Rather than address the general benefits of private education (independent schools) versus public education (government schools) which has already been addressed well in such articles as this one (http://www.ourkids.net/school/private-school-basics.php) and this one (http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/private-school-students-do-fare-better-academically-but-its-mainly-because-of-their-parents-study) this blog post will attempt to focus on the long-term benefits that may be specific to Brampton, Ontario. It is well-established that private school students, in general, outperform students in the government-run schools. But if you’re new to Brampton, you may not be aware of the specific issues that are particular to the city.
Although I wish to be culturally-sensitive, this article may not be entirely politically correct. I want to always be kind and sensitive to the feelings of others, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t address the “elephant-in-the-room.” Brampton is a somewhat unique city. I know this because I have lived in Brampton myself and know some of its peculiarities first-hand.
In 1996, Brampton’s population stood at 268,251. In 2016 the population stood at almost 600,000 (593,638 according to Wikipedia.) In twenty years, the population of an already-large city has more than doubled. Most of the people who have come to Brampton in that time are Asian. With them came a strong representation of non-Christian religions, so that in 2016 only about 50% of Brampton’s population professed to be Christian. This rapid growth combined with strong religious beliefs of its new residents has led to a unique situation for the public schools. Normally, the established religion in a city is able to dominate because the number of new residents with differing beliefs is few. It is generally simpler for the few new families to adjust to the dominant culture than to try to enforce their culture on the established one. But in Brampton, the population changed so fast and the influences were so strong that the dominant culture could not hold its own. Brampton’s public schools are not a “melting pot” but are instead a thriving community of diversity.
Whether you consider diversity to be positive of negative is entirely based on your perspective. Personally, I think that diversity has many advantages. But to overlook some of the challenges presented by that cultural diversity as a parent could have serious implications on your child.
The big issue then, is culture. The best schools in Brampton, whether private or public have figured out a clear strategy as to how to handle the cultural divisions (which often include language challenges as well as religious differences.) Some have excelled by taking a completely “secular” route, downplaying any religious and cultural differences. Others thrive because they go the other direction entirely, catering to a specific religious or cultural population. The larger private schools in Brampton like Brampton Christian School and John Knox Christian School have taken the religious route, while other established private schools in the area like Lynn-Rose and St. Jude’s Academy have taken the more secular route (despite the religious-sounding name.)
Clearly, the ability to choose a school that serves the parent’s interests and values is the key benefit to a private education here. The private high schools Brampton offers are few. You will definitely want to consider schools in north Mississauga or west Toronto as well. Fortunately, the high schools that do exist have strong reputations for quality education.My recommendation is to look for a school, whether independent or government-run, that has a clear strategy as to how they are handling the cultural diversity. Those that don’t handle that well tend to be the schools where bullying is the worst. It pays to get a comprehensive look at the schools available to you in your area. A resource like Our Kids (ourkids.net) can be a tremendous resource to you in a situation like this if you are new to the area looking for the best schools in Brampton for your children.