Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Only Because I Like Math, Education Edition

The Ontario Progressive Conservative plan to increase funding in education, including a budget for additional publicly funded faith-based schools represents a net increase in public education funding.

Here's my quick and dirty math I used.

The assumptions I used:

  • Total enrollment in Ontario schools is 2.2 million; 650,000 are enrolled in Catholic schools.
  • The budgeted spend on public education is $17.2 billion.
  • The Liberals are proposing an additional $963 million in education spending.
  • The Progressive Conservatives are proposing an additional $2.44 billion in education spending. This includes the commitment for the $963 million proposed by the Liberals and the $400 million budgeted for additional faith based public school funding.
  • The expected maximum influx of new public education students will be 53,000.

Now, for the math.

Under the Liberal plan, using the budgeted $17.2 billion and the proposed increase of $983 million - that brings the total investment into education to $18.1 billion. Simple proportioning means that $12.6 billion will be spent on non-Catholic public education, and the remaining $5.6 billion into Catholic education.

Using the Progressive Conservative spending increase, a total of $19.6B will be spent on public education ($17.2B + $2.44B). Using the same quick proportioning, the Catholic school system would receive $5.9B, the non-Catholic school system would receive $13.3B, and the 53,000 new students in the public system would receive $479 million (which falls within the $400 estimated by the PC's and within the $500 million estimated by the Liberals - so the quick and dirty math kind of works).

The conclusion, however, from all this math is that under the Liberals, non-religious public education spending will increase by only 5.6% (from $11.9B to $12.6B), whereas under the PC's, non-religion public education will increase by 11.4% (from $11.9B to $13.3B).

Under the PC plan, the government commits more to non-religious public education than the current Liberal plan does.

Now, you may argue the math is too quick - it still illustrates a point, however. All of the arguments against extending funding has been predicated on the mistaken belief that the additional $400-$500 million would come from the existing public education budget.

That is simply not true.

Additionally, arguing that that $400-$500 million should "stay" in public education is also misleading, because that $400-500 million isn't even there unless you elect a PC government.

As a post script, I'm still not supportive of funding public faith-based schools. My preference is to have one public school system. As I've also said in the same piece, there is not a government in Ontario that is going to stop funding Roman Catholic separate schools. The reality is there is simply no option to eliminate faith-based education in Ontario.


Mike said...

Sorry, all that means dick when John Tory promises to give taxpayer money to teach creationism.

I don't vote, but I can assure you, I will tell all my friends who do vote, to not vote for Tory for this.

I'm sure he will lose more votes that gain for this stupidity.

Jim (Progressive Right) said...

Taxpayer money already goes towards teaching creationism within religion classes today.

That said, I think Mr. Tory needs to clarify his statement. I think it has be to clear that religious teachings would be confined to theology classes.