Friday, March 11, 2011

One School System and Abortion


Ontario has two schools systems—both publicly funded. The "public schools" are open to all comers but the "Roman Catholic" ("Separate") school system isn't.

I support the One School System Network.
The organizations represented by the One School System Network [OSSN] are united in the conviction that:

Ontario's publicly funded school system bring students of all backgrounds together in an environment that fosters mutual respect and understanding while respecting their fundamental equality and helping them to realize their full potential as citizens.

To realize that vision, OSSN seeks the establishment of a single secular school system for each official language, namely English and French public school boards.

Furthermore, OSSN seeks the elimination of costly duplication in the Ontario school system in order to minimize infrastructure costs and to maximize opportunities for student development.

Publicly funded schools in Ontario shall not discriminate on the basis of religion in any form including: school environment, enrolment of students, opportunities for all students, evaluation of students, employment and advancement of teachers and all other school board personnel, adherence to Ministry of Education curriculum guidelines including courses in World and Comparative Religions.

Publicly funded school boards may, where appropriate, permit voluntary religious programs for students provided by local faith groups outside regular instructional hours.
Here's one of the reasons why we need to merge the Roman Catholic schools into a single, secular, public school system: Students sent home.

Alexandria Szeglet added a strip of green tape to her St. Patrick High School uniform Thursday with the word “choice” written on it and was sent home for the day after refusing to take it off.

The Grade 10 student wore the green tape in response to a pro-life event at the school, where some students wore a red piece of tape with “life” written on it and didn’t talk for the day to display their belief in the injustice of abortion.
Alexandria and about 35 other students were send home for wearing the green tape. None of the students who wore red tape with the word "life" were sent home or asked to remove the tape.

Two of the comments below the article deserve more publicity.
Ann says:
Alexandria is my daughter. Her father and I are raising and guiding her and her sister into formulating independent thought and opinion. Alex went to school today wearing a green piece of tape in response to a pro-life scheduled event that she knew was already happening. It was JUST a piece of tape. Very quickly, she was informed that she wasn't allowed to imply her opinion ~ but others wearing "red" were. "Pro-choicers", like Alex, believe in simply that. If a woman chooses abortion, then Alex would support that. If a woman chooses to have the child, Alex would support that too. I know for a fact that she did this not expecting the out pouring of support she has been receiving, but to just put her opinion out there like all the rest. This IS a very touchy subject with a lot of people, and knowing that the School Board allows this in their halls ... I'm speechless. We're very proud of you, Alex.


Kerri says:
Alexandria is my niece and we are very proud of her ability to speak her own mind. This demonstration was done peacefully and without malice unlike some of the pro life demonstrations that have happened in the past. I am born and raised a Catholic woman, am well educated. Having attended a Catholic school myself, I am appaled at the ridiculousness of this situation and the stand that the school and school board have taken on this subject when Alex simply held true to her beliefs. Isn't that what we teach our children? To have independence, a mind of their own and to be secure in all the decisions they make?
Ask yourself this question: Would you want to be the person to explain who your childs dad was if you were a victim of rape or incest? OR What if your life was in mortal danger? PRO CHOICE means just that...a woman's choice. It's not a form of birth control nor is it a decision any woman would want to make. I know in my heart and in my wonderful niece's heart that she is intelligent enough to know what is right or wrong for her own self. We are proud of her if every sense and we will continue to support her throughout her life. It's a shame that the world is still stuck in the dark ages and that a woman still does not have the right to choose...This is a touchy subject that someone thought was ok for high schoolers to demonstrate...with the advent of Facebook and social media, what did they think would happen when people caught wind of today's events?
John de Faveri is the director of education for the Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board.
“On the issue, pro-life is part of the Catholic stand,” said de Faveri during a phone interview with Dougall Media Thursday afternoon. “The pro-choice students were not appropriate in the context of a Catholic school.”
That's exactly why we need to convert all these schools into secular schools.

It will be interesting to see what happens in Catholic high schools over the next few days. I expect that many Principals and Vice-Principals are in for a hard time.


[Hat Tip: Canadian Atheist: The easiest way to get kicked out of Catholic school…]

103 comments :

  1. Alexandria’s aunt and mother have taken the first step to support Alexandria’s right to independent thought and action. However, if Alexandria’s family is “very proud of her ability to speak her own mind,” and are “guiding her and her sister into formulating independent thought and opinion,” then they should take immediate action to ensure Alexandria’s continued independence: encourage her to enrol in a public school, and remove the support for Catholic schools from their municipal taxes.

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  2. That's exactly why we need to convert all these schools into secular schools.,

    Really? That's a Big Brother sentiment, don't you think? Shouldn't religious nuts have a right to teach their children their beliefs and values? It foolish and dangerous to trust parenting to government over parents.

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  3. The authoritarian mindset held by non-American westerners is confusing at times to us Yanks. What the hell is wrong with innocuous freedom of religious practice and belief, even if you are an irreligious atheist? Were poor little Alexandria's feelings hurt? Well cry me a river. It's not as though the Catholics are advocating self-flagellation or some other doctrine harmful to precious Alexandria. Her parents sent her there for gawd's sake! And if you contend, as you undoubtedly will, that religious belief per se is harmful, well I disagree and suppose, therefore, that I'm an evil accomodationist. Libertarianism (soft anarchy) suits me just fine and is much less likely to drift toward totalitarianism.

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  4. If they believe in choice, then they can choose to enroll in the public school system.
    Dr. Moran you are advocating a removal of choice for parents in Ontario.
    Do you see the contradiction in your thinking?

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  5. Actually a better solution would be more choice in the Ontario system. I too abhor the idea of funding religious schools too, BUT parents should be free to choose what they believe is best for their children and sometimes that involves their particular religion. I would prefer private schools so the mandarins at Queen's Park are not the decision makers. That allows for more competition and will not hurt the poor: http://www.thefreemanonline.org/featured/backing-the-wrong-horse-how-private-schools-are-good-for-the-poor/
    One school system is like having one automobile company or one supermarket, think about it.

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  6. Totally disagree. I'm from Alberta and I think choice is key. We publicly fund Secular, Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, Christian, Hindu, Ballet, Military, Hockey, etc. schools. We also make the final standardized diplomas in grade 12 worth 50% of the final mark on top of all the other standardized tests we do. Any school that doesn't keep up with the standard is closely scrutinized.

    Parents should have freedom. The State should not be involved in choosing one set of values or worldview to push on people. Rather, the State should provide choice and freedom for the parents.

    The State should make sure students meet certain standards in knowledge. But that's where it needs to end. The answer isn't less choice but more choice.

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  7. DK says,

    Really? That's a Big Brother sentiment, don't you think? Shouldn't religious nuts have a right to teach their children their beliefs and values? It foolish and dangerous to trust parenting to government over parents.

    I believe that it is prudent and wise to have state supported schools and to mandate that those schools teach properly. I have more confidence in the collective decisions of the people (i.e. state) than in the choices made by individual parents.

    Religious nuts have the right to teach their children whatever they want but we should still have public education. And that public education should not be promoting the views of any religious group.

    There are all kinds of situations where society intervenes to protect children from bad parenting. There are all kinds of situations where society encourages good parenting by providing resources, expertise, and advice. That's what we do in a social democracy.

    Calling this "big brother" is not helpful. We all know there are reasonable limits to how much society should trump parents. But "zero" is not a reasonable answer.



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  8. DiverCity asks,

    What the hell is wrong with innocuous freedom of religious practice and belief, even if you are an irreligious atheist?

    Surely we can all agree that there are limits to what society can tolerate when it comes to allowing religious practices? The bar is lowered when those practices affect children, as it should be.

    But as long as those practices are truly innocuous society should not try to inhibit them.

    But this situation isn't about allowing or forbidding religious practices. I have no objection if Roman Catholic parents want to send their children to private Roman Catholic schools. There's nothing in the social contract that says society has to financially support religious practices that some of us disagree with.

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  9. anonymous says,

    Dr. Moran you are advocating a removal of choice for parents in Ontario.

    Nonsense. Our society doesn't fund Muslim schools, Jewish schools, or atheist schools. We need to level the playing field by concentrating on a secular school system that's open to everyone regardless of their ethnic or religious background.

    Right now Roman Catholic parents have a choice of two publicly funded schools. They can pick whichever one is better or closer. No other group has that choice.

    Do you see the contradiction in your thinking?

    No.

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  10. Why are the American Westerners missing the point? The state should not support church run educational institutions, unless in the French style of secularism - which is framed to keep religion out of the affairs of the state.
    Religious nuts especially should be kept away from children. Homeschooling is a menace.

    Dr. Moran you are advocating a removal of choice for parents in Ontario.

    No, removal of state-funded parochial choice.

    Truti

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  11. Allan Small says,

    One school system is like having one automobile company or one supermarket, think about it.

    I have thought about it. Having only two school systems in Ontario has worked out very well over the past 150 years. Having only one public school system seems to work very well in many other countries and provinces. I've yet to see any reasonable arguments against a single school system other than the fact that a privileged minority (Roman Catholics) might lose their special status.

    That doesn't strike me as a very good argument.

    You seem to be implying that life might be better if we allow every supermarket chain to have their own school system, paid for by taxpayers. That way parents could choose whether to send their children to WallMart or Loblaws. Is there any evidence that such competition among schools really works in societies that take childrens' education seriously?

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  12. You have said:

    "The "public schools" are open to all comers but the "Roman Catholic" ("Separate") school system isn't.

    Do you mean that if a child is of some other religion than Roman Catholic, he/she is not allowed to enroll in the Roman Catholic separate school system?

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  13. DiverCity said...

    "The authoritarian mindset held by non-American westerners is confusing at times to us Yanks."

    Are you implying that Americans don't have a "authoritarian mindset"?

    Furthermore, what is your point? It is not authoritarian to object to paying taxes to support schools that teach religion.

    Schools and teachers should be focused on teaching students how to read, spell and to construct grammatically correct sentences. They should focus on teaching literature, math, science, and history properly, so children whose parents have filled their children's heads with religious nonsense gain the knowledge and critical skills to reject that nonsense.

    ReplyDelete
  14. "You seem to be implying that life might be better if we allow every supermarket chain to have their own school system, paid for by taxpayers. That way parents could choose whether to send their children to WallMart or Loblaws. Is there any evidence that such competition among schools really works in societies that take childrens' education seriously?"
    What I mean is that if there was CHOICE in where to send children to school, competition would occur, prices would drop, parents would have options such that religion or lack of religion would be no ones business but their own. We have these choices in so many aspects of our lives, from supermarkets to socks, why not education? I taught for 35 years in both public and private systems. The private was superior in so many ways except one - parents paid taxes AND paid tuition in the private school. The private school had many rules that restricted the behaviour of the students - ALL with parental consent. The school ran better and was MOST concerned with the student's education. One school system is like having the choice of one flavour of ice cream.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm not sure what the relevant law is in Canada, but the US has a whole body of caselaw that limits student's free speech at school, when it is necessary to maintain order in the school.

    ReplyDelete
  16. You have said:
    "There's nothing in the social contract that says society has to financially support religious practices that some of us disagree with."

    "Society" includes Roman Catholics. And they pay taxes too.

    Your anti-religion prejudice is showing. That is what is driving you and it is plain for the rest of us to see.

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  17. Hey DK,

    I agree, we should have a Muslim school, a Jewish school, a Fiscal Conservative School, a pre-Dentist school, and a school for people who like 18th century literature. Which one you go to depends on where your parents decide and can pay for, of course.

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  18. @ Larry:

    I have more confidence in the collective decisions of the people (i.e. state) than in the choices made by individual parents. ... There are all kinds of situations where society intervenes to protect children from bad parenting. ... That's what we do in a social democracy.

    I guess I am less optimistic than you about the State and its motivations. In any way, the issue is about where to draw the line. I'd say that if a large number of taxpayers wants religious schools, they ought to be able to have them regardless of what others think. Else social democracy becomes tyranny of majority.

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  19. anonymous asks,

    Do you mean that if a child is of some other religion than Roman Catholic, he/she is not allowed to enroll in the Roman Catholic separate school system?

    No, not exactly. There are some non-Roman Catholics in the separate schools. There's even a Roman Catholic school in Alberta that's the only high school in town.

    However, I'm sure you'll appreciate the fact that many non-Roman Catholics are reluctant to send their kids to a school that brainwashes them in another religion. This is especially true of the 20-25% of the population that is non-religious.

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  20. Allen Small says,

    What I mean is that if there was CHOICE in where to send children to school, competition would occur, prices would drop, parents would have options such that religion or lack of religion would be no ones business but their own. We have these choices in so many aspects of our lives, from supermarkets to socks, why not education?

    I wonder why no country has adopted this model if it's so wonderful?

    I don't know about you, but the idea that we would turn over the public education of our children to companies like supermarkets does not thrill me. You seem to think that the private sector will always have the best interests of society in mind. I think that for-profit companies are mostly interested in something else.

    It would be a really good idea if America were to abondon publc education and move to an all for-profit system. That would be a nice control for the rest of us. They should probably do it for universities as well. We all know that the undergraduate education you get at a private university like Harvard is vastly superior to what you get at the University of Toronto, right?

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  21. anonymous says,

    Your anti-religion prejudice is showing. That is what is driving you and it is plain for the rest of us to see.

    You are very perceptive. I bet you were educated at a private school—or a Roman Catholic one.

    How would you feel if we had two different tax-funded school systems—a public system open to everyone and an atheist system where the children were told every day that there are no gods and religion is bad?

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  22. DK says,

    I'd say that if a large number of taxpayers wants religious schools, they ought to be able to have them regardless of what others think.

    I agree.

    I also agree that if a majority of the population votes to have a single secular school system then that's what we should have.

    Do you agree?

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  23. I asked you:
    "Do you mean that if a child is of some other religion than Roman Catholic, he/she is not allowed to enroll in the Roman Catholic separate school system?"

    You replied:
    "No, not exactly. There are some non-Roman Catholics in the separate schools".

    You are now admitting that your opening post was false.

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  24. Alexandria Szeglet, I am a dedicated activist to m any social justice causes. You are a strong and empowered woman, and you should be privileged to have a supportive family.
    If more young teens showed your bravery there would be much less hate in the world.

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  25. I also agree that if a majority of the population votes to have a single secular school system then that's what we should have.

    Do you agree?


    I agree. But I'd urge the majority not to impose its will this way and would argue that in the long run such a behavior is unwise. (And I am speaking in general terms, not just of the particular case of particular religion-based schools).

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  26. anonymous says,

    You are now admitting that your opening post was false.

    Are you referring to my statement that the Roman Catholic schools are not open to everyone?

    Is that what you think is the most important issue we need to discuss?

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  27. Starting off with a falsehood in the first two sentences, is not a good sign.

    Trying to distract from that fact, by asking whether that is the most important thing, just makes you look worse.

    ReplyDelete
  28. DK says,

    But I'd urge the majority not to impose its will this way and would argue that in the long run such a behavior is unwise. (And I am speaking in general terms, not just of the particular case of particular religion-based schools).

    I really don't understand where you are coming from on this.

    Right now we have a situation were the majority supports religious discrimination. Only Roman Catholic children get to go to publicly funded schools where their religion is taught every day. No other religion has that privilege.

    Are you saying that this is better than the solution I'm suggesting?

    I don't see your rationale for supporting religious discrimination. Can you explain it to me?

    You say that in the long run it is unwise not to support all (?) religious schools. Why do you say that? A single secular system seems to work very well in many countries. I don't see any serious disadvantages for our society and there are plenty of advantages.

    Isn't it a good idea for children of all different religions and backgrounds to interact with each other on neutral ground? Why do you think Roman Catholic children will suffer if they have to go to school with children of another faith or no faith at all?

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  29. If people have a disagreement with the current laws, the way to change those laws in a democracy is through the democratic process of elections and passing laws.

    People like Moran want to impose their will on others without all the bother of the democratic process.

    ReplyDelete
  30. One school system is like having one automobile company or one supermarket, think about it.

    Nonsense on stilts. Poppycock. Almost gibberish. Education is not like groceries. End of the argument

    Parents should have freedom. The State should not be involved in choosing one set of values or worldview to push on people. Rather, the State should provide choice and freedom for the parents.

    The state should choose no values or world views outside the scope of its constitution. In a country like Canada that means no school is allowed to preach anti-abortion messages, at public expense. Catholics can run Catholic schools at their own expense aslong as they don't turn them into madrassas, when regardless of what happens the school in question should be shut down.

    What I mean is that if there was CHOICE in where to send children to school, competition would occur, prices would drop, parents would have options such that religion or lack of religion would be no ones business but their own. We have these choices in so many aspects of our lives, from supermarkets to socks, why not education? I taught for 35 years in both public and private systems. The private was superior in so many ways except one - parents paid taxes AND paid tuition in the private school. The private school had many rules that restricted the behaviour of the students - ALL with parental consent. The school ran better and was MOST concerned with the student's education. One school system is like having the choice of one flavour of ice cream.

    Competition doesn't increase choice always, it doesn't reduce prices always, there are no perfect markets. The modern state is duty bound to propagate secular education. At best, as a compromise, it should, if it can't stamp out parochial schools, should make it as difficult as possible for them to thrive. As the first step, it should deny parochial schools any public support. My children have been to a public school and are vastly better off for it.

    Truti

    ReplyDelete
  31. anonymous says,

    Starting off with a falsehood in the first two sentences, is not a good sign.

    Trying to distract from that fact, by asking whether that is the most important thing, just makes you look worse.


    I'm sorry you feel that way. The wording of my opening sentences was carefully chosen. I still believe they are factually correct statements.

    But let's, for the sake of argument, assume that the Roman Catholic school system is open to all comers as you'd like to believe. Let's imagine that Jewish students, Hindu students, and atheist students feel very comfortable in a school full of crosses and statues of Jesus and Mary.

    If that's true then why do the Roman Catholic schools exist? Isn't that an argument for one school system?

    ReplyDelete
  32. anonymous says,

    People like Moran want to impose their will on others without all the bother of the democratic process.

    Please provide evidence to support this slanderous statement or withdraw it.

    And stop hiding behind anonymity when you make statements like that. It's cowardly.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Maybe the following will help clarify the situation:

    From www.onessn.org/National_Post_editorial-Sept11-08.pdf

    "Here are some of the benefits establishing a single, secular publicly funded school system
    would confer:
    • It would put an end to the wasteful duplication of running two parallel systems, which
    costs many hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars annually. Many of the cuts now
    being felt in school boards across the province would not be necessary under one public
    school system.
    • It would put an end to the discriminatory hiring and promotional practices of the
    publicly funded separate school boards that favour Roman Catholics in good standing
    with local parish priests. Pastoral letters of recommendation for employees would
    become a thing of the past.
    • It would bring Ontario in line with the majority of Canadian provinces. Ontario is one
    of only three provinces that have not eliminated publicly funded school systems separated
    by religion.
    • It would conform to the United Nations ruling stating that Ontario is in violation of the
    International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights by funding only Roman Catholic
    religious schools. The UN ruling provided two solutions: Fund all faith-based schools or
    fund only secular public schools."

    ReplyDelete
  34. Here is the rest of the post I posted that Moran did not include in his response:

    "If people have a disagreement with the current laws, the way to change those laws in a democracy is through the democratic process of elections and passing laws."

    After beginning this whole discussion with a lie and then cherry-picking what I said, it is a bit rich to then criticize me.

    But we all know that Moran is just looking for any argument or tactic to support his pre-existing prejudice.

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  35. One thing I am not clear about.
    Taxpayers indicate which school system they wish to support on their tax form. Right?
    Is the amount that goes to the Roman Catholic school system, proportionate to the number of people choosing their tax dollars to go there?
    Are any tax dollars from those indicating public school support, going to support the separate school system?

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  36. Veronica, is that the same UN that had Libya on its Human Rights Council?
    You must be joking if you think that UN declarations have any moral backing. Canada would be foolish to bow to such an organization.

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  37. Larry Moran says:
    " You seem to think that the private sector will always have the best interests of society in mind. I think that for-profit companies are mostly interested in something else."
    I don't believe profit is evil, I believe it is an incentive. The eductions system needs to be incentivized. That model works for food production, housing, the manufacture and sale of clothing and so many really important parts of Canadian society. Even though the private sector does not necessarily have society's best interests in mind, they would not remain in business for long IF they did not provide good service. Is that true about our school system? Do you know how hard it is to get rid of bad teachers in our public schools? That is not true in private schools, there is no government-union monopoly there. As for public universities - I went to UofT, I would have preferred Harvard. The fact that we have no private universities (of significance) in Canada is shameful.

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  38. @Michael M:the US has a whole body of caselaw that limits student's free speech at school, when it is necessary to maintain order in the school.

    Yes, and by my understanding, if a school permits one POV to be expressed on a topic, then they cannot forbid opposing opinions. So if students are allowed to wear eg. pro-Jesus or anti-choice T-shirts, then other students are allowed to wear "There's Probably No God" or pro-choice T-shirts.

    If an American public school did what St. Patrick school did here, they would get their legal heads handed to them in any ensuing litigation. I also don't know what the equivalent Canadian law is, but if this happened in an Ontario public school, as public school ratepayer, I would be very angry.

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  39. Allan Small,

    I don't believe profit is evil, I believe it is an incentive.

    Then we agree. I also believe that making money is a powerful incentive for private companies.

    Where we disagree, I presume, is whether making a profit is the proper incentive for producing high quality education for our children.

    Do you know how hard it is to get rid of bad teachers in our public schools? That is not true in private schools, there is no government-union monopoly there.

    I see a point of view that's so fundamentally different from mine that I doubt we can have a productive converstation.

    As for public universities - I went to UofT, I would have preferred Harvard.

    There are many good reasons for going to Harvard if you can afford it but getting a better undergraduate education isn't one of them.

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  40. The worst thing that can happen to education is to only have state controlled and run schools that are tied to promoting one viewpoint.

    There is no way to track lowering of standards, nothing to compare to.

    In England some socialists even want to ban private schools, mainly because they show the state sector to be a gross failure.

    Choice is a good thing.

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  41. Interesting interchange:

    "Do you know how hard it is to get rid of bad teachers in our public schools? That is not true in private schools, there is no government-union monopoly there.

    I see a point of view that's so fundamentally different from mine that I doubt we can have a productive converstation."

    Dr. Moran takes this subject off the table immediately. There will be no analysis of whether the claim is correct or not.
    What if the claim is correct? Dr. Moran will not hear of it.

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  42. @DK Shouldn't religious nuts have a right to teach their children their beliefs and values?

    Should religious nuts have the right to substitute mumbling to an invisible deity in place of medical treatment for their sick children ?

    Should religious nuts have the right to marry off their under age daughters to the local religious patriarch ?

    Are children just chattels to do with as one would with any other piece of property or are they held in trust until they able to make their own decisions ?

    Religious education is just another form, unfortunately socially sanctioned, of child abuse.

    Let's stop talking about the rights of parents and focus on their responsibilities.

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  43. @Anonymous Your anti-religion prejudice is showing.

    It's anti-religious but hardly prejudiced.

    I see no indication that our host has arrived at his position in the absence of adequate knowledge.

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  44. I like to think I'm intolerant of intolerance. It is a contradictory stance but ANY faith that uses 'rules' to limit others is total BS. The difficulty is defining the line between the two. Have a deity all you want. Ditch the rules and bigotry.

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  45. Could we have an answer on the following please?

    One thing I am not clear about.
    Taxpayers indicate which school system they wish to support on their tax form. Right?
    Is the amount that goes to the Roman Catholic school system, proportionate to the number of people choosing their tax dollars to go there?
    Are any tax dollars from those indicating public school support, going to support the separate school system?

    ReplyDelete
  46. "I see a point of view that's so fundamentally different from mine that I doubt we can have a productive converstation."

    Dr. Moran takes this subject off the table immediately. There will be no analysis of whether the claim is correct or not.
    What if the claim is correct? Dr. Moran will not hear of it."

    That is the essence of the collectivist argument, and of course Prof. Moran is right, there is no way this discussion will end productively, not with him. But for those of you who think "choice" is better than "no choice" and competition works in ALL aspects of society so why not education - then I suggest you have a look at this new British magazine's take on Learning vs. Education: http://kontextmagazine.co.uk/
    I'm also on Facebook if you want to continue the discussion regarding choice.

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  47. To Anonymous who commented on Saturday, March 12, 2011 12:14:00 PM

    I see you are very comfortable about using my name (and my first name only), but you refuse to make your even your first name public. How rude.

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  48. @Veronica Abbass,

    I suppose it depends on your perspective. My view is that the state in all its forms is authoritarian to some degree. Government, of course, is a necessary evil in civil society. But how much is too much? Yes, we Americans are "blessed" with big government. But we have something you don't (if you're not American), and that's a constitution that protects individual freedom -- in this case, free exercise of religion. We also have prohibit state establishment of religion in that same constitution. Hence, in the good ol' US of A it's not constitutional for the state to meaningfully support parochial schools with its ill-gotten gain. That's where, I suppose, my preference aligns with Larry's, at least as far as tax-supported religion is concerned. I highlighted authoritarianism, however, because I read Larry's missive as a complaint about the parochial school's choice to send the choice-girl home. Hence, I missed Larry's complaint about tax-supported parochial schools. I have much sympathy with that position, but probably not for the same reason. I'm generally anti-tax as taxes quite enable leviathan.

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  49. I don't see your rationale for supporting religious discrimination. Can you explain it to me?

    I don't necessarily support it myself. But I have no problem with it if that's what most taxpayers want.

    Groups can and do have different and contradicting interests. In democracy, majority's interests take precedent over everything else. Smart majority also realizes that it is in its interest to keep minorities happy. Compromises then must be made. The bigger is minority, the more attention to it will be paid. It is impossible to make everyone happy all the time, so the goal is to keep most people happy most of the time. Going back to your particular example of religious schools, it means that pandering to Catholics makes sense and pandering to Flying Spaghetti Monster crowd doesn't. My understanding is that this, more or less, is what's happening in Canada - because that's what most of Canada's citizens apparently want. They have absolutely no problem discriminating against Flying Spaghetti Monster. (The reason: most Canadians don't feel any affinity toward FSM *and* non-discriminating against it brings too few benefits; not so with Catholicism).

    You say that in the long run it is unwise not to support all (?) religious schools. Why do you say that?

    Because it is not smart to alienate large segments of the society. Done consistently, always ends poorly.

    A single secular system seems to work very well in many countries. I don't see any serious disadvantages for our society and there are plenty of advantages.

    I am with you on this. But Catholics in Canada apparently disagree. So if I were you then instead of telling them that "we need to convert all these schools into secular schools" I'd be trying to convince them that it will be to their benefit to forgo this perk of theirs. (And there is nothing wrong with trying to diminish Catholics' numbers and influence by telling everyone how weird their beliefs are. But you already do that :-)).

    ReplyDelete
  50. @steve oberski:

    Should religious nuts have the right to substitute mumbling to an invisible deity in place of medical treatment for their sick children?

    I am not going to pretend that these types of dilemmas have clear-cut and easy solutions. But neither should you! The opposite of children being property of parents is children being property of the state. Clearly the extremes are unacceptable. Everything in between *will* depend on particulars of the society and the time. It is difficult to make this point less obvious.

    Religious education is just another form, unfortunately socially sanctioned, of child abuse.

    That's what *you* think. Now, do you care to tell what you are going to do with the people who think that secular education is a form of child abuse?

    ReplyDelete
  51. DiverCity says,

    I suppose it depends on your perspective. My view is that the state in all its forms is authoritarian to some degree. Government, of course, is a necessary evil in civil society.

    I does depend on one's "perspective."

    My view is that we live in a society and in order to maximize happiness and security we are better off co-operating than acting as self-serving individuals. I may sound like a cliché but I actually believe that it takes a village to raise a child properly.

    "Government" in my view is simply the organization we set up to make societies run smoothly. I view government as an expression of the collective nature of my society and not as some independent authoritarian "evil" that needs to be tolerated. That's a socialist perspective.

    I've lived in Canada, Europe, and the United States. Governments in Canada and Europe are usually seen as agents of the people and by and large they are viewed as agents of social change and progress. They are the mechanism society uses to express our collective will.

    The dominant view in the United States, on the other hand, is to view government as inherently bad but something that has to be tolerated. Americans seem to be much more focused in the conflict between them as individuals and government as something that interferes with their "rights" as individuals. It's an adversarial relationship because Americans are not sympathetic to socialism.

    This isn't the thread where these differences should be debated. The important point here is whether the people of Ontario should vote to merge the Roman Catholic school system into the public school system to create a single secular system. Recent polls indicate that 55-60% of the citizens of Ontario prefer a single school system.

    I'm in favor of democracy. That doesn't mean I won't argue a minority position in an attempt to change people's minds. This isn't one of those situations.

    ReplyDelete
  52. I have asked about funding and Moran has chosen not to answer:

    One thing I am not clear about.
    Taxpayers indicate which school system they wish to support on their tax form. Right?
    Is the amount that goes to the Roman Catholic school system, proportionate to the number of people choosing their tax dollars to go there?
    Are any tax dollars from those indicating public school support, going to support the separate school system?

    I conclude that Roman Catholic supporters are funding the separate school system themselves, through their portion of their taxes using the mechanism of people indicating on their tax form whether they support the separate or public system.

    If this is not correct, please let us know.

    ReplyDelete
  53. I guess Veronica is a little testy about having to support Libya as the arbiter of morals for Canada.

    ReplyDelete
  54. An even larger percentage of the people of Ontario agree with the death penalty.
    Should we reinstate death penalty Larry or are you only interested in situations when polls agree with you on a particular issue.
    In other words are you truly interested in the will of the people or only when it agrees with you on some particular issue.

    ReplyDelete
  55. anonymous says,

    An even larger percentage of the people of Ontario agree with the death penalty.

    Should we reinstate death penalty Larry or are you only interested in situations when polls agree with you on a particular issue.


    Of course we should reinstate the death penalty if that's what the legislature votes to do or if the people of Ontario agree to it in a referendum.

    Did you really think I would answer any differently?

    The latest poll indicates that 53% of Canadians do not want the death penalty reistated and 41% want it reistated. The results from March 2010 indicate that 46% do not want the death penalty reinstated but 41% do want it brought back.

    As a general rule, I'm not very interested in causes where I agree with the majority and/or my society has done the right thing. That's why gay marriage, universal health care, and freedom of choice aren't big issues for me.

    On the other hand, I am very interested in situations where I disagree with the majority and I'll often fight to try and change the opinion of the majority.

    Are these concepts difficult for you to understand or are you just being stupid?

    ReplyDelete
  56. Anonymous, on Sunday, March 13, 2011 9:38:00 AM, said...

    “One thing I am not clear about.”

    There are a few things you are not clear about.
    Ontario taxpayers indicate which school system they wish to support on their municipal tax form. They do not indicate which school system they wish to support on the income tax form they submit to the Canada Revenue Agency.

    If you need more information about how the Government of Ontario distributes the income tax it collects, do some research.

    ReplyDelete
  57. anonymous says,

    I have asked about funding and Moran has chosen not to answer:

    I choose not to answer because the information is readily available on the internet and the answer is not as simple as you might imagine.

    Here's one explanation from One School System. You are given the link in my posting and the fact you didn't bother to do a bit a research indicates that you think you already know the answer.

    Q1: Roman Catholics in Ontario pay for their own school system. Doesn't that make them entitled to it?

    A1: It is not uncommon to run across Ontarians who believe this to be true. Let us shatter that myth right here and now: they do not pay for their own school system.


    ReplyDelete
  58. @DK The opposite of children being property of parents is children being property of the state.

    Why do they have to be "property" at all ?

    Are children just malleable objects that are to be beaten in what ever shape is dictated by local prejudices ?

    What is wrong with the concept that they should be given the intellectual tools to make skeptical and informed choices ?

    Why not think of children as nascent adults with certain limitations that need protection and nurture ?

    Now, do you care to tell what you are going to do with the people who think that secular education is a form of child abuse?

    I would wonder how much more meaningful and fulfilled their lives would have been had they received a proper upbringing and education.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Here is what I asked a few times and nobody has answered these questions.
    And the link that Moran has given does not answer them either.

    Taxpayers indicate which school system they wish to support on their tax form. Right?
    Is the amount that goes to the Roman Catholic school system, proportionate to the number of people choosing their tax dollars to go there?
    Are any tax dollars from those indicating public school support, going to support the separate school system?

    This is the heart of the funding issue.

    ReplyDelete
  60. We sent our three kids to the separate school system because we thought they would get a better education there and because we believed the separate school system environment was a better environment than the public system.
    We are not Catholics.

    If anything the system should give parents a voucher which they could use for any schooling they wish including homeschooling or independent schools.

    I resent the idea that people here want to promote only one system that has its own biases and points of view. There is no such thing as neutral schooling.

    ReplyDelete
  61. anonymous says,

    I resent the idea that people here want to promote only one system that has its own biases and points of view. There is no such thing as neutral schooling.

    The choices are ...

    1. Try our best to construct a system that has as few biases and prejudices as possible.

    2. Fund every group that wants to have a school to promote their own biases and prejudices.

    I choose #1 and you choose #2.

    I think your choice is crazy.

    ReplyDelete
  62. anonymous says,

    Taxpayers indicate which school system they wish to support on their tax form. Right?

    I provided you with a link that explains this. Taxpayers do NOT indicate on their income tax forms which school system they support. The school systems are supported by the provincial goverment and the money comes out of general revenue.

    Try and keep up.

    ReplyDelete
  63. This is the strangest thing. I keep asking the following and never get a straight answer:

    Is the amount that goes to the Roman Catholic school system, proportionate to the number of people choosing their tax dollars to go there?
    Are any tax dollars from those indicating public school support, going to support the separate school system?

    Note the bolded part and the question about whether the funding is proportionate.

    And even if the amount allotted is not linked to the people who indicate a preference on their municipal form, it is a fact that the funding is proportionate to the number of families that wish to send their children to the separate system.
    There is no unfairness even if a fixed amount per student is used as the funding formula.

    What underlies the attitude of Moran and some others here is that they do not like religion. That is the issue - period.
    All the rest is a smoke screen.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Here is a interesting statement from Moran:

    or
    2. Fund every group that wants to have a school to promote their own biases and prejudices.

    No statement could summarize better the arrogance of this sort of mentality.

    ReplyDelete
  65. For those of you so supportive of funding all alternative school options, how about strict Wahhabi Madrasahs?

    This debate always annoys me. Many will defend the Catholic school system with incredible vigor, but when you start bringing up specific examples of other potential schools, they tend to get cold feet.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Anonymous has made a good point and I struggle with this myself.

    One possible answer is that every organization that wishes to have a portion of the educational funding must pass initial government scrutiny initially to ensure that what the group will be teaching does not break the law. Nor does it teach the students in breaking the law.
    And there should be follow-ups to ensure ongoing approval.
    Also every organization must teach a core set of subjects and the students would be tested independently to ensure that they were learning the core curriculum.

    This is comparable to government oversight of various other areas such as food inspectors etc.

    ReplyDelete
  67. There are far too many people posting anonymously on this thread.

    One of them said,

    I resent the idea that people here want to promote only one system that has its own biases and points of view. There is no such thing as neutral schooling.

    And I replied,

    The choices are ...

    1. Try our best to construct a system that has as few biases and prejudices as possible.

    2. Fund every group that wants to have a school to promote their own biases and prejudices.


    This prompted another(?) anonymous commenter to say,

    No statement could summarize better the arrogance of this sort of mentality.

    It's difficult to have an intelligent conversation with all these anonymous people who can't seem to follow a train of thought.

    ReplyDelete
  68. anonymous says,

    And even if the amount allotted is not linked to the people who indicate a preference on their municipal form, it is a fact that the funding is proportionate to the number of families that wish to send their children to the separate system.

    Funding is allocated according to the number of students (not families) in each system. It has nothing to do with any boxes that are ticked off on a completely different document.

    Is that clear?

    There is no unfairness even if a fixed amount per student is used as the funding formula.

    Have you discussed the issue of fairness with any Muslim, Evangelical Christian, Jewish, Hindu, or atheist families? How about libertarians? We have some of these here as well. Do they think it's fair to restrict public funding to only two school systems?

    Try harder to keep up. This ain't rocket science. Anyone with a basic high school education (public or serarate) should be able to follow the arguments.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Larry Moran said...

    "There are far too many people posting anonymously on this thread."

    Yes, please choose another nom de plume, so that readers can respond to your posts and can also determine if you are the same person or people responding to this topic on other websites.

    ReplyDelete
  70. If the current system is unfair to Jews etc. then the answer is not to make it more unfair by funding just one public system but by funding other groups as well.
    My point is that there is no unfairness if a fixed amount per student is used as the funding formula.

    ReplyDelete
  71. By the way, the atheists already have their own publicly funded school system.
    It is called the "public school system".
    Which is quite an unfair state of affairs, given that they are decidedly in the minority.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Larry Moran said...

    There are far too many people posting anonymously on this thread.

    You could tack on the IP address to the Name for anyone posting anonymously.

    That would at least help distinguish between the multiple Anonymous posters and provide some incentive to use a name.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Anonymous anonymous said:
    "If the current system is unfair to Jews etc. then the answer is not to make it more unfair by funding just one public system but by funding other groups as well."

    How could getting rid of Catholic schools possibly be more unfair to Jewish students than spending tax money on Catholic schools? Getting rid of Catholic schools isn't unfair to anybody, it just revokes the unfair privilege enjoyed by Catholics.

    ReplyDelete
  74. MJ does not seem to understand.
    It is unfair to not fund those groups who wish to have their children educated according to their values. That is their right.
    Currently Roman Catholics have their right implemented.
    It is unfair to other groups that they do not have that right implemented yet.

    ReplyDelete
  75. anonymous says,

    It is unfair to not fund those groups who wish to have their children educated according to their values. That is their right.

    You can't be serious. No groups have the "right" to use public money to educate their children according to their values.

    For some groups we might consider granting them that privilege as long as they conform to certain minimal standards. For other groups we would categorically forbid them from educating children according to their personal value because those values conflict with those of our society.

    Given that we cannot please all groups we choose to create a neutral ground where everyone can come together to get a common decent education at public expense. That leaves families and groups the option of supplementing their children's education at their own expense if they like.

    ReplyDelete
  76. A simple voucher system could easily please all groups.

    ReplyDelete
  77. anonymous says,

    A simple voucher system could easily please all groups.

    That's just not correct.

    I haven't seen a recent poll but I suspect that about 75% of the people of Ontario would oppose a voucher system.

    Even in America there are substantial numbers of people who oppose voucher systems.

    Have you actually thought about this issue?

    ReplyDelete
  78. I have thought about this a great deal more than you have.
    And that is because I am not coming at this with the anti-religion bias that you are.

    All of your arguments are just a rationalization of your pre-existing bias.

    You can't look at this objectively because your prejudice gets in the way.

    There is no such thing as neutral schooling.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Let's imagine the following situation.
    A very large group of families would like a basic curriculum but focusing on a scientific leaning. And they request and receive the per student public funding.
    Would you refuse this request.

    How about a large group of families that would like a basic curriculum but focusing on an international studies leaning.
    And they request and receive the per student public funding.
    Would you refuse this request?

    How about a large group of families that would like a basic curriculum but focusing on an environmental conservation leaning.
    And they request and receive the per student public funding.
    Would you refuse this request?

    ReplyDelete
  80. Nobody seems willing to answer the questions I have posted. I was hoping someone would.

    "Let's imagine the following situation.
    A very large group of families would like a basic curriculum but focusing on a scientific leaning. And they request and receive the per student public funding.
    Would you refuse this request.

    How about a large group of families that would like a basic curriculum but focusing on an international studies leaning.
    And they request and receive the per student public funding.
    Would you refuse this request?

    How about a large group of families that would like a basic curriculum but focusing on an environmental conservation leaning.
    And they request and receive the per student public funding.
    Would you refuse this request?"

    ReplyDelete
  81. Well nobody has been willing to say that they would refuse these requests.
    They would be willing to accept the requests of parents for an education regimen that they chose.

    So if people accept these kinds of requests and then turn around and veto religion-based requests, it is only because of your bias against religion.

    ReplyDelete
  82. So we see that the call for cancelling the separate school system is at the root just a prejudice against religion.

    ReplyDelete
  83. No.

    People here (if I am reading correctly) are saying that *tax money* should be used for secular public schooling. If a group of families want a special school for their special views, religious or otherwise, then they pay for it privately, over and above their taxes.

    Incidentally, you said:"...the atheists already have their own publicly funded school system.
    It is called the 'public school system'."
    Please, do everyone here a favour and look up the difference between "secular" and "atheist".

    You repeated questions have been answered.

    ReplyDelete
  84. Heathen Mike (a telling name) says that my questions have been answered.
    But nobody has answered the following questions that I have asked a few times:

    "Let's imagine the following situation.
    A very large group of families would like a basic curriculum but focusing on a scientific leaning. And they request and receive the per student public funding.
    Would you refuse this request.

    How about a large group of families that would like a basic curriculum but focusing on an international studies leaning.
    And they request and receive the per student public funding.
    Would you refuse this request?

    How about a large group of families that would like a basic curriculum but focusing on an environmental conservation leaning.
    And they request and receive the per student public funding.
    Would you refuse this request?"

    ReplyDelete
  85. My repeated questions have not been answered.

    ReplyDelete
  86. I am surprised that someone has not mentioned that parents can obtain the kind of education system they want through CHARTER SCHOOLS.
    I wonder if people are against charter schools which are publicly funded.
    And if people are not against charter schools why are they against separate schools?

    ReplyDelete
  87. Let me ask this question:
    Are people against publicly funded charter schools?

    ReplyDelete
  88. anonymous asks a stupid question,

    Let me ask this question:
    Are people against publicly funded charter schools?


    Nope. Everyone loves publicly funded charter schools. That's why they're so popular all around the world wherever there's serious investment in public schools.

    Here in Canada, for example, we have tons and tons of charter schools on every street corner. That's true in every state in America as well. Let's not even talk about Europe where typical public schools have all but diasppeared because every kid is going to the charter school of their choice.

    People just can't get enough of charter schools. The private sector really knows how to use public money to give kids an excellent education.

    ReplyDelete
  89. Charter schools provide the kind of variety of options that parents want.
    And people are for charter schools that are publicly funded.
    But you are against separate schools that are publicly funded.

    It is so hard for people to see that their attitude towards separate schools is just due to their prejudice.

    ReplyDelete
  90. For the record, I am opposed to publicly funded charter schools. I am opposed to publicly funded religious schools. I am opposed to publicly funded atheist schools. I am opposed to publicly funded socialist schools. I am opposed to publicly funded Conservative/Republican schools. I am opposed to publicly funded Liberal/Democrat schools.

    As a general rule, I believe that our society, collectively, is in a better position to decide how to educate our children than are individual parents. I'm very much opposed to home schooling.

    I believe that our society prospers when you bring together children of all backgrounds—and their parents—in a single secular school system. The alternative is to segregate our children according to the beliefs of their parents. Whether those beliefs are religious, political, or cultural is irrelevant. It all leads to segregation and makes tolerance and respect more difficult to achieve.

    ReplyDelete
  91. Larry Moran:
    "Everyone loves charter schools."

    Larry Moran:
    "For the record, I am opposed to publicly funded charter schools."

    I guess everyone except Dr. Moran, loves charter schools.

    ReplyDelete
  92. Moran:
    "As a general rule, I believe that our society, collectively, is in a better position to decide how to educate our children than are individual parents. I'm very much opposed to home schooling."

    Nothing could express the collectivist mindset better.

    ReplyDelete
  93. anonymous says,

    Nothing could express the collectivist mindset better.

    Thank-you.

    Now could you give us a brief description of your mindset?

    Would you care to add anything to this comment that you made above?

    So we see that the call for cancelling the separate school system is at the root just a prejudice against religion.

    ReplyDelete
  94. Dr. Moran is against publicly funded charter schools that "everyone else loves". In other words we know how society thinks (they love publicly funded charter schools) and that is the opposite of what Dr. Moran thinks.

    And yet Dr. Moran still pretends not to see all this.

    ReplyDelete
  95. Something is wasted on a fool.

    I wish I could remember what it was.

    ReplyDelete
  96. This discussion is very helpful in shedding light on the collectivist mindset.
    Dr. Moran considers himself a "collectivist".
    And yet he has clearly said that while everyone loves publicly funded charter schools he does not.
    So in what sense is he a "collectivist". Not in the sense of accepting and trusting the ideas of "everyone" but quite the opposite.
    He believes he knows better than "everyone". (For example better than "everyone who loves publicly funded charter schools".)
    This is actually the heart of the so-called collectivist mindset - the attitude of knowing better.
    The collectivist does not accept what everyone else "loves".
    Calling himself a "collectivist" is just a smokescreen for the real attitude of thinking he knows better.

    ReplyDelete
  97. Is the persistent Anonymous here the same Anonymous that is prominently present in some other post threads?

    ReplyDelete
  98. Moran posted:
    "As a general rule, I believe that our society, collectively, is in a better position to decide how to educate our children than are individual parents.'

    And yet Moran also tells us that
    "Everyone loves charter schools."
    So society is telling us what they love.

    But incredibly Moran says:
    "For the record, I am opposed to publicly funded charter schools."

    So Moran is really not that interested in what society has to say.
    In fact for the record he opposes it.

    ReplyDelete
  99. There is more to be learned from this.
    Here is what Moran said:
    "As a general rule, I believe that our society, collectively, is in a better position to decide how to educate our children than are individual parents. I'm very much opposed to home schooling."

    The key idea here is collective decision making.
    In other words, Moran does not want individual groups of parents to decide that they want charter schools and which particular form of charter school they wish their children to attend.
    Instead Moran wants "society" COLLECTIVELY to decide the ONE system that will be funded.

    Now that is an odd position to take. Especially since, as Moran tells us everyone loves charter schools. Which means that we therefore know what people would freely choose.
    But Moran opposes that and instead wants the decision to be made "collectively".
    What does that actually mean?
    And here we come down to the carefully hidden truth.
    The collectivist like Moran knows for a fact that society will NOT choose to have one system. And the system they would choose freely (charter schools) does not satisfy the ideology of the collectivist.
    So what is the collectivist to do, in order to get what he wishes?
    Well he tries to have the decision made collectively and then works to influence how that decision-making occurs.
    That way he has a chance to get what he wants even though it is contrary to what the people actually want.

    Remember Moran OPPOSES CHARTER SCHOOLS.

    ReplyDelete
  100. Moran:
    "As a general rule, I believe that our society, collectively, is in a better position to decide how to educate our children than are individual parents. I'm very much opposed to home schooling.

    Now could you give us a brief description of your mindset?"

    To begin with, your phrase "our children" is based on a collectivist mindset.
    My children are not the property of society.
    Your children are not the property of society.
    I trust parents with the upbringing of their own children.

    I will not tell you how to raise your children and I am not interested in you telling me how to raise my children.

    If you want to hand over the decision-making about your children to society that is your call.
    But do not force that on the rest of us.

    ReplyDelete
  101. anonymous says,

    I will not tell you how to raise your children and I am not interested in you telling me how to raise my children.

    Tough. If you abuse your children, you'll hear from me—and the police. If you refuse to give them an education, you'll hear from me whether you like it or not. If you decide not to vaccinate your children I won't hesitate to tell you that you are not raising your children properly.

    ReplyDelete
  102. Dr. Moran.
    I do not believe you are giving your children an acceptable education.

    Your collectivist ideas are contrary to the norms of Canada and we (society) will need to call the authorities if you do not mend your ways.

    Hey, I could get used to this. Telling people how they should run their lives.
    Now I see why that appeals to you.

    ReplyDelete