Teacher’s ForumCategory: QuestionsWhat are your thoughts on school choice in Ontario? Do you believe it would enhance our public education system?
SQECanadaSQECanada Staff asked 1 year ago
Teachers are the heart of school life. SQE is interested in hearing about their experiences, challenges, and ideas. We’ve created a forum here that will give you a safe space to anonymously post your feedback. (Please note that an email is required for posting purposes, but need not be functional). Every Monday, we will post an idea followed up by a question. We hope to engage you in active, respectful and passionate discourse.

School choice is a term used to describe an alternative to government-run schools. It could include a wide variety of public funding models such as school voucher programs or charter schools. Alberta is the only province in Canada that currently provides an option of charter schools. We believe both students and teachers could benefit from such a model, and would like to hear your feedback.

15 Answers
Abby answered 1 year ago

I’ve been teaching for a long time and I’ve had the privilege of teaching abroad as well as in North America. I’ve taught in public, private and charter schools. I agree with parents and students having a choice. Parents should have the right to choose where to send their child, and choice will increase teacher/school performance via competition of enrolment. There is nothing wrong with healthy competition between schools and students should have the option of attending the school that meets their academic and emotional needs best. Choice will lead to a better education system in Ontario. Choice will eliminate discrimination of certain groups as well as funding/non funding of school options.

Kerry answered 1 year ago
  • Pro-Union teachers won’t want school choice.
  • Charter school teachers aren’t part of unions.
  • Unions have made charter schools illegal in Ontario 
Jack answered 1 year ago

This would be a move away from union teachers and away from seniority based hiring/compensation. Only the cream of the crop teachers would embrace this model. Personally, I’m all for it, but sadly there aren’t many teachers I know that would embrace this.
Plus, the uinions would never allow this and there isn’t a politician that has the balls to take on the uinions. The unions single handedly put politicians in positions of power. It’s a great idea, but unless parents demand it and a brave and transparent politician is willing, School choice will never happen.

Jack answered 1 year ago

This would be a move away from union teachers and away from seniority based hiring/compensation. Only the cream of the crop teachers would embrace this model. Personally, I’m all for it, but sadly there aren’t many teachers I know that would embrace this.
Plus, the uinions would never allow this and there isn’t a politician that has the balls to take on the uinions. The unions single handedly put politicians in positions of power. It’s a great idea, but unless parents demand it and a brave and transparent politician is willing, School choice will never happen.

John Myers answered 1 year ago

No to school choice because we need a “common core” to promote the things our diverse society has in common

  • democrtic citizenshoip
  • rule of law
  • a level of understanding and respect for those who differ from us
  • the capacity to eork out differences or agre to disagree agreeably until new evidence comes our way
Bob answered 1 year ago

I agree with both sides, but more importantly, we need to shine a light on the teachers in the classrooms. As long as we are looking at equity and fairness and banishing discrimination, shouldn’t we talk about hiring practices of teachers in Ontario? Teachers are being hired based on seniority, religion and race. What would happen if we simply hired the best teachers and gave these teachers a voice?
Like students, not all teachers are equal, and yet they are paid the same and hired solely based on seniority? As a teacher and a father of two young boys, I would like to appeal to parents and politicians to work together to create the best schools and hire the best teachers in Ontario.

Steve answered 1 year ago

We can’t have the BEST teachers in front of students in Ontario as long as Regulation 274 exists. Hiring based on seniority is outdated, discriminatory and ineffective. In no other profession would this be tolerated. It’s most unfortunate that the unions have such power to keep this in place. It is detrimental to the students and our education system in Ontario. 
Imagine if Kathleen Wynne or Trudeau put the kids in Ontario first? Regulation 274 would be abolished. It is shameful and an embarrassment that such a regulation exists. It prevents principals from hiring the best teachers. It also prevents teachers from moving from one location to another in Ontario as they are forced to start over at the bottom of a supply list. It is outrageous and goes against everything Kathleen and Mitzie spout about education.

Julie answered 1 year ago

AGREED! I am sure that Kathleen, Justin, and Mitzie are ashamed that this Regulation is in place. But, what can they do? Don’t they have any power over the unions that put them in power? Nope! Even the teachers that disagree with this can’t change anything. The unions have become the dictators in Ontario. It’s disgusting and EVERY politician is afraid to touch school choice or Regulation 274. What an embarrassment! I am a public school teacher in Ottawa, Ontario and this is why I send my own children to private school! NO UNIONS or Regulation 274. My children have the best teachers because they aren’t part of a union. If the teachers aren’t exceptional in the private system they are out, not protected by a dictator (union).

Barb answered 1 year ago

I was a teacher and for the last ten years, I have worked as a principal. My own children are in private school for the exact reasons mentioned above. I struggle with a union that protects mediocre/poor teachers while legally inhibiting school choice with our tax dollars. Regulation 274 does not allow me to hire the best teachers but instead forces me to hire based solely on seniority from the top five candidates given to me from a seniority list. Sometimes, none of the top five candidates are remotely acceptable, but I have no choice but to hire them and pray they don\\\’t cause too much damage. This is a topic discussed amongst principals often, and one we wish we had the power to change. School choice seems to be happening regardless of a voucher system. New private schools are popping up left and right as parents strive to provide more than union teachers hired solely on seniority can provide. https://www.mississauga.com/news-story/7397412-private-school-numbers-up-in-ontario-public-enrolment-down-fraser-institute-study/

Sarah answered 1 year ago

Private school numbers up in Ontario, public enrolment down: Fraser Institute study reports.
This will only increase while the unions are in control and politicians are afraid to address these issues.
 

Kelly answered 1 year ago

 Equity Knowledge Network, which is “intended to bring together educators, school and system leaders, and community partners to work on identifying and removing all forms of discrimination and systemic barriers from schools and classrooms, and uphold diversity, equity, inclusion, and human rights.”
Ans yet the lack of school choice, unions controlling the option of charter schools and Regulation 274 are all examples of discrimination and systemic barriers in schools. Poor Mitzie Hunter and Kathleen Wynne don’t have an answer for that…

Paul answered 1 year ago

In a 2012 poll by Ipsos-Reid, two-thirds of Canadian parents said they would take their children out of the public system and send them to a private school if they could afford it. 

Linda answered 1 year ago
Parents sending their children to Ontario private
schools do so because of dissatisfaction with public schools, according to a
new report published today by The Fraser Institute, an independent Canadian
research organization.
"While enrolment in Ontario's publicly funded schools has not even
doubled over the last four decades, attendance at private schools has more
than quadrupled," Van Pelt said.
    "Parents tend to be attracted to schools that show strong leadership,
clear goals, flexibility, good discipline, high expectations and
parent-teacher collaboration. Many parents believe they will find those
qualities in a private school."

 "Regardless of whether they are seeking a sounder academic environment or
a learning environment that reflects their religious faith, the answers to the
survey reflect dissatisfaction with the current public school system."
Peter answered 1 year ago

Enrollment in public and Catholic schools is declining each year. 
Enrollment in private schools is increasing each year.
You do the math.
Hey, Kathleen Wynne – want to win my votes? Be brave enough to start a conversation about school choice, improving education and merit-based hiring in Ontario! You might not get many teachers voting for you, but you will gain A LOT of respect for doing what is right for the students in Ontario. End the discrimination in schools, boards and of teachers and students.
As a retired teacher, I know change is long overdue!

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