Doug Ford’s Minister of Education’s statements are at odds with data from his own Ministry of Education
The Ford government’s latest talking point on education appears to contradict data supplied by Ford’s own Ministry of Education.
After initially responding to criticism of its cuts to education by labeling all of its critics “union thugs,” Ford and his cabinet ministers have lately taken to denying Ford’s government has cut education at all.
According to the talking point, they claim Ford’s government actually spends more on education than any other government in the history of the Province of Ontario.
For example, during Question Period on November 19, 2019, Education Minister Stephen Lecce told the Ontario Legislature:
“I want to be clear to the Legislature that this government, under the leadership of this Premier, is spending more on public education than any government in the history of Ontario. Those are the facts.”
Lecce’s talking point builds on other PC talking points claiming Ford’s government has not cut education, but instead increased spending on education.
PC MPP Robin Martin made that claim on May 15 and by former Education Minister Lisa Thompson on October 29. The line was also used by Premier Ford himself on November 6, and again by Ford as recently as November 21.
Each of these claims is easily contradicted by data from the Ministry of Education.
Back in April, the government announced its funding to the province’s school boards. While the block of funding rose “slightly,” adjusted for enrollment, per-student funding actually fell from from $12,300 in 2018-19 to $12,246 in 2019-20.
That’s a cut of $54 per-student — not an increase.
Back in September, Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office noted that, for the past five years, while education’s core “cost-drivers” have risen 2.2% every year, spending rose 3.3%.
But the Ford government’s current projections to slow spending increases to 1% per year will also be against 2.7% accelerating annual cost-driver increases.
So, that’s not really an increase either.
As reported previously, data suggests the government’s most-recent estimates could eliminate up to 6,000 teaching jobs from Ontario’s public schools.