Since Mike Harris came to town with the intention of cutting taxes at any cost, many of the pillars of Ontario's success have been weakened. One notable victim has been our children's education. A report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, summarized here, indicated that real funding has declined by more than $1,000 per student since the PCs were elected. Funding for the Toronto public school board was slashed $1,979 per student, despite the many high-needs situations in the city (such as English-as-a-Second-Language education in a city where only 53% speak English as their mother tongue). In other words, education funding in Toronto has been cut by nearly 25%.
Our formerly-strong education system, has undoubtedly been a key factor in the success and development of Ontario and its citizens. Unfortunately, we have now faced 7 years of control by the Harris/Eves bunch who seem to have a strategy based on turning Ontario into a competitor with Mississippi. That may be great for owners of manufacturing plants, but what about those of us who don't want to be hill-billies?
Today's news indicates that a major report has been released saying that it is time to reverse this pathetic trend. It remains unclear what our government's response will be:
|Ontario Can't Afford Not to Fund Education|
Premier Ernie Eves gave the report a cool reception, saying some of the investments Rozanski envisions, particularly items he earmarked for new spending, might not be immediate priorities. But Education Minister Elizabeth Witmer promised boards that the recommendations would "not gather dust on the shelf."[Edit -- see also here]