VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Parents in Vancouver want to know why any money at all is going to private schools at a time when schools are closing, staff are getting laid off, and programs are being cancelled.
Numbers from the BC Teachers’ Federation show funding for private school keeps climbing. Research released in February, 2015 shows funding for independent schools increased by $118-million during the period between the 2005-2006 school year and 2014-2015. That’s a 61 per cent increase.
Public school funding has increased by about 20 per cent during the same time period.
If all planned funding increases go ahead for next school year, private school funding will have gone up by 93 per cent since 2005.
Vancouver District Parents Advisory Council vice-chair Dr. Farah Shroff says the province makes no distinction between religious schools, special schools for children with disabilities, and elite private schools.
She says funding private schools creates two classes of education.
“The private school system often has academic testing in order to get into it. They will not allow students who are not showing promise to go to university. That’s why some of the elite private schools can say 99 to 100 per cent of their graduates go to university. We can’t afford to do that in the public system. We have to take everybody and that’s a good thing. We should be taking everybody. Public education is the great equalizer.”
Dr. Shroff fears BC will become a less tolerant society if we use taxpayer funding to create a two-class system.
She says research has shown the BC Liberals have been eroding other public institutions.
“The Tommy Douglas Institute came out with a study some time ago saying that there were many enemies of public medical care in Canada. It did name several governments, the government of this province being one of them. We could make a very parallel argument for education and say that in fact, privatization and a two-tiered system is heading our way and this is a very dangerous move.”
The Vancouver School Board is also against public funds being used for private education.