It's an education story because it helps explain declining enrolment and the gentle, slow rebound from its impact that is going to start to happen within the next 10 years. For the last decade (many boards' enrolments peaked in 1999-2000), all but five GTA-area boards have been facing declining enrolment-- meaning more students are graduating from high school that are coming into the school system from the bottom end in JK, SK or Grade 1. This demographic situation is tied to all sorts of reasons, but mostly because the children of baby boomers (the baby boom echo) are leaving schools and the GenX'ers and GenY'ers (like me) aren't having the same number of children. In my own defence, it's hard to have kids when you're single.
When those boom-echo kids start having kids -- which is starting to happen -- then the school populations will rebound with the boom-echo's echo. However echos are always smaller than the ones that preceded them.
Quick aside, the five GTA-area boards whose populations are still growing owe that to immigration and migration, as populations shift into their districts from elsewhere.
Long story short: an uptick in the fertility rate two years ago in 2007 in Ontario means the school-age population should see the same uptick starting in two years when these parents start sending their kids to JK. That uptick should become quite obvious in three to four years as those bambinis start Grade 1.
I only wish the data StatsCan provided for free included a breakdown by census tracts (large urban neighbourhoods) or dissemination areas (smaller communities), so we could see where these children are being born. School board and municipal demographers have access to this info however.
H/T to Rob at Cancrime, whose tweet earlier this week inspired this post.