fraser-highschoolclass_thumb
fraser-highschoolclass_thumb This article is more than 3 years old
Update

School Board Pulls Fraser Institute’s Anti-Minimum Wage Essay Contest From Ottawa High Schools

School board trustees denounce ‘biased’ Fraser Institute contest following story first reported by PressProgress

An Ottawa-area school board has pulled an essay writing contest organized by the Fraser Institute after determining the right-wing think tank’s educational materials do not meet basic standards for high school classrooms.

Last week, PressProgress was first to report the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board circulated a contest organized by the Fraser Institute offering high school students cash rewards for essays criticizing minimum wage increases.

Internal e-mails reviewed by PressProgress showed school board officials sent high school principals and office administrators across Ottawa materials promoting a contest offering up to $1,500 in prizes for essays explaining why “increasing the minimum wage” is a “bad policy.”

Contest guidelines show the Fraser Institute not only incentivized young students to write essays on a pre-cooked conclusion, but also provided students talking points and misleading statistics sourced from a discredited Fraser Institute report.

Following complaints from parents, school trustees announced Wednesday that the Fraser Institute’s essay writing contest will no longer be promoted in Ottawa-area high school classrooms.

Bay Ward trustee Theresa Kavanagh announced Wednesday that OCDSB trustees “spoke loud and clear to staff,” calling the Fraser Institute’s contest “unacceptable.”

In a statement to PressProgress, Kavanagh said OCDSB trustees are “pleased to report that the distribution has been stopped and withdrawn.”

Kavanagh explained that trustees were most concerned by “the bias contained in the question” the Fraser Institute posed to students, adding that this “did not meet our Board’s standards”:

“OCDSB trustees were made aware of this contest being circulated in our schools through the media. We spoke out loud and clear to staff that this was unacceptable. Our Director of Education agreed as proper authorization to distribute the contest information was not given. It did not meet our Board’s standards because of the bias contained in the question. The resource materials should have made this contest ineligible. We are pleased to report that the distribution has been stopped and withdrawn.”

The Fraser Institute’s anti-minimum wage essay contest is listed as a program of the Peter Munk Centre for Free Enterprise Education.

Munk, a Canadian billionaire and ex-CEO of Barrick Gold (“the world’s largest gold mining company”), gave the Fraser Institute $5 million in 2016 to establish an arm of the institute that also runs workshops for school teachers and produces anti-climate change propaganda for classrooms.

Fraser Institute promotional materials sent to Ottawa-Carleton District School Board

 

Help us protect Canadians by holding the powerful accountable.

Journalism is an important public service. That’s why PressProgress is prioritizing stories aimed at keeping Canadians safe and holding the powerful accountable during the coronavirus pandemic.

Please consider supporting our award-winning non-profit news organization so we can keep making a positive impact for Canadians.

 

Support Our Journalism
PressProgress
PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization focused on uncovering and unpacking the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.

Most Shared

thumb-2021-06-022 News

Doug Ford’s Government Cut Education By More Than Half a Billion Dollars, New Report Finds

Related Stories

Explainers

Power and democracy

Andrea Reimer

Why Canadian Politics Does Such a Bad Job at Reflecting Working Class Values

View the post
Politics & strategy

Tom Parkin

Why Jason Kenney is Playing Politics with the Horrific Legacy of Canada’s Residential Schools

View the post
Work & rights

Liz Walker and Shanice Regis-Wilkins

Here is What Everyone in Canada Needs To Know About How Collective Bargaining Really Works

View the post