Date :Sunday, October 5th, 2014 | Time : 07:55 |ID: 17439 | Print

Kathleen Wynne’s math doesn’t add up

SHAFAQNA –  As the Fraser Institute reported last week, in the decade from 2001 to 2011, public spending on education in Ontario rose by 61%, from $15.2 billion to $24.5 billion annually. Meanwhile, student enrollment dropped 5.1%, from 2.16 million to 2.05 million. Of course, higher teacher salaries account for part of this increase, along with inflation. But that raises the issue of whether taxpayers are getting good value for money. For the fifth year in a row, testing by Ontario’s Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) showed math scores in decline among elementary students in Grade 3 and 6.

In Grade 3, only 67% of students met the provincial standard in math in 2014, a four-percentage-point drop from 71% in 2010.

In Grade 6, only 54% of students met the provincial standard in math in 2014, a seven-percentage- point drop from 61% in 2010.

In applied math, only 47% of Grade 9 students met the provincial standard, a figure the EQAO described as worrisome, even though it’s up from 40% five years ago.

In applied English, the number of students passing a standardized literacy test in Grade 10 has decreased from 60% to 50%, over five years.

While testing shows reading, writing and literacy scores are satisfactory and improving for most students, along with academic math at the high school level, the reality is thousands upon thousands of Ontario students aren’t being equipped with the basic skills they will need to succeed in life.

Instead of dealing with these problems, Ontario’s Liberal government, first under Dalton McGuinty and now under Kathleen Wynne, has poured billions of tax dollars into turning schools into glorified daycare centres, through its ruinously expensive all-day kindergarten program.

The fact even their own hired gun financial expert — economist Don Drummond — warned them to abandon this costly program in 2012, didn’t even put a dent in Liberal spending.

Meanwhile, for years, public school boards like Toronto’s have failed to bite the bullet by closing and selling half-empty schools as enrollments declined.

The result is that today the Toronto board has the worst of all worlds — overcrowded schools in some sections of the city, near-empty ones in others and a $3.5 billion repair backlog.

When repairs and improvements are made to Toronto schools the costs have been outrageous — $143 to install a pencil sharpener, $3,000 for an electrical outlet, $19,000 to erect a sign.

This may be good enough for government work, but it’s not good enough for the real world.

The problem is the person ultimately in charge of the system is Wynne, a former left-wing trustee with the spendthrift Toronto school board.

So hold on to your wallets, Ontario, because sadly, there’s no relief in site.​

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