September 4 2014 – Fresh North American data and a provocative new research paper from an esteemed Ontario academic clinch the argument for making school choice a key part of educational policy for the public good.
The political and policy implications of the Cardus argument are set out in a research paper, Toward a Warmer Climate for Ontario’s Private Schools, by Derek J. Allison, emeritus professor in the education faculty at Western University. Allison reaches back 30 years to the Shapiro commission on private schools in Ontario to buttress the case for education choice being considered a primary public good.
“It is time for Ontario’s schools to be brought in from the cold,” Allison writes. “Almost three decades have passed since the provincial Commission charged with looking into their future presented its report, but nothing of importance has been done.”
He notes that, contrary to recommendations in the Shapiro report, punitive fees have been piled onto non-government schools—including those that actually work against students meeting the standards of Ontario’s Secondary School Diploma.
Allison’s research says this is part of an entrenched pattern with the province’s education bureaucracy to diminish the role of non-government schools—religious and non-religious—as good alternatives to the public system. He notes that there are only eight government officials overseeing more than 1000 private schools, compared with 73 professional staff in leadership of Ontario’s French Language schools, which enrol fewer students than the private schools.
Download the paper at go.cardus.ca/warmerclimate