School Fundraising Lets Government Shirk Responsibility
For years, cutbacks to Ontario’s education budget have led to concerns about school fundraising and the commercialization of education. While the government is responsible for funding education, schools are now relying on community and corporate fundraising to pay for some of their basic necessities.
Fundraising Covers the Basics
A national report on commercialism in schools, released in 2006 by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF), the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), and the Fédération des sydicats de l’enseignement (CSQ), shows that money from school-based fundraising is being used to purchase items such as textbooks and classroom supplies. As well, 65 percent of Ontario’s elementary schools are fundraising for library books. Elementary schools are also raising money for technology programs, playground equipment, school landscaping, musical instruments, field trips, physical education equipment, and before-and-after school classes.
The amount raised by individual schools tends to depend on the socio-economic background of the parent community. In Ontario, the amount raised by individual schools ranges from hundreds of dollars to many thousands of dollars. The report showed that, in Ontario, the mean amount raised per school was $11,400.00.
Incentive Programs in Schools
Cuts in government funding also put pressure on schools to seek private partnerships that may lead to product promotion at the school level, and to the privatization of education. For example, large numbers of elementary schools participate in programs such as Pizza Hut’s “Book It” and Scholastic’s program of redeeming coupons in exchange for books and classroom materials. Campbell’s Labels for Education, as well as grocery store receipt programs from retailers such as Sobey’s, Zehrs, and Staples, keep schools and teachers in the forefront of fundraising efforts.
Implications for Ontario’s Schools
Public education’s increasing reliance on private sources of funding has serious consequences for Ontario’s schools. For example:
It is ETFO policy:
How to Help
Parents and teachers can help by: