Is a Private School Curriculum the Same as Public schools in Toronto?

Our great city is home to the most diverse population in Canada, and it should come as no surprise that we have the greatest variety when it comes to educational choices. When the time arises to make a decision regarding your child's education and what type of institute would best serve their needs, the first question many parents wonder is whether a private school curriculum is the same as public schools in Toronto.

Educational Requirements

All students, regardless of public, private, or home schooling require the same 18 compulsory credits necessary to receive a high-school diploma from the ministry. These credits include English, math, science, geography, history, arts, physical education, French language studies, career studies, and civics, with additional requirements such as completing volunteer service and taking a provincial literacy test. This however is where the expected similarities end and the values and beliefs of individual institutes begin.

What Sets Private Schools Apart from Public School?

Public schools are designed in a broad way to provide education to students of all types from all manner of backgrounds with many different interests and values. As they are a government entity paid for with our tax dollars, they are heavily regulated by the Ministry of Education which outlines clear guidelines concerning what must be taught, how it is to be taught, and who exactly can teach it. Teachers in a public school environment are required to have not only graduated from an accredited post-secondary educational program, but to also be certified by the Ontario College of Teachers, whereas private schools are not bound so strictly. But that does not in any way infer that the teachers in a private school are less qualified – in fact it's often the exact opposite. Private schools base a great deal of their curriculum on the values they believe in, and as such, often hire educators who share those core beliefs. Montessori schools, for example, place a great deal of value on the student's individual learning patterns and treating children at a more adult level to foster their creativity, and teachers who promote the same philosophy are likely to be in charge of the classroom.
Often times, in private schools, the educator's education is far superior to that found in a public school teacher, usually having completed masters in a field which relates to the topic they teach. Private schools are able to afford teachers with more training as they are not operating on a minimal budget in the manner public schools must, and this allows them a lot more leeway to focus on finding someone who appreciates the values and lifestyle the school is promoting.
At the end of the day, students are students, and those who wish to do well will, and those who do not put in the effort will unfortunately not make the grade regardless of public or private school enrollment. However, with private schools being able to offer more personalized learning plans, one-on-one assistance time, and mixing education with beliefs, it seems clear that public schools' curriculum does not offer the same chance of success as private schools do.
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