I am not as surprised at the opposition to faith based funding from the loonie left as I am surprised at the opposition from some on the right of the political spectrum and let me explain why.
John Tory’s plan to bring in equal funding for faith based schools is not a matter of religion in my opinion. It is more a matter of choice. Right now in Ontario, the province dictates to us (with few special exceptions) what our publicly funded school choices are. i.e. they draw the lines and determine what school zone our children fall into and then pretty much mandate that the children go there.
This undermines one of the tenets of conservatism and that is the freedom to choose. Those of us on the right promote privatization of many things because it leads to competition and that competition leads to the best rising to the top and the worst either faltering or changing their practices to be more competitive.
If we offer public funding to put all school systems on the same level, then those that perform better will be chosen far more often by parents who don’t care about anything except for what is best for their children. It is this choice that will break the stranglehold the public school system has on our society.
Are there great teachers in the public system? Of course there are. But we cannot, by virtue of their job as a teacher, group every teacher into the category of “great”. And the teachers union has become such a strong force, that principals in the public system have little or no power to discipline or fire teachers that underperform. When was the last time you heard of a teacher being fired for underperforming in their duties? It simply does not happen.
The children coming out of the Catholic School system consistently outperform children in the public system. If Ontarians, en mass, return the party that does not believe in diversity of schools, then the door opens for the Liberals to shut down the Catholic School system. What a shame that would be. Closing down the more successful system in order to protect the public system. How better to protect the public system than to free it of competition? There is no quicker way to fail our children than to remove the competition in education.
John Tory has it right. A vote for him is a vote for what is best for our children.