Friday, September 7, 2007

Faith based schools - an idea whose time has definitely NOT come

Ontario school funding debates - gawd, my head hurts!

As a product of the public school system (and a rather successful one at that, if I do say so myself) I have no time for faith-based schools on principle. I firmly believe that religion belongs in the home and churches/synagogues/mosques/etc. and NOT in the taxpayer-funded school system.

And now we have John Tory musing about the appropriateness of teaching creationism in some Christian schools under his new plan to fund ALL faith-based schools. After the fact he did have his staff point out that what he meant was that it could be taught in religion classes, but not as part of the regular curriculum which was set by the province.

So if I understand it, all these new faith-based schools would have to teach the same content as the public system, except for their religion classes in which they can teach whatever lies, half-truths, or biases they want, including, but certainly not limited to creationism.

Okay, then why don’t we do this? Have ONE public school system, funded by taxpayers, that teaches ONE core curriculum. In addition, each student will have the option to attend an elective religion class of his or her own choosing. This can all be accomplished in the same schools with the same teachers (except for priests, rabbis, imams, and others who may be called upon to instruct in the religion classes). No more duplication of services; no more building of new faith-based schools next door to closed public schools; no prejudicial hiring of teachers based on religion; no duplication of bus services; one school board; and the list goes on. The consdierable financial savings could then go to improving teacher-student ratios, enhancing arts and non-science programs, and funding more sports and better fitness programs. And there would still be money left over to give back to the beleaguered taxpayer.

Now if Dalton McGuinty really wants to get my vote, that’s what he’d propose instead of some bogus Family Day holiday in February or the politically-expedient Highway of Heroes in southern Ontario.

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