The Journal on private school funding

In a time when the press in Alberta can often be found highly in support of the religious status quo, it’s enlightening to see an opinion article in the Edmonton Journal on how the province needs to end funding 70% of private charter schools budget, especially those that promote intolerance and ignorance in the form of religious education.

The Journal’s editorial staff writes:

If the province has extra cash, it should first ensure the public system has the funds it needs. Public schools don’t get to pick and choose their students and they don’t have the option to increase fees like private schools to meet their needs.

The provincial government is the only significant well that public and Catholic school districts can turn to to cover their bills.

The government’s first obligation is to make sure there is a top-notch public school system that meets the needs of all school-aged Albertans. The decision to increase funding to private schools fails to help fulfil that obligation.

In response I submitted the following letter:

Re: Public schools still in need
Friday, 29 August

At a time when the quality of education in this province is under assault from several directions, it is admirable to see a strong defence of public education such as the one the Journal’s editorial staff presented on Friday. It’s good to see that the issue of funding of private schools brought to the public eye.

Personally, I find the idea of public funds promoting religious education to be a violation of the secular principles that a democracy should be founded upon. When publicly-funded faith-based schools can discriminate against teachers and students who do not subscribe to the same code of beliefs, we are removing the “choice” that spokesperson Kathy Telfer is talking about.

I am okay with the existence of faith-based schools, but not at the expense of public coffers.

Ian Bushfield is the Centre for Inquiry Campus Regional Director for Western Canada

Make sure to write your own letter to the Journal.

[tags]faith schools, private schools, Alberta, religion, Edmonton Journal, funding[/tags]

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