Public money, Catholic school
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 12:10
As a product of the Public School system and a current Concurrent Education student, there has always been a part of the Ontario school system that I simply never understood. Why is it that we have a publicly funded non-secular school system in Ontario?
I refer, of course, to our Catholic school system, which many Brock students probably attended. I am not writing this opinion piece to attack those students; instead, I am here to defend those students who are not belonging to the Catholic faith, but still expect the same treatment as someone who is.
In Ontario, taxpayers have the option of contributing their dollars to the public school system or the Catholic school system. This led to the Catholic school system in Ontario receiving in excess of $7 billion worth of public money last year, as well as receiving additional funding from the Catholic Church. This puts many Catholic schools at an advantage over public schools, which in turn drives the desire for parents to send their kids to Catholic schools.
However, this is also putting the publicly funded secular schools at a disadvantage, because they are seeing declining enrolment due to the obvious advancements that the Catholic school board has made over the public schools.
Why am I upset that the Catholic schools have become better than the public schools? It is giving an advantage to students who belong to a certain religion, which is directly against the equality that I was under the impression that we, as Canadians, stood for. Students of non-Catholic faiths face challenges when trying to attend a Catholic elementary school despite the fact that it is funded by public money. In secondary school, they are allowed to attend a Catholic school; however, they must take a religion course in which they are taught the Catholic beliefs.
In my hometown, there were two Catholic Secondary schools and three Public Secondary schools. The two Catholic schools saw increased enrolment every year that I was in high school, as well as many technological advancements, landscape improvements and building renovations. The high school that I attended — which was widely considered to be the nicest public school in the region — did not have a ceiling for the four years I was there because there was asbestos that needed removing. Which high school would you choose?
I want to make it clear that I do not wish for this to be an attack on religion. I think that religious studies are a valuable part of education that support tolerance in our society. However, it is not necessary to separate our school system in the name of religion, particularly when that school system is being funded by public dollars. Allow an equal opportunity to students in the province, without forcing them to go against their beliefs in order to obtain it. It is time to abolish the Catholic school system in Ontario. It may not be politically popular, but it is the right thing to do.