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I admit, I attended Catholic schools right up until high school. When we lived in New York, my mom paid tuition but when we moved to Ontario mom had the choice of sending us to the public school or the Catholic school as both were funded by tax dollars.

This funding of Catholic schools and creation of a separate school system dates back to the 1800s yet Ontario is the only province in Canada which still funds Catholic schools. In November 1999, the United Nations Human Rights Committee found Canada in violation of the equality provisions of that Covenant by virtue of Ontario’s discriminatory school system. So in this upcoming election the Tories say they will fund “faith-based” schools.

See, I’ve got a problem with that. I don’t believe the education I got was any better than my playmates who attended public school. Apart from the catechism classes, we all learned our alphabet, how to count to 10, tie our shoes and break the graham crackers on the line. I don’t believe we need more than one publicly funded school system.

Of course I think that parents should be able to choose what type of education their children will receive so if they want their kids to get “religious instruction” with their ABC’s, then send them to a private school – not one publicly funded. I’m for giving parents who wish to send their kids to a “faith-based” school some sort of tax credit to help off-set the additional cost.

What’s sort of hypocritical about the Catholic schools these days is that you don’t necessarily have to be Catholic to attend one. If the numbers of Catholic children enrolled in these separate schools declines to a point where keeping the school open is in question, they will allow non-Catholics to attend in order to boost their enrollment numbers up to the level to qualify for government funding. I have friends who teach in the separate school system and tell me that in some schools the non-Catholics outnumber the Catholics. So tell me, what’s the point in having and paying for two different school boards? In my mind religion has no place within a publicly funded education system.