NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 22, 2004

School choice opponents regularly and loudly protest that private schools cannot serve typical families. In Ontario, Canada, the Children First: School Choice Trust grants help hundreds of families afford their choice of school. In the process, the program has discovered several myths that surround private education, says Virginia Gentles (Fraser Institute).

According to Gentles:

  • Opponents argue that private tuitions are too expensive, yet, the average tuition of the 150 schools Canadian families will attend in the 2004-05 school year is just under $5,000; this is far less than the $7,800 spent on average to educate a child in the Ontario school system.
  • Critics insist that lower-income families are not interested in private education; however, of this year's Children First applications, 28 percent were from single-parent households and almost 50 percent of the families participating in the program are visible minorities.
  • Another myth is that private schools are not accountable and are free from regulation; but poorly performing private schools lose tuition money to more effective schools, and face the prospect of going out of business if enrollment drops too far.

The families participating in the Children First program ignored the myths surrounding private education and gratefully pursued alternative educational options for their children. As word of these Children First pioneers spreads, perhaps private school misconceptions will be dispelled for good, says Gentles.

Source: Virginia Gentles, "Private School Myths Dispelled by the Evidence," Fraser Forum, August 2004.


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