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Monday, May 07, 2012

I'm Paying for This Cross

The Province of Ontario funds two school systems, each of which has a division for French-speaking children. The public school system is open to everyone regardless of religion etc. The Roman Catholic School board is restricted to Roman Catholic students, with some exceptions. Funding comes from general revenue so, in effect, everyone is paying for the dual system.

Here's what my province is supporting as described by The Toronto Catholic District School Board.
For the year of Witness, the students at Neil McNeil Catholic Secondary School have created a travelling cross, which will journey across the school system throughout the year, with each school having an opportunity to spend a day with the cross.

Schools will be able to submit photographs from their day with the cross, including pictures from their prayer services and Masses which will be documented on this website.

The Board hopes that these moments with the travelling cross will provide an opportunity for our students, staff and families to reflect on what it means to bear witness to our Catholic faith. Faith development is integral to every part of Catholic education, as students are called to respect the dignity of all human persons in a caring community. Our journey with the Year of Witness cross will bring this message to our young people in a very tangible way.
I'm not a big fan of the American system of government but there's something to be said for separation of church and state. We do an excellent job of keeping religion out of politics but every now and then I am reminded of government support for religious schools. That's why I've come around to the position of supporting One School System. is a non-governmental human rights organization and education advocacy group seeking the amalgamation of Ontario, Canada's public and Catholic school systems into a single, secular school system for each official language.

The Ontario government currently funds four overlapping school systems: English public, English Catholic, French public, and French Catholic. Not only is this wasteful and inefficient, but the exclusivity of funding for Catholic religious schools gives rise to significant inequities between citizens of different faiths. Ontario's truly public school systems are open to all students and teachers without discrimination, while the publicly funded Catholic systems often deny admission to non-Catholic students and are essentially closed to non-Catholic teachers. We seek to eliminate religious discrimination in admissions and employment in all of Ontario's publicly funded schools while simultaneously ensuring better stewardship of the financial resources committed to the education of our children. A move to a single school system for each official language would achieve both aims.

[Hat Tip: Veronica at Canadian Atheist: A Gift from Ontario Taxpayers]

1 comment :

  1. A bit late on this one, sorry.
    I hope succeeds in Ontario. Where I live, Saskatchewan, maintains a similar public + Catholic school board system, and a precedent in Ontario, where it appears opposition is currently well-organized, would go far in convincing other provinces.