Fixing Ontario’s education system

Marcus Ryan, township councillor for Zorra township posted comments to TVO’s “The Agenda with Steve Paiken” about getting rid of school boards in Ontario and put schools under the administration local municipalities. It’s an idea, but I fear that some poorly managed municipalities would do more harm than good having control of schools. It’s bad enough they have a municipal budget to handle, let alone a school or several schools.

Ryan’s posting to Twitter prompted me to put finger to keyboard (modern day pen to paper) and come up with seven points that I think would fix Ontario’s education system. Here they are:

  1. Constitutional amendment removing separate school boards as per Section 93 of the BNA act and Section 26 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It would only need to be approved by Ontario, and by the Federal Parliament. Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador both did this nearly two decades ago. This would merge our school system from five (English Public, English Catholic, English Anglican — yes there is one of those, French Catholic, and French Public) to just one system, offering English and French schools, with French-Immersion and English-Immersion where needed or asked for.
  2. Schools would be secular. Religion, or lack for those who do not practice, are best for places of worship and the family, not in school.
  3. School board budgets must be approved by taxpayer vote. Every year.
  4. Every municipality must have at least one secondary school and one elementary school, or one K-12 school. Even if the school only has a couple hundred kids or less.
  5. Boards must not provide grandfathered transportation to other schools. No poaching to top up numbers. If you live in a community and want publicly funded education, there’s the school you go to. If you move a few kilometers down the road across a boundary, too bad, you move schools or parents drive their kids to the schools they want them to go to.
  6. Administration salaries are tied to the levels of teachers and evaluated on student success.
  7. Buildings must be kept in good shape. If a 50 year old school is in good shape, it doesn’t need to be replaced. In addition, boards must implement high-tech learning including video conferencing, online, e-learning and resource sharing.

Having five publicly funded education systems in this province is sheer madness in the 21st century.