Support specialized public arts education in Ontario secondary schools

0 have signed. Let’s get to 15,000!

The trickle down of the Ontario Conservative Government’s short sighted cuts and funding changes to public education is now a harsh reality for many students and educators across Ontario. The mandates under the Ford government have pushed the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) to make significant funding cuts to many important programs, including general arts and specialized arts education. 

Etobicoke School of the Arts (ESA) is a specialized, public arts-academic high school located in Toronto that is facing a near $150,000 funding shortfall—this represents a staggering 40% cut to the school budget. ESA is not alone; other specialized arts high schools across the city and province are dealing with similar blows.

What does this mean for extraordinary public schools like ESA, where specialized arts programming is the lifeblood for creating vibrant, equitable, engaging and welcoming learning environments? 

Sign this petition and tell the provincial government that Arts Education Matters – it matters for individuals and society as a whole. The arts play an essential role in laying the foundation for a civil society. The arts help to build strong vibrant communities and improve quality of life, while also contributing to economic development, and job creation for Ontarians. Arts-based education develops creative and innovative minds, essential for producing the big thinkers and problem solvers of tomorrow. 

ESA students travel from across the GTA and find a home in this school—they thrive here when other high schools might not be a good fit. In turn, more than 80% of graduates pursue post-secondary studies in a variety of disciplines, including engineering, music, life sciences, visual arts, economics, philosophy, journalism, drama and film – and many on scholarship.  
Slashing arts funding creates an inequitable system, whereby only young people who can afford private lessons or to purchase their own materials and equipment can access an arts-based education—this is fundamentally wrong. Inclusive specialized arts high schools are about providing opportunities for all students.
As parents, students, educators and supporters of the arts, we demand that Ontario’s Provincial Conservative Government and Ministry of Education revise its funding formula so that the TDSB can reverse these budget cuts and reinvest in specialized public arts education programming. ARTS EDUCATION MATTERS!