The Canadian Education Freedom Index

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The Canadian Education Freedom Index draws attention to the powerful role our provincial governments play in creating or obstructing educational freedom. It shows that public education does not mean the same thing in one province as it does in any other. Some provinces, through funding and regulation, support many different educational choices for parents, while others make it nearly impossible for parents to educate their children anywhere but their local public school. Because of these dramatic differences in public policy, some Canadian parents have much greater power than others to determine the kind of education that shall be given to their children, something the United Nations declares to be a funddamental human right (United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26).

The Canadian Education Index measures the freedom that parents in different provinces have to educate their children. It does this by comparing policies governing the three types of school they might choose if the public system is unsatisfactory to them: home schools, independent (or private) schools, or charter schools. It does not measure the very real differences in school choice available in different parts of the same province, because, though such measurement would certainly be valuable and revealing, the work lies outside the scope and resources of this project. Rather, it measures the ease with which parents can establish the education they want for their children if what they want is not provided in the public system.

The Canadian Education Freedom Index does this by collecting a variety of objective indicators of educational freedom into one document so that anyone - parent, politician, journalist or student - can compare the policies of different provinces across the country. The index identifies those differences in an attempt to promote discussion on the merits of various education policies used by different provinces. It reflects how those policies expand or limit the educational opportunities available to Canadian children.

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