Re: Sending education to the corner by Crawford Kilian ( Pique May 6)
When I first became a school trustee some 12 years ago I was privileged to hear John Ralston Saul speak about Canadian education and the vision that the founders of our education system had. It was a passionate speech and it spoke to the uniqueness of the vision - that every child would be afforded the same quality education no matter where they lived. This is the essence of Canadian public education. Interestingly the history of education is a central theme in Canada's social, economic and political history.
As a school trustee this is what I reminded myself constantly when I was forced to make tough financial decisions that affected our students. Slowly I sense we are forgetting the purpose and the uniqueness of our public education system. It is something to be treasured, to be valued and I must ask myself are we weakening the public classroom in its ability to be successful by sending public dollars to private education institutions. But I must also ask myself, are we weakening the public education system by allowing it to be run by one interest over the other? I am referring to the constant conflict between government, districts and educators. And finally, I always had an uneasy feeling that when we integrated special needs students into the public system that it was never truly thought through in terms of funding and classroom needs, thus creating a constant tug of war between perception and reality.
Is it not time that we, government, school trustees, parents and educators come together at a Summit on Education and reaffirm our Canadian education history, the need for a strong public education system and then together establish a vision, mission and goals for the 21st century? I would further suggest that this vision could not be altered through political whim. A strong vision and mission will bring children back to our public schools.
It is worth a try because the conflict between school trustees and government, educators and government that plays out in our newspapers and our boardrooms is not creating any solutions.
Asked and answered
You ask a question and the answer is obvious (Sending education to the corner, Pique May 6). The government is typically giving away the store. They are doing it now just as they did when they were called Social Credit. Private schools' only purpose seems to be to teach kids to pass exams, not to learn, and to be indoctrinated into their way of thinking. This is not how things are in the public schools.