In October of 2001 Toronto Parents Network, the Toronto Federation of Chinese Parents and the Parent Community Network, CUPE education workers and teachers federations adopted the name of Campaign for Public Education in a united fight against the Harris / Eves education funding cutbacks. The struggle for full funding of public education in Toronto continues to this day.

In an intensive campaign from 2001 through 2003, some of the actions taken by CPE:

  • Launched a massive “Need to Succeed” campaign across the city
  • Distributed “Need to Succeed” lawnsigns which blanketed neighbourhoods from Scarborough to Etobicoke and North York to downtown.
  • Rolled out a green ribbon and green flag campaign at Toronto’s schools.
  • Supported parent groups and coalitions (Music, pools, seniors etc) which rallied and organized across the city to save programs and services
  • Coordinated major demonstrations held outside the TDSB’s College St. offices
  • Successfully pressed TDSB trustees in June 2002 to defy the Conservative government by refusing to pass a balanced budget which would further damage Toronto’s public education.
  • Conducted training seminars across the city on how to build effective school councils.
  • Rallied concerned parents and communities against the government-appointed Supervisor at the TDSB.
  • Launched a legal challenge claiming the violation of the Education Act with the Government’s appointment of a Supervisor.
  • Interviewed and endorsed progressive trustees candidates in the run up to the 2003 municipal elections.
  • Organized a pre-election “Goodbye to Education Cuts” Queens Park rally and played a critical role in electing a new provincial government and a
  • “Pink Slip” rally to welcome in the new Liberal government with a clear list of expectations.

The “Need to Succeed” campaign has grown with our hosting of three major city-wide Summits on public education and CPE engagement in the 2003, 2006 and 2010 school trustee races of these municipal elections.  CPE member organizations insists that school boards and the provincial government give students what they need to succeed by joining together for:

  • Advocacy on policy issues in both boards: eg Annual Trustees brunch, discussions with City of Toronto Councillors and officials, Federal departments funding education for adults and new Canadians, various Ontario Ministries, single issue groups, & members of the press
  • Outreach : to communities, parents, students, neighbourhood organizations, service and advocacy agencies of ethno-racial, geographic and human rights constituencies.
  • Research on education policy to support our advocacy we have been collaborating with groups such as: The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives which has been contributing to our research in locating Toronto within the provincial context of public education.

Social Planning Toronto which now convenes regular symposia on key public education issues in the city and has hosted two major and significant conferences: Schools@theCentre and Breaking Ground focusing our citywide attention on the key importance of schools as the hub of community engagement and healthy development.  reports:

CPE’s 2010 publication of PLAYING FAST AND LOOSE With Public Education built upon the research of contemporary public figures such as Economists Hugh MacKenzie, Journalist Linda McQuaig, Environmental Broadcaster, David Suzuki, Urban Alliance on Race Relations’ Tam Goossen, OISE-Curriculum , the Training Renewal Foundation’s Dr Dale Shuttleworth, equity advocate Tim McCaskell writer Margaret Atwood and historian/author John Ralston Saul.