Thursday, August 23, 2007

Oh JT (John Tory)

He's bringing stupid back (yaaa)

Ok, I just wanted to do that.

Seriously though John Tory and Tories in general must hate education because after a very tumultuous last decade that compromised my personal elementary and high school experience, they are once again advocating non sensical reforms to the Ontario school system.

What John Tory wants is for private religious school to receive public funds. His argument is to give the same treatment to other religious minorities as Catholic schools get. On the surface that seems like a good idea, but it really makes no sense to publicly fund religious schools. It would just create a segregated environment in which children won't really grasp the concept of the real world. By all means, it's a personal choice to attend a private school, but public funds shouldn't fund this personal choice and personal beliefs.

Changing the funding for Catholic schools currently doesn't make any sense. For quite a while now it's been done that way. Usually that's a really bad argument, but in this case it makes sense. Catholic schools are a significant part of the education infrastructure, and changing that should not be a priority given the recent history of disruption in our school system. There is a time and place for everything, and this is not the time. You can make the comparsion to official languages: English and French were chosen as the official languages in a different time with a different tone. Currently there are many languages spoken in Canada, but it wouldn't make much sense to add all of those as official languages even though many of them are spoken en masse. This is the same situation for funding religious schools.

I see this ploy by John Tory as an illadvised strategy. He's trying to attack McGuinty at what is arguably his most significance outperformance of the previous government: there is relative harmony for school kids, and I guess the tories hate that? This kind of cheap trick to try and get minority votes is stupid, and if that's the kind of divisive clash of civilizations strategy Tory wants to run on, I'd urge McGuinty and Kinsella to take him to school.


Mike said...

Given the small number of persons directly affected, it is clear that Tory is acting on principle, and this deserves praise. This contrasts with the fear-mongering coming from many opponents of Tory’s proposal, particularly Premier McGuinty who hypocritically claims that extending funding to small minority of faith-based schools that are not already funded will destroy social cohesion in Ontario, while ignoring the fact that 93% of faith based schools have been funded for decades with no such effect.

Taking funding from the Catholic system is not politically realistic given that it serves almost 700,000 children and has the unwavering support of all three parties at Queens Park.

Extending funding to the small excluded minorities is the only fair and politically viable way to solve the current unacceptable discrimination. It is the least impact way to fix the discrimination, and it will benefit all Ontarians by ensuring that these schools, which are already operating are brought within the publicly regulated system and will comply with the Ontario curriculum, hire accredited teachers, and be accountable publicly.

James said...

The money to pay for this will come out of the education tax dollars paid by families using faith-based schools, which is now part of a $2 billion provincial surplus. No money needs to be taken from existing secular public education or any other program.

The reality of Canadian history is that funding faith-based education is the norm, rather than the exception. B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec, like Ontario, have provided significant funding to faith-based schools for decades, and have dynamic, unified societies. We need to build on the lessons of Ontario history, and expand the public system to include other faith-based groups, just as was done with Roman Catholics.

The Catholic system has existed in this province for decades. It has proven very successful at producing hardworking, productive, and responsible Ontario citizens. Experience with Catholic schools shows that we can create a unified province and united citizenry than through an education system where all children benefit from a common curriculum, have accredited teachers, and are subject to standardized testing, even while they may be in faith-based schools.

Faith-based schools are for the minority of the minority who wish their children to be literate in their religion and culture, and able to pass it on to future generations. It is fine in theory to talk about how young children should be educated together so they will be able to share their different cultures with each other, but in reality a young child starting school does not have the cultural literacy yet established to have much to share. If we want to foster a sustainable multicultural society, it won’t happen if we prevent minorities from getting the education they need to preserve their cultures while integrating in Ontario society as full citizens.

While effectively forcing everyone together in the same school may produce a kind of social harmony, it is not necessary to try to achieve social harmony at the cost of the cultural existence of distinctive religious minorities. One can still have social harmony without forcing everyone into the same schools, as shown by Ontario's long experience with Catholic separate schools.

The survival of multi-cultural communities is at stake. For religious and cultural minorities that are significantly unique, experience has shown that after-school supplementary programs do not work to provide the education necessary for maintaining the religion and culture intact in the next generation.

Kristen said...

Great work.