In some provinces of Canada, our tax dollars fund both the Catholic and Public school boards. In the last few years, education reformers have been pushing to change this system. With increasing diversity, lack of funding and ethical issues, why should we have to pay to fund two separate boards instead of just combining them?
In Ontario, most of a school’s funding comes from the “per pupil” law. Just this year, one school rushed to enroll more kids of non-Catholic faith in a push for funding. There are still three school boards in Ontario allowed to deny students admission unless they have a baptism certificate. Is it really right for the public to fund schools who are not open to the public? In addition, Catholic schools have resorted to bussing students short distances in hope of increasing enrollment. This is a huge waste of money, and it is estimated that between 1.2 and 1.6 billion could be saved annually if we decided to ditch our current system and introduce an integrated school system. If Catholic schools turned private, without our funding they could remain open to those who are dedicated in the faith rather than those who need to take advantage of short distance bussing.
Furthermore, shouldn’t our money go to school boards who are willing to embrace the diversity of Canada? Sure, Catholic schools teach kids about faith — but only about the faith that has written history. Since the beginning of time, Catholics have fought bloody battles over their religion. From the Counter- Reformation in light of the rise of the Protestants, to the Witch Trials and Colonization, Catholic history has been nothing but clean. If this were any other religion, these atrocities would have not been forgotten; However, since Catholicism generally has been the biggest western religion we seem to make an exception. It’s 2018, we’re too old and too wise to continue to push a religious agenda, especially in our schools where we are tampering with young minds.
On the same topic, why are we trying to teach our kids a certain set of religious beliefs at such a young age? In elementary catholic schools we introducing a bunch of kindergarteners to something far beyond their comprehension. Putting these ideas into their heads will lead to nothing but spiritual confusion as the child grows older. Even though the class time and mass may not be that bad, it’s the heard mentality that ruins the atmosphere in the school. If your kid is going through that weird, sixth grade emo phase, to their classmates that means they’re a devil worshipper. If your child is questioning their sexuality it’s hushed up and silently scolded by their peers. These things also happen in public school, but when putting in the aspect of religion, it makes a much more sensitive and scary topic. Also, since certain topics are still taboo in the Christian religion, some of these ideologies are brought into the schools themselves. For example, in 2011 a girl got sent home for displaying her pro-choice stance at a local Catholic high school. Then, around a year ago, pictures of anti-abortion posters were floating around on the walls of that same high school. This is a toxic mentality that antagonises the choices of pregnant or at risk girls, especially when their schools are supposed to be safe spaces for them. Again, these are examples of the Catholic agenda being introduced to impressionable minds, but shouldn’t we be advocating for empathy and freedom of choice?
This article isn’t demonizing Catholic schools, it is meant to question why the public has to pay for something that does not necessarily benefit education. Shouldn’t we work towards an efficient system where the boards do not need to fight for funding? All this wasted money could go towards resources that will enhance learning. It’s time to quit trekking in circles to preserve people’s feelings, and make a change in the right direction.