Posted on March 6, 2011 at 5:09 pm by Dr. Jim
The Globe and Mail reported on Friday on the efforts of a few families in Mornville (north of Edmonton a little way) to send their kids to a secualr public school as the ONLY schools in this town ov over 8000 are part of the “Catholic” school board. Alberta has an absolutely perverse educational organization with essentially 2 school system on the public purse across the province, the “Public” and the “Catholic” systems. Most town have both operating side by side, with distinct boards, administrators, schools, buses etc. In Morinville, however, amalgamation of public schools left all of the town in the hands of the “Catholic” board while the Public schools are in the rural areas surrounding the town. Here’s some excerpts from the article:
“It wasn’t until her seven-year-old son asked her if he’d burn in hell that Marjorie Kirsop became concerned.
A Catholic education is the only local option for the Kirsop family and everyone else in Morinville, Alta., a community of 8,100 northwest of Edmonton. It’s a unique situation, rooted in the town’s origins as an outpost of French-Canadian Catholicism in the late 1800s. But this fall, when five-year-old Sarah Kirsop declared she had converted to Catholicism, her mother joined a group of local families who are challenging the status quo.
Their campaign for religion-free public education has met resistance from the local public school board – the Greater St. Albert Catholic Regional Division – and drawn little more than a polite hearing from local politicians and Alberta’s Ministry of Education.
This really pisses me off. Governments’s own as much to secular families as they do the members of the Catholic church and all too-often criminal clergy. School board and Government resistance is simply the typical bend-over-and-take-it-like-sheep attitude too many people have of deferring to religion, and forms of Christianity in particular. It is the preservation of a never deserved and now hopelessly obsolete social status. That these people wouldn’t care that kids are coming home worried about burning in some hell shows just how numb they are to the scope of Christian privilege and how blind they are to people’s concerns.
The Alberta School Act allows children to be excused from religious or patriotic exercises or instruction. “But in a Catholic school, the entire curriculum is permeated with the Catholic theology, hence the problem,” said Frank Peters, an expert in school governance and a professor of education at the University of Alberta.
To wit: see my earlier post about the English “teacher” (I use the term loosely) in a Catholic school who spoke down here in Lethbridge at the teacher’s convention. He addresses “science” in his Religion classes and tries to reconcile evolution and Catholicism claiming that:
“The creationists will find all of the evidence that can point in their direction. The evolutionists find the evidence that points in their direction,” he said. “And so, in a sense, both are really practising bad science. Good science says, ‘Hey, let’s look at the data. What does the data tell us?’”
Even the nature of “science” must be brought into line with religion, even if it is done by an English teacher! Anyway, back to the Globe and Mail story.
Only Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta still have patchworks of public and separate, protestant and Catholic school divisions. Over the years, protestant divisions have become secular and many have amalgamated with like-minded neighbours. Mass amalgamations in 1995 in Alberta left Morinville being serviced by a single public Catholic board, while the region’s secular board, the Sturgeon School Division, was confined to areas around Morinville.
Even today, Sturgeon’s head offices are in an old school building in the heart of Morinville, but the district’s boundaries trace a doughnut around the town.
“It’s a pretty unusual set-up,” said Michele Vick, Sturgeon’s superintendent.
Her district is amenable to making arrangements for busing Morinville children to a non-denominational Sturgeon school. This is one of the options put forward by the Greater St. Albert Catholic Regional Division that Ms. Hunter’s parent coalition finds unacceptable.
Here’s a better idea: Dump all sectarian schools, combine all the resources into a single system, preserving the best of both, and let parents and churches pay to do the church’s work.