Volume 96, Issue 97
Wednesday, April 2, 2003

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Education under Eves

Re: "Premier Ernie Eves has it right – for once," Mar. 26

To the Editor:

Ernie Eves's pre-election proposal to revive the private school tax credit is yet another example of the provincial government's willingness to reward the wealthy at the expense of the public good.

A disproportionate number of students in the private system are from high income families. A tax cut which benefits the parents of these students diverts desperately needed dollars from public education and instead directs them towards Ontario's wealthiest.

And at what expense? Having abandoned the public system, wealthy parents no longer hold a stake in the future of public schools. Consequently, public schools lose considerable affluence and political power, and poorer students are left to suffer in the crippled public system. This upper-class tax break encourages the migration of the rich out of public schools, creating a two-tiered education system that overwhelmingly benefits wealthy Ontarians.

By encouraging private schools – which segregate children according to religion, gender, ethnic group, class or even political belief – this tax credit stimulates the creation of schools where every student has a homogenous background. Public schools, which accept a cross section of society, provide a diverse environment that teaches children to value one another and respect each other's differences.

Even worse, this plan calls for public dollars to be spent in schools which are not accountable to the taxpayers of Ontario. They don't follow prescribed curriculum, need not hire certified teachers and are not subject to provincial testing. Taxpayer dollars may be directed to schools which teach racist, hateful or inaccurate ideas.

Private education is a luxury. If the wealthy or religious want to indulge their children in a supposedly better education, they should be prepared to pay for it without a government handout.

Both the opposition Liberals and the NDP want to end private school tax credits, and hopefully those who want to protect public education will vote in force for those parties in the upcoming provincial election.

David DeAngelis
Science I

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2002 THE GAZETTE