Federal COVID funds must go to PUBLIC not private schools

The federal government recently announced $2 Billion pledged to support school reopening funding.

Alberta's share is $262.8 Million, but there has been no word from the UCP how they plan to allocate the funds. (https://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/alberta-government-still-quiet-on-distribution-use-of-federal-back-to-school-fund)

My concern is that, much like the broken UCP funding formula, it won't adequately help public schools. Instead it will be allocated to fund their supporters and donors in wealthy, elite, or religious private schools for families who have opted-out instead of public classrooms who need the most help.

We must ensure 100% of this new federal funding goes to public schools, especially those with the highest covid risks and economic need. While our public schools languish with class sizes of 40 or 50, private schools are bragging about their small classes and ability to withstand the pandemic. Ninja and trampoline schools are making headlines as private interests seek to profit from and fracture our public schools. Now is the time to focus any dollars on our fragile public education system at our desperate time of need. 

We must say no to corporate welfare and the misuse of our public taxes. Imagine if they took our tax dollars allocated for public libraries and gave it to religious organization or private business to subsidize a bookstore. This is an equally similar egregious misuse.

In Ontario and other provinces, zero public dollars are spent on private schools: by definition, they are private and are 100% self-funded. Alberta has the highest subsidy to private schools in Canada. As we look to balance the provincial budget, $300 million in cash is spent subsidizing private schools, many of whom are posting multi-million dollar surpluses. If the Minister allocates federal funds, the subsidy to private schools will only increase.

On September 8th at our next Edmonton Public Board Meeting, I'm going to ask for a waiver of notice of motion to ensure this money is shared only with public schools and not private schools. We must take a strong stand immediately to make sure that the funding is allocated to the Public, Catholic, and Francophone system, not the private or charter schools.

From the ASBA Choice in Public Education policy position:

Did you know?

  • Alberta funds private schools at a higher rate than any other province, in addition to being able to charge tuition.
  • The public education system in Alberta is widely recognized as being among the best in Canada – and the world.
    • Alberta performs third highest globally in science
    • Alberta performs third highest globally in reading
    • Alberta performs eighth highest in globally in math
  • The public education system offers a variety of program choices to meet the needs of a diverse student population, while remaining accountable to the public through publicly- elected trustees.

Alberta School Boards Association believes:

  • In the public education system comprised of the public, separate and francophone school boards in Alberta.
  • That all students across the province deserve equitable, accessible, inclusive education.
  • That every child deserves the opportunity to achieve their full potential, and this potential is best achieved within a strong public education system.
  • That choice exists in the public education system, and offers a variety of programs based on the needs of students and their local community.

In order to build a viable, sustainable, equitable public education system, public funding should only be spent on public education.

 

 

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  • Michael Janz
    published this page in Blog 2020-10-05 21:13:41 -0600

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