Monday, August 27, 2007

Who decides?

Further to Warren's post against funding for faith based schools, I offered this response:


As I understand the Tory policy, the funding would be extended to any school (faith notwithstanding) who agreed to teach the Ontario curriculum.

This takes the question of who is faithful and who isn't out of the hands of theologians and puts it in the hands of the same bureaucrats who decide that the separate school system is acceptable.

It actual gives the province some say in what is being taught at some of these schools.

Just my two cents worth,


B-Double responds: I'm not sure if "let the bureaucrats decide!" is the best selling point to use in explaining this policy. And, it wasn't the bureaucrats who decided that the seperate system was acceptable, it was the Ontario Cabinet.

I do think that Kinsella, the Post, etc is right - that a wide swath of different religious schools will apply for funding and we (as a province) have to be ready to decide who gets money and who does not - whether through regulations, an application committee or whatever.

My trouble with this whole thing is that this particular promise is lacking the clarity that other pledges in the past have enjoyed. Cutting welfare rates by 20% was as clearcut as they come.

The challenge we will face is that many (I would say the majority) of people in Ontario don't interact with private religious schools. They will have a hard time truly understanding what it means for them if this pledge becomes a reality. Contrast that with what the Fiberals are saying: "This will take money out of the public school system." That potental result can potentially affects many, many more people (even though I don't believe it).

Our biggest problem we face is not that the policy is flawed. Its the clarity issue: our points are nuianced, complicated and take a lot of explaining; theirs are clear, blunt and very simple to understand.

Besides - fear (in this case of the unknown) works.

Jewish families, in particular, have looked at the public funding of Catholic schools and wondered, "why only them"?
The previous Tory govt provided a tax credit for private school attendance - I think $500 - which was irrelevant.
I am sure all has been said that can be said on this issue, so I will just throw my opinion in "for the record".

This faith-school funding is a terrible mistake politically and socially. It is exactly the wrong move for the times we are living in.

John Tory needs new advisors, or if this was his idea, we need a new Ontario PC leader.

I will be voting Liberal for the first time my life.
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