Parents, teachers consider private schools due to public school changes

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Published April 18, 2019 6:23 p.m. ET
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The discussion between private and public schools appears to be growing, with several independent schools in the region seeing an increased demand.

Teachers and students alike are more seriously considering going the private education route, a debate that seems to be intensifying following recent changes to public education.

Debra Tak is very much in favour of the public school system, but that hasn’t stopped her from considering the private route for her daughter Nora.

“Is she going to start coming home every day just exhausted, worn out from being in a classroom with 30 or 40 kids?” Tak wonders.

So far the province has promised there wouldn’t be changes to early elementary classes, but the founder of St. Jude’s and Scholar’s Hall, Fred Gore, says registration is up 30 per cent.

“Ford is good business for us,” he says frankly. “A year ago, we would be 60 per cent registered for next year. We’re getting close to 85 per cent registered for next year, and calls are still coming in.”

Teachers are also weighing their prospects in the private system as school boards around the province have announced layoffs and cuts.

“That’s an option for a lot of occasional teachers, to move toward the private sector, but really we’re potentially seeing an exodus to any other opportunity, whether it be a private school, whether it be another province or foreign teaching,” explains Nathan Core with the Occasional Teachers’ Union.

Tak says she worries that putting her daughter would give the province more reason to continue cutting from the public education system.

Gore notes that Waterloo Region has more private schools per student than anywhere else in Canada. He says a lot of them are religious schools, but the option is likely more-debated here than elsewhere.

It's worth noting that the Waterloo Region public school board has not issued any notices, waiting instead until more information comes from the province.

The local Catholic school board has issued surplus notices to a number of staff members, which warn that their positions may not exist in the coming school year.

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