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Let the Private Sector Compete in the Education field
Education is the cornerstone of a strong society. Like tiny saplings, children’s minds require nourishment in order to establish strong roots and bloom in our community. Parents and teachers have unique roles in which they have the ability to forge future pillars of society. Parenting is often full-time volunteer work, which requires patience and commitment. The classroom which can also be a challenging venue for raising children is commanded by professional educators. Pressure from colleagues, superiors, parents and other members of the community can sometimes be more cumbersome than the classroom itself.
While it is no secret that Ontario teachers receive a generous compensation package, it is in the best interest of society to have high quality, well paid, happy instructors who are committed to their jobs. Herein lies the problem with Ontario Public Education. Every so often the Ontario Provincial Government and Ontario Teacher Unions become entangled in a contract dispute, which can result in bitter teacher strikes and teachers being scapegoated as ungrateful, greedy reptiles with cushy careers. Students and parents are held hostage during strikes and can do little but sit on the sidelines and hope for speedy resolution.
Like any profession, teachers come from diverse backgrounds and have unique qualities to offer their sector. Also, there are excellent teachers who are committed to providing exceptional guidance in and out of the classroom. There are also teachers who are only working to collect a generous salary and pension. Regardless of one’s motive for seeking employment, nobody appreciates wage freezes or pay decreases with an increased workload.
In the past when Ontario had a bustling economy and smaller population, government sponsored programs such as health care and education were a more realistic fit for Ontarians than today. As our ballooning deficit eclipses the $16 billion mark, bureaucrats constantly refusing to cut their wages and demand for public services increases, we are faced with difficult challenges and decisions.
The Government of Ontario has responded to the challenge by increased taxes, which has done little more than burn holes through tax payers’ already tattered pockets. Instead of removing regulations on businesses and allowing the private sector flourish, the government has responded by tightening regulations and increasing taxes, which has caused many businesses to either leave Canada, lay off workers or not even start up in the first place.
In order to stimulate our economy and put money back in taxpayers’ pockets, the Government needs a new strategy. Education is no exception. To satisfy everyone we need more choices without cutting teachers’ salaries and increasing taxes. Whether or not people want to admit it, public education is a for-profit business, just like health care. Currently the government has a near-monopoly on education, which gives children very few options as our economy contracts.
Like health care, the idea of privatization raises red flags in the education sector. The idea that only the very rich would be able to afford private education is a very common misconception perpetrated by the government. Like other industries, the government has a stranglehold on education and makes it very difficult to open private institutions and as such private education is quite high.
By cutting red tape and allowing for a more open market, private education would become more competitive and the tuition prices would come down. This is not speculation or right-wing rhetoric, this is a fact. Many other developed nations with less stringent regulations have a harmonious mixture of public and private schools. By allowing privatization, public school educators do not have to fear for their jobs or hold families hostage by striking.
We owe it to ourselves to create a more educated and prosperous society. More importantly, we owe it to our children.