Who Says… It Costs A Lot To Educate a Child?

Part of the series Who says…
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2015-02-23.

Most people know very little about the cost of educating a child in Alberta. True home educators save the taxpayers a lot of money.

Building on a foundation that God is, that He created the universe and that He ultimately is responsible for our children’s being, should provide ample substance upon which to build our faith. This lengthy series will identify the secular thinking that has eroded that faith.

Bible Reference: 1 Tim. 6-10

Money! There never seems to be enough. Money can be either a blessing or a curse, depending entirely on who and/or what is involved. It is often stated that the LOVE of it is the root of all evil. My grandfather told me that money was not everything, but it was inconvenient to try to get along without it. I am sure a very significant percentage of the world’s population would agree with that statement!

Governments collect money in the form of taxes and spend it as they deem appropriate. Although this money is referred to as taxpayers’ money, taxpayers have little say in how this should be done, outside of the ballot box. Governments are aware of the significance of their decisions, and, for the most part, are usually somewhat careful of expenditures. To be fair, it must be stated that it is much more difficult to budget in billions of dollars, than it is to budget for a family; and that within a family, there are only a few individuals involved, while there are a great number of people directly or indirectly involved when budgeting the taxpayers’ money.

Education is one of the most expensive ministries government has to administer. Alberta Education budgeted 7.4 billion dollars for education in 2014, including capital costs. It’s web site boasts that it spends 37 million dollars for every day the province’s students are in school. Dividing this sum by the number of students in the province, one gets a number exceeding $12,000 per student per year! When calculating this figure, one has to take into consideration that this number is based on all students including the ones being educated outside of the public system, such as private and home education students, which are funded at a much lower rate than public school students. Therefore, the actual costs for educating a public school student is actually much higher, but for the sake of simplicity, we will work with the $12,000 per student.

Public schools receive a base funding in excess of $6,000 for every student, which on average, is approximately half of the total per student spending in this province. Private schools receive only 70% of a public school’s base funding, and do not qualify for extra programs or capital costs. So, it is fair to say that private schools operate on approximately 35% of the cost of educating a student in public school, with equal or superior results. Home education is funded at 25% of the base funding for public schools. However, legislation mandates that half of this money be made available for parent purchases of educational supplies and services. Once again, since the average cost of public education is estimated at $12,000 dollars per student with the base funding being approximately half of that, the 25% of base funding allotted to home education is really only 12.5% of what is spent for a public education, most often with superior results, in spite of public school supporters’ negative rhetoric. Another factor that must be considered here, is that since 50% of the home education funding is earmarked for parent resources, home education providers who are not involved in the delivery of the better paying public programming, must fulfill the requirements for the supervision of the home education program on 6.25% of what public schools require to educate a single student!

Even though the 6.25% figure represents an enormous savings for taxpayers, it goes without saying that this is the case if, and only if, the rules are being followed. As mentioned in the beginning, the love of money is the root of all evil and there is no lack of love when it comes to money. I was appalled at the graft and dishonesty of the schools in which I worked. It truly causes me no end of grief to see the same or worse level of dishonesty being committed by organizations making claims to a faith that sees the love of money a sin! Home education saves taxpayers a lot of money. How much more could be saved if the love was removed from money and directed to God?

Who says it costs a lot to educate a child? Anyone who uses simple math by dividing the total amount of money spent in education by the total number of students. Parents educating their children do not need any funding to provide opportunities to learn. Of course, there are costs involved, for which government help has been gratefully received by many thankful parents, yet most would forsake the money in a heartbeat in exchange for the freedom to be the full time parents and teachers of our province’s most precious resource.

From a taxpayer’s perspective, home education is a real bargain, producing well educated, generally well adjusted and responsible citizens of the Province of Alberta at a fraction of the cost of public education.

More on money next week.

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