What we do

Newcomers learning about education in Ontario
Newcomers learning about education in Ontario

People for Education is an independent organization working to support public education in Ontario’s English, Catholic and French schools.

We’re passionate about publicly funded education, and we believe that well-equipped publicly funded schools, with a well-rounded curriculum, provide young people with the best chance for a bright future.

“Our public schools belong to all of us. They could and should be thriving hubs of every community — hubs of learning, of support for families and of neighbourhood activity.” 
Annie Kidder, Executive Director,  People for Education

People for Education:

  • has a toll-free parent-support line. We can answer your questions about education or provide you with links to the information and resources you might need to help you and your child navigate the education system. To reach us, call 1-888-534-3944.
  • holds an annual conference. Every November we bring together parents, trustees, experts, educators and community members to learn, make connections, participate in hands-on training sessions and hear about the latest and best education research.
  • provides speakers and workshops. People for Education’s popular speakers travel across Ontario and across the country, providing training to parent groups, community agencies and educators, and making keynote speeches at conferences about education issues.
  • publishes multi-lingual tip sheets for parents. For parents new to the system, or to the country, navigating the education system can be daunting. Our multi-lingual tip sheets help explain everything from starting kindergarten to how special education works.
  • conducts an annual survey of Ontario schools. The People for Education Annual School Surveys keep track of everything from music teachers to special education programs in Ontario schools. Every year we publish the results in the People for Education Annual Report on Ontario’s Publicly Funded Schools.
  • maintains a network of parents and community organizations. The People for Education Network is a place to share ideas, updates and information about great programs and practices. The Network has members from across Ontario who can help with information and referrals for local education issues.
  • works with policy-makers. People for Education sits at a number of government policy tables, participates in consultations on education policy and makes policy recommendations in the Annual Report on Ontario’s Publicly Funded Schools.
  • works with the media. At People for Education we believe that public education matters to everyone, so we help encourage ongoing public dialogue about education issues, by working with the media to publicize education stories, education issues and exciting new research.

Our history

People for Education started in 1996. We were initially a small group of parents in downtown Toronto who were concerned about fundraising and about cuts to education budgets. When we began, there was an atmosphere of division and polarization in the education system. Teachers were fighting with the provincial government, the provincial government was fighting with school boards and parents were caught in the middle. It was very hard for parents to find objective information about education.

We decided it was important that people had access to information they could trust, that was objective, that was written in plain language and that was based on facts rather than rhetoric.

A core component of that information comes from our Annual School Surveys, which go out to principals and school councils in every school in the province each year. The surveys provide data that measure the effects of policy and funding changes on schools. Every year we publish the results of the surveys in our Annual Report on Ontario’s Publicly Funded Schools. The surveys not only provide information, but also act as a way to engage parents, school councils and school communities in thinking about education policy. We hope that by assisting parents and school communities in understanding that policy eventually has an effect — on our schools, our children and our communities — we will help people become more engaged, not just in their local schools, but in education as a whole. Just as policy affects all of us, we can all play a role in ensuring that our publicly funded education system has the right kind of policies to ensure that all students have an equitable chance at success and access to the kinds of programs, curriculum and resources that will allow them to be successful — not just in school, but throughout their lives.