By James Ransom Posted October 15, 2018 12:04:18After decades of trying to get the United Kingdom and other countries to adopt more progressive educational policies, parents in Canada are getting the message.
Last year, after a series of court challenges, a coalition of more than 70 Canadian parents and educators successfully petitioned the Supreme Court to declare Ontario’s “independent education” law unconstitutional, a move that would put parents in control of the curriculum for their children and could prevent many of them from going to school.
The case, called Re Education Camps, is one of several challenging Ontario’s laws on “independent educational” policies.
The Supreme Court decision was unanimous.
Re Education Camp, a program of the Toronto District School Board, was a $15,000 annual fee for parents to pay each year to attend a course, including a mandatory six-week course on “education.”
The fee paid by parents, along with a $500 monthly fee for school supplies and fees, was set to expire in January 2019.
Ontario’s Ministry of Education said it was reviewing the case, but didn’t say whether it would appeal the ruling.
The ministry didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Education advocates say that while some parents have benefited from the program, it’s not enough.
They say it’s just one small piece of an enormous, $500 billion education reform puzzle.
“Independent education has gone from a pipe dream to a reality,” said Sarah Fiske, executive director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, which has been fighting for decades to ensure more children in Ontario are learning how to read and write.
The “independent” in the “independent school” refers to a private, charter school that doesn’t have to comply with provincial school standards.
For example, it may have fewer than 15 students and doesn’t meet the provincial reading standards.
That’s considered “independent.”
The word “school” in English is a synonym for “private school.”
Private schools, however, are not required to follow the same standards.
Many private schools operate outside the traditional system of public schools.
The Canadian Centre says its research shows that many private schools, including Re Education, are more likely to provide better learning experiences for their students.
The group has worked for years to get more private schools to adopt better educational policies.
Its latest push, the “Canadian Charter Schools Act,” has garnered support from the Canadian government and the provincial government.
The Ontario government said last year that it plans to introduce a new provincial education policy later this year.