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Privatization Issues

Commercialism in schools

  • Commercialism in Canadian Schools
    The first national study of commercialism in Canadian schools was released May 15, 2006. The research showed that a higher percentage of BC schools are dependent on private fundraising and user fees than in other province.
  • The BCTF survey of B.C.'s public schools, Corporate Involvement in Schools, Spring 2000, highlights the information gathered on the levels of corporate involvement in schools around the province. 

School fees

“Working for the elimination of all school fees” was adopted at the 2005 BCTF AGM as an ongoing initiative of the BCTF.

Fund-raising by parents, students and teachers to fund education

The BCTF has adopted a policy “that parent advisory committees not raise funds to cover the costs of educational programs that should be financed from public funds.”

Parents have an important role in the education of their children, including the life of the school. That should, however, not be primarily one of raising funds to make up for the deficiencies in government funding of education—one form of privatization. To depend on Parent Advisory Committees to make up shortfalls in funding not only misdirects the interest of parents, but adds to the inequities that result from different school communities having different abilities to raise funds, based on the economic status of the community in which the school is located.

Sales of "junk food" to raise funds

School boards and schools have signed contracts with corporations to sell junk food and branded products to raise funds for school activities.

The BCTF has called for schools and school districts not to enter into exclusive marketing contacts with soft drink companies or other fast food vendors.

Soft drinks and junk food have been identified as having negative impact on student health and development. They are also a part of the commercialization that is consuming many areas of life and moving into the public schools. Exclusive marketing agreements often lead to an incentive for the school to promote consumption that is not healthy for their students. Alternative approaches are available that do not give exclusive rights to a particular company and that offer health options.

Advertising in schools

The BCTF has recommended that government prohibit advertising directed at children.

Public-private partnerships and privatizing services

The true cost of P3s PDF format; Acrobat Reader required. published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Public sector workers invest in their community. Private companies come and go. CUPE's web page on privatization shows why public is better for our communities...and local business.

Public-private-partnerships or P3s are not the answer to solve funding problems in our public schools. Read more in Heather-jane Robertson’s article Why P3 Schools are D4 Schools or How Private-Public-Partnerships Lead to Disillusionment, Dirty Dealings and Debt.

Don Woyotowich, Secretary-Treasurer, Maple Ridge School District #42, prepared an alternative services discussion paper in 2004 called Blueprint for the privatization of education. The paper describes a controversial scheme to privatize many aspects of public education.

School district business companies

In 2005 BCTF AGM urged that "school districts that created school district business companies disband them" and that the provincial government repeal the legislation that allowed their creation.

School District Business Companies are a Trojan Horse by Dianne Dunsmore, March 2005.

In 2002, the provincial government added School Act provisions that make it easier for school boards to set up companies for the purpose of marketing schools and carrying out business activities that would not be possible as a public body. 

Many school boards are forming companies to compete with each other for money from foreign sources. The article, B.C. Government promotes privatization and a market approach to education, describes the process and implications of school boards getting involved in privatizing public education and participating in the global marketplace. 

The business of school. Article written by Joni Miller, a B.C. high school teacher and graduate student at the University of Alberta. 2003.

Privatization as an international issue

GATS and Public Education by Rick Guenther, March 2005.

Privatization as an international issue by Tina Anderson, March 2005.

Trade agreements and globalization web page.

Private school funding

Public funding for private schools, by Jean Claude Levesque, March 2005.

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