence should never be normalized in schoolSaunders Secondary School in London, Ont., is home to approximately 2,000 students. It’s been in the news a lot lately, but not in a good way. A recent CBC story quoted an anonymous teacher who described Saunders as a “tinderbox of violence” where students regularly challenge teachers to fist fights after school. Over the last six…

Will the next crisis also shut down in-person schooling?

Should in-person learning be an essential service? Can parents and guardians be included in decisions?

Will the next crisis also shut down in-person schooling?Sometimes it takes a crisis to make things clear. Consider the last two years of rolling pandemic school closures. It’s becoming increasingly clear that Ontario’s government education systems largely failed to serve more than two million students well. Calls for wholesale reform to Ontario education have begun and include revamping all kindergarten-to-Grade-12 curricula and a…

Private schools treated like outcasts in Ontario education system

Ontario's single public school system will never adequately meet the needs of all of its families

Private schools treated like outcasts in Ontario education systemRecent controversy over the provincial government’s provision of rapid tests to independent (private) schools but not public schools stems from the fact that independent schools in Ontario exist in a policy no-man’s-land. If education policy throughout the pandemic has proved anything, it’s that the provincial government doesn’t have the framework to make adequate provisions for…

How independent schools provided quality education in the pandemic

The public system, on the other hand, failed in its response to Covid-19

How independent schools provided quality education in the pandemicAs Ontario’s public schools struggle to accommodate students in a new school year amid what could be a fourth wave of COVID-19, what can the provincial government learn from the last 17 months? For starters, the government needs to accept that huge, industrial-scale schools (typical in the public system) are pretty weak at responding to…

Time for Ontario to tackle university employee compensation

Ontario’s college and university employees have been busy cashing in on massive pay hikes during the pandemic

Time for Ontario to tackle university employee compensationWhile Ontario’s college and university employees have been busy cashing in on massive pay hikes during the pandemic, taxpayers and tuition-paying students have been barely getting by. The newly minted minister responsible for universities and colleges, Jill Dunlop, now has a full knapsack of homework to do on this expensive file. With a $33-billion deficit,…

Ontario teachers’ compensation is the cost elephant in the room

It’s time to bring their sky-high pay down to earth

Ontario teachers’ compensation is the cost elephant in the roomWhile thousands of Ontario teachers are receiving six-figure salaries, a budget crunch at the Ministry of Education means it’s time to bring their sky-high pay down to earth. A report released by the Ontario Financial Accountability Office shows a $200 million funding gap between what the province has budgeted to spend on education and what…

Ontario taxpayers shouldn’t bail out Laurentian University

A bailout would only encourage risky financial decision-making at other universities

Ontario taxpayers shouldn’t bail out Laurentian UniversityIt’s a bad idea to keep adding water to a leaky bucket. Millions of dollars have been gushing out of Laurentian University for years. And it’s not right to plug the holes with taxpayers’ cash. Laurentian University is facing a debt crisis of its own making, and Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s political opponents are calling…

Religious freedom equals educational freedom

The claim that merging Ontario’s government-run and Catholic school systems will save “an estimated $1.6 billion a year” is blarney

Religious freedom equals educational freedomIn terms of cultural insensitivity, the latest call for ending Ontario’s Catholic school funding wins the shamrock, coming, as it did, on St. Patrick’s Day. But if we overlook that faux pas, we still have to consider the pot of gold that would be saved by absorbing Catholic schools into the government-run system. Or do…

Students will be stuck paying the pandemic debt tab

The lingering financial fallout from the pandemic will cost our students for the rest of their lives

Students will be stuck paying the pandemic debt tabThe pandemic has been hard on students of all ages. As many parents can attest, their children have missed the social interaction at school and have struggled to focus during online learning. Post-secondary students have missed out on important and exciting life experiences, too. But even after in-class and on-campus learning has resumed to near…

Why we need to maintain performance-based education

Instead of pursuing the unattainable ideal of academic equality, we should focus on redefining our idea of educational success

Why we need to maintain performance-based educationCanadians have an unhealthy obsession with statistical parity. In 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced his 50-50 cabinet, prioritizing gender over merit in the name of equality. And last summer, Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced the end of academic streaming to combat “systemic racism.” Streaming refers to grouping students based on performance. Beginning in…

More spending on public schools not producing better results in Ontario

Quebec spending per student is 13.6% less than in Ontario yet Quebec students achieve comparable results to students in Ontario

More spending on public schools not producing better results in OntarioBy Tegan Hill and Jason Clemens The Fraser Institute Policy-makers in Ontario often mistakenly think more spending on public education automatically means better results. But despite relatively high and increasing levels of spending on public schools, there hasn’t been a commensurate boost in student performance. More spending on public education doesn’t always mean better results.…

School choice key to improving education

Competition is always better than monopoly and the education system is no exception

School choice key to improving educationThe Ontario government recently announced a new elementary school math curriculum. It’s likely a positive step but more fundamental funding changes are necessary to truly improve the province’s education system. The province will return to a “back to basics” approach to math aimed at improving standardized test scores. It will also introduce lessons on financial…

International students play (and pay) a bigger role in Ontario

And funding changes promised by the provincial government will likely shift the economic balance even further

International students play (and pay) a bigger role in OntarioOntario students and universities face major changes in the next academic year, from performance-based funding to tuition decreases, introduced by the provincial government. The province plans to reduce tuition by 10 per cent across all universities. So schools are looking to international students to help offset the loss in revenue, since the tuition decrease only…

Independent schools should be encouraged, funded in Ontario

A survey shows that independent school graduates are much more likely to work for the common good. How can that be bad?

Independent schools should be encouraged, funded in OntarioBy Doug Sikkema and Dr. Beth Green Cardus More than six per cent of children in Ontario are enrolled in independent (non-public) schools. In the 1960s, such independent school enrolments made up a mere 1.8 per cent of the student population. Six per cent might not seem like much, but the long-term trend in Ontario…

What Betsy DeVos could learn about school choice from Ontario

Unfortunately, the U.S. Education Secretary would have to visit the past to find truly innovative approaches to school choice

What Betsy DeVos could learn about school choice from OntarioBetsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s Education Secretary, is charged with promoting school choice. She was about to visit Ontario recently but her visit was cancelled. One cannot but wonder if DeVos’ advisors learned of how Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal party clawed its way to power by smothering a truly innovative school choice program in its cradle.…