A public education group is calling on the province for more fair opportunities and programming to Ontario students regardless of their location or size of school.
People for Education launched an annual school survey Thursday that found students living in small towns or rural areas are less likely to have music and physical education teachers, as well as access to psychologists and special education.
The survey’s findings include:
- 94 per cent of urban schools have a full-time guidance counsellor, compared to 74 per cent of rural schools
- 62 per cent of urban schools have regular access to social workers, compared to 30 per cent of rural schools
- 61 per cent of urban schools have a physical education teacher, compared to 30 per cent of rural schools
- 60 per cent of urban schools have a teacher-librarian, compared to 74 per cent of rural schools
- 52 per cent of urban schools have a music teacher, compared to 30 per cent of rural schools
The report states that the province’s funding formula is based on enrollment numbers, which means more money is directed to more populated areas. This keeps rural areas at a disadvantage because their schools are smaller.
As a result, more schools in rural areas are closing and students are being transferred to larger schools that are farther away from where they live. This causes longer bus rides, the inability to participate in extra-curricular activities, and even families relocating to bigger cities.
The public education group is encouraging the government to review their funding model to ensure more fair programming and an overall equal education system for all students in Ontario.
With files from Rana Aladdin