Separate schools: the subject that won’t go away…
… damn right it won’t!
There was a good piece on Saturday by Kate Heartfield (one of the better writers at the Shitizen) about the inefficiencies of the publicly-funded separate School Board in Ontario and how its existence discriminates against a huge sector of the provincial population
It is especially valuable to see this issue presented in this way as the author does not solely concentrate on the cost issue. I personally do believe that there would be some cost savings resulting from the merger of the two systems, but we cannot know the extent of these without a thorough, empirical and unbiased examination.
And really, this is all that I and other education system reform advocates are asking for at the moment. Why not have a third party – a KPMG, for example – look at and report on exactly what cost savings would be realised? If a study shows that savings would be minimal, then advocates of one school system for Ontario could put the efficiency argument aside.
But, for me this is only partially a cost issue. The school system as is discriminates against people who do not identify with a specific religion. Public funding of a Catholic school system does effectively discriminate against all those who would like the same for their religion.
John Tory was right to recognize this during the 2007 election campaign. He just went in entirely the wrong direction with his solution to fund ALL religion-based schools.
It is also discriminatory and unfair to force citizens to pay taxes in support of religion based school systems when they are not part of that religion or simply don’t believe in funding religion based schools.
This is a long road and the system won’t change overnight. Only the Green Party of Ontario supports reform while the other three major parties are too afraid of voter backlash to utter a peep about this important issue.