Globe: Your public school sucks

The Globe and Mail’s recent Unhealthy Schools series finds that our public schools are mouldy, serve unhealthy food, and are lacking in programs such as physical education. As a parent I can appreciate the anxiety people feel about the quality of our schools. This series just adds to that anxiety by citing anecdotes that reflect the thesis. But these paltry conditions are not uniformly the case across the country, and the Globe does us a dis-service by implying a problem greater than exists.

What bothers me about the Globe expose is that the paper receives substantial advertising revenues from private schools. It has included a glossy magazine-style publication of private schools in its pages as an advertising supplement. And it has published numerous fluff pieces uncritically praising private schools (see this post). To be fair, there has been some coverage of the pedophilia scandals of my alma mater, Upper Canada College, but these have not exactly been multi-day, front-page special reports on UCC’s abnormally high pedophile-to-student ratio.

Given the social rates of return to schooling, which are much higher for high school completion than post-secondary education, we should be significantly increasing the financial resources available to schools. Think smaller class sizes, enhanced programs and more funds for children with special needs. Doing so, or course, requires additional funds, something that has been at odds with the Globe’s calls for tax cuts in recent years.


  • And why are our schools like that? A decade of neglect and underfunding by the Harris government, many of whose Cabinet Ministers are now Cabinet Ministers in the government of the Party that paper endorsed in the last election.


  • Talking from an Ontario prospective, although funding has increased, the prov liberals have not fulfilled their campaign promise to fix the funding formula, essentially leaving schools underfunded – hence school board deficits. And recently they quietly lifted their moritorium on not closing small schools – so smaller classes and schools – well think big.

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