Canada may have national health care, but its schools are a model of local control, write Lance Izumi and Jason Clemens, both of the Pacific Research Institute, in the Washington Times. Canada’s federal government doesn’t fund K-12 education, leaving funding and policy to provinces and districts.
Several Canadian provinces provide direct per-student grants, similar to vouchers, to private independent and religious schools. In British Columbia, the provincial government funds children attending eligible private independent schools through per-student grants to those schools, with the amount dependent on the operating costs of the receiving school. In Alberta, private independent and religious schools can receive per-student grants that are a percentage of the per-pupil funding for the public schools. In addition to empowering parents of all income levels, provinces with school-choice programs have seen higher student achievement.
According to a study by the Vancouver-based Fraser Institute, “achievement scores are not only higher generally in the provinces that fund independent schools, but also higher particularly among students from less advantaged backgrounds.”
Canadian students score higher than U.S. students on international tests.
On the 2006 Progress in Reading Literacy Study exam, multiethnic British Columbia and the other pro-school-choice provinces of Alberta and Ontario all significantly outscored the U.S. in fourth-grade reading.
The U.S. outspends Canada by 20 percent per student, Izumi and Clemens estimate.
Update: We may be able to beat Canada in hockey, says Bob Wise of Alliance for Excellent Education, who’s at the Winter Olympics. But we can’t beat them in high school education.
On the other hand: Two Winnipeg high school teachers have been suspended for a sexually suggestive dance — apparently inspired by a porn video — they performed at a high school pep rally. Those peppy Canadians!