Province cuts $1 million from funding for parent engagement projects
New process means parents can no longer apply for funding for local or regional projects
Since 2006, parents’ organizations in Ontario have been able to apply for funding to support projects and programs focused on supporting more parents to be able to be engaged in their children’s education.
This year, the Ministry of Education announced the end of these popular grants.
According to the Ministry’s website, over the years, more than 27,000 projects have been supported with over $35 million in funding. Those projects ranged from single-school initiatives such as Family Math night, to provincial parent conferences.
A notice from the Ministry received by People for Education states that the grants will be transformed and funding, which was $2.9 million in 2014 and $2.5 million in 2018, will be reduced to $1.25 million this year.
Boards to control funding and decisions
There will no longer be a mechanism for individual school councils or organizations to apply for the funding. Instead, school boards will receive a “predetermined” amount of funding – presumably based on numbers of students – and the board, working with its Parent Involvement Committee, will decide which projects it should fund.
Goal of grants has changed
In the past the goal of the grants was “to support parents in identifying barriers to parent engagement in their own community and to find local solutions to involve more parents in support of student achievement and well-being.”
The 2018 Guidelines said that projects must focus on “informing or engaging parents in support of improved student achievement, human rights and equity, and well-being.” It says the grants are intended to “support projects that help identify and remove individual and systemic barriers to parent engagement that may prevent some parents from fully participating in their children’s learning.”
In a memo outlining the new goals for the funding, the Ministry says that projects will be “required to demonstrate a commitment to respecting the role of parents in students’ educational experiences by working with parents or seeking parent input on how schools can:
- Provide a safe and welcoming school environment;
- Maintain open communication with teachers;
- Respect parents as valued partners within the education system in relation to decisions about their child’s education”
The memo says “Our goal is to ensure we are modernizing the way we fund education in a responsible and business-like manner to ensure that tax dollars are having the greatest impact in the classroom.”
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