TORONTO – Ontario lags behind other provinces, U.S. states and many developed countries when it comes to providing parents with school choice for their children, which improves student outcomes, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.
“It’s time for Ontario to stop discriminating against ordinary people and start supporting improved educational diversity and specialization for both parents and students,” said Derek Allison, a senior fellow with the Fraser Institute, professor emeritus at the University of Western Ontario and co-author of Bringing School Choice to Ontario.
School choice means that students, and parents, are given the choice to attend an institution other than their district’s public school that better fits their individual learning needs.
The study finds that five other Canadian provinces (BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec) offer better school choice than Ontario, and fully 31 U.S. states also offer more choice for parents to choose schools for their children. As do most western European countries.
Previous research has found that increased school choice better matches the needs and talents of students with improved programming and resources, and ultimately leads to better education outcomes for students.
And by introducing competition among schools, it also enhances innovation in both public and non-public schools while reducing costs, creating better results across the board.
The study notes one way to increase school choice in Ontario would be to reinstate the equity in education tax credit, or similar program to provide financial assistance to lower-income families.
“School choice in Ontario shouldn’t be reserved for the wealthy—it is a valuable tool that can provide better education for students and it should be available to all families.”
“When parents are given the opportunity, they will make better, more informed choices for their children than the government ever could,” Allison said.