It will come as no surprise that I am severely critical of the Roman catholic Church; it is the most corrupt institution in the world and its corruption has survived and spread for thousands of years. That’s why I applauded Aviva Rubin‘s article, “Who Will Stand Up and End Catholic School Funding?“ Rubin’s article is hard hitting; she says
I am a big believer in eliminating the publicly-funded Catholic school system altogether. I have nothing against Catholic schools, or only as much as I have against Jewish schools, Muslim schools or any other parochial school. I’d prefer to see religion relegated to the realm of extracurricular, but if you want it all day long, it’s your choice. Just pay for it yourself.
Unlike Rubin, I am against Catholic schools, especially in Ontario, because they are government funded with taxpayers money, but the Catholic Church’s influence over the government, the Education Act, and students and teachers is persuasive and insidious.
When the Ontario government’s anti-bullying legislation was passed in June 2012, ETFO President Sam Hammond applauded the bill because it ensured that “neither a board nor principal may prevent students from using the name ‘gay-straight alliance’ if they wish to start such a student organization.” At the same time, Greg Reeves, director of the Peterborough area Catholic school board (PVNCCDSB) said,
many students are happy with the clubs already available at the schools.
“I think the (Respecting Differences) clubs do a more than adequate job at addressing all aspects of bullying.” . . . Regardless of whether the Catholic students will want GSAs, the principals will still have the right to control materials students have access to within the schools. “If they don’t comply with Catholic values, we don’t promote them.”
Which leads me to suspect that in some Catholic schools, students and teachers who want to use the word gay or want to set up an explicitly Gay Strait Alliance club are met with subtle or not so subtle resistance from principals and from Catholic priests associated with the schools.
In her article, “Who Will Stand Up and End Catholic School Funding?” Aviva Rubin expresses her frustration with the excuses for continuing to fund Catholic schools.
I’m tired of hearing that access to a Catholic Education is guaranteed in the British North America Act. Lots of sexist, homophobic, racist, inequitable and exclusionary practices are grounded in ancient laws from religious texts to constitutions. That’s no reason to keep them. In fact, we’ve slowly gotten rid of the most offensive of them because as a society, we believe they no longer represent our collective values. There may have been a good progressive reason in Protestant 1867 to protect the rights of minority Catholics, but today our pluralist society will be best served by secular education.
What Rubin doesn’t say is the BNA act guarantees funding for Catholic schools up to grade 10; full funding to Ontario Catholic high schools began in 1985 under the government of Premier William Davis. Funding for grades 11 and 12 is not guaranteed in the BNA Act.
Despite all the information available, people continue to be ignorant of what can and cannot happen in publicly funded Catholic schools in Ontario. As http://myexemption.com points out,
Roman Catholic run high schools are now funded just like any publicly funded school in Ontario.
ALL Ontarians contribute tax dollars to fund the Catholic School system regardless of their religious affiliation (if any). There is no connection to checking “Catholic School Supporter” on your tax form.
Since a Roman Catholic run High School is taking funds from the general tax coffers it CAN NOT deny admission of any student (normal boundary issues apply).
Finally, Rubin gets back to the reasons she wrote the article: Oliver Erazo, and his sons Amilcar and Jonathan.
I’m revising my initial reaction of What can they possibly hope to achieve? I think they’re on to something, as were the students and teachers who fought the Catholic Board’s ban on Gay Straight Alliance clubs and won, despite the Church’s homophobic doctrine.
The way to get to where we need to be — one healthy public school system — may just be through incremental challenges: putting time and energy into chipping away at the differences, to the point where the systems are so completely alike, there is no point in having both.
There is no point in funding both systems, but there are lots of very good reasons for ending Catholic school funding.