Friends. This Wednesday, Feb 15th, is the scheduled release date for the Drummond report. Mr. Drummond was tasked with examining all areas of government spending, identifying unnecessary and duplicate expenditures. It is hard to imagine that he could miss the massive duplication and overlap in our school system. We are confident that any competent and thorough examination of provincial programs would not fail to notice this and point it out.
Of greater concern to us than the possibility the waste in our education system could be overlooked is the relative certainty that Dalton McGuinty and company will summarily reject any recommendation to deal with it. He has already said, at least twice that we know of, that he will not even consider any recommendation to eliminate public funding for Catholic separate schools. That is unfortunate, as it all but ensures that austerity measures affecting our truly essential services will cut deeper than necessary. There will be unnecessary pain.
Eliminating public funding for Catholic schools would not genuinely hurt anyone. It would only result in Ontario Catholics having to take personal responsibility for the religious upbringing of their children. It would only result in them being treated the same as every one of us who is not an Ontario Catholic. Not eliminating that funding, however, will guarantee greater pain elsewhere -- probably in services that families cannot easily provide on their own.
Be alert for letter opportunities this week and beyond. If you’ve never written letters to the editor, now is a good time to start. See our letters page for ideas. The Drummond report will be very big news. Civil servants could face layoffs, wage freezes, unpaid days off, or outsourcing. They might be interested to know that as this happens, unnecessary spending on religious schools for a single favoured faith continues. Vested interests will be lobbying furiously as the government decides where the axe will fall. We need to point out the difference between essential and non-essential programs at every opportunity. We need to point out that public funding for Catholic schools is not essential!
Please rise to the challenge. It is time fairness and fiscal responsibility came to education in Ontario.
Education Equality in Ontario