The Fraser Institute today launched
School Choice Trust
, a new multi-million dollar education initiative for Ontario
families. The program was announced this morning at a news
conference in Toronto.
Children First: School Choice Trust
is Canada's first privately funded program to help parents in
financial need send their children to an independent school of
The program will provide tuition assistance grants to 150
elementary school students in Ontario in each of the next three
years, based solely on financial need. These grants will pay 50
percent of the tuition at any of the more than 800 independent
schools in the province, to an annual maximum of $3,500. The
grants are available as early as junior kindergarten and will
continue until the students complete Grade 8.
puts into practice the mounting educational research that shows
that when parents have a choice of school, children get a better
education," says Claudia Hepburn, director of education policy at
The Fraser Institute. "This is a pilot project and we're looking
forward to evaluating the results."
is a program of The Fraser Institute with initial financial
support provided by The W. Garfield Weston Foundation.
"The Foundation is proud of our tradition of offering educational
opportunities to Canadian college and university students, and we
are excited to extend that support to elementary school students
program. This is an innovative new program and we are delighted
to be part of it," says Garfield Mitchell, executive director of
The W. Garfield Weston Foundation.
Research on the Benefits of School Choice
program has been inspired by other successful school choice
programs around the world.
Substantial evidence from the United States, Britain, Denmark,
the Netherlands, New Zealand, and other parts of Canada, shows
that when funding follows children to their parents' choice of
school, parental satisfaction, academic achievement, and
educational opportunities improve.
Research demonstrates that academic gains increase with the
length of time a student participates in a school choice program.
Furthermore, in provinces with publicly funded school choice,
such as Alberta and British Columbia, the correlation between
academic achievement and socio-economic status is weaker than in
provinces with little or no school choice.
The world's largest study of educational efficiency (which looked
at 39 countries) found that competition from independent schools
was a key factor in fostering high student achievement. Many
studies have shown that when faced with competition for student
enrolment, public schools respond both by providing a greater
choice of programs and by paying more attention to student
"Our vision is to enhance educational opportunities for all
Ontario school children by giving parents the freedom to choose
the school that best meets their child's individual needs," says
Hepburn. "The most exciting part of the
program is that it will offer 450 families a say in their