Monday, June 20, 2016

This Day In Clarkland...The Twin Tiering Of Education In British Columbia.


Paul Willcocks, writing in the Tyee, has the story.

Here is his lede and a little bit more:

We don't talk much about two-tier education.

Two-tier health care, sure. Governments reject the idea that a sick child from a wealthy home should get better treatment than a child from a poor home.

But B.C. governments have been happy to let parents with money buy their children a big educational head start over the equally bright poor kid a few neighbourhoods away.

And the BC Liberals -- like the New Democrats and Socreds before them -- insist that less-affluent taxpayers subsidize the private schools they can't afford for their own children.

But recent (albeit flawed) polls and a policy shift from NDP leader John Horgan could signal a long overdue change...


...(W)hy are taxpayers subsidizing posh private schools, when the government insists the public system is meeting students' needs?

St. George's School is among the elite B.C. private schools. Tuition starts at $20,460. Based on the school's budget, it spends about $34,000 per student, almost four times as much as the provincial funding for students in public schools.

Yet taxpayers will subsidize St. George's with more than $3 million this year...

Go read it all.

(and keep a water-filled spray bottle handy to help put out the fire that will produce the smoke coming out of your ears)




Eleanor Gregory said...

The explanation or rationale for the subsidy to private schools is that if the subsidy was eliminated many of those students wouldn't be able to afford the private system and would head to the public school system. As such, the public system would be financially overburdened. The further rationale is that it is cheaper to subsidize private school students for a % of their tuition, that percentage being less than what it spent on each public student. As such, the province "saves" money.

Go figure.

RossK said...


My personal opinion is that none of this should be happening on the basis of either exclusivity or religion(ish) issues.


Because the public shouldn't fund stuff that the public, as an entity cannot use.

If there are functional reasons (i.e. for kids with special needs that an independent school can do that a public school can't but that all kids that need help can attend based on need) for public funding of a private/independent, then I'm OK with that on a case-by-case basis.

As for the pragmatic argument about 'cost', I'd like to see a hard-headed analysis on that front.


Given their proclivities in other realms, one could argue that the Big Muddy and/or the Jason Kenny Wannabe Institutes should be chomping at the bit to do such analysis to save 'public' dollars....


Willy said...

My eldest son has a learning disability. Not really noticeable, but the stresses with him coming home , piled high with 2 or 3 hours homework after a long school day - because of his inability to comprehend what was being taught led to a lot of family frustrations, as we seemed to be doing a lot the school couldn't or wouldn't, due to financial and other reasons. It wasn't his not wanting to learn, but there just wasn't the money in the school system to modify his program without walking through a fire pit barefoot.And naturally he began to rebel. Finally in junior high school the fight was over as his education was modified to what his strength was, not his weakness. He did well, graduated and went to work. The thing that still sticks in my craw was how the education system was so underfunded that kids like him were falling through the cracks, not of their on volition but by there not being enough money in the system. Fast forward to today. He works at Seaspan in the yard, makes a decent living to support his family and excels with his employment.
As a footnote,schools like St. Georges have excellent sports teams- not because of the student body's athleticism, but by offering "scholarships" to kids skilled in specific sports like rugby etc. I'm not aware of them offering the same thing to students with learning difficulties.
( no more anonymous)

RossK said...

Thanks Willy--

So glad things worked out for your son.

What changed in junior high that helped make things better for him?

And, ya, I'm not aware of such scholarships either (and even if there were such things that wouldn't be good enough for me because if they get public money I am of the opinion that they are obligated to serve all members of said public).


JasonS said...

Hey i was wondering if anyone has noticed a correlation between the 6500 less students since 2001 in Vancouver and the 12,000 or more empty homes that are in the city proper now. Maybe if we had actual families living in those empty houses and condos we would have full schools then the government would actually do the seismic upgrades needed to protect peoples kids. Hahahah just kidding the Neo-Liberals don't care about poor people kids.

Anonymous said...


In about 25 minutes, Bill Bennett will be on CBC Daybreak South with Chris Walker, to discuss his resignation:

Click on "Listen Live":

Willy said...

Ross - scholarship may not be the exact term as it's given term is "financial aid". The whole thing in a nutshell is picking over for the best of the best, either through academics or athletics.I think about the Fraser Institute and how they rank schools- it's like playing poker with a stripped deck.
As to my son, a guidance counselor took the time to modify his learning program and modified it to what his his strengths and capabilities were. I'm forever grateful to him for the effort and potential he saw in my son and the way the school enacted it.

Anonymous said...

It gets worse... Sandy Garrossino has the scoop on how the rich (and the religious) can educate their kids almost cost free. - Merv

RossK said...


I am always amazed how one person can make such a huge difference, especially if they have a responsive system they can mobilize to help. Thanks again for telling us your son's story.


Thanks SH--

Guess we're not going to have the old Turdstormer to kick around anymore.




The Garrossino piece is very much worth reading to see how far the pendulum has swung.


Anonymous said...

GOP Gov. Chris Christie Is Still An A55hole

Just in case you were wondering. And there is no better place to examine the real Republican id than at the state and local levels, aka the meth labs of democracy.

You see, the new civil rights issue of our time is making sure well-funded suburban–and mostly white–schools get even more money

This is such an awful plan even education ‘reformers’ are appalled by it.

But it’s all about the kids, the well-to-do white ones anyway.

Anonymous said...

This has been making the rounds on Twitter #bcpoli

by Mike Smyth,'The Province' March 3, 2002
Why Liberals switched to per-student funding

referred to - in discussions of the day by the Minister of Education - as "block funding"