The Ethical Action Committee of the Ontario Humanist Society has issued this press release:

PRESS RELEASE   on PUBLIC SCHOOLING

When the establishment of Separate (Roman Catholic) and Public (Protestant) school boards was first mandated, we lived in a different society, and at a different time.  This act may have secured equal funding to education in the 19th century.  But as the United Nations has informed us, we are now in contravention of universal Human Rights.  In the modern multicultural world, it is time to discard this outmoded legislation, for both economic and social reasons, and to support One School System – which is open to all, accepts all, and educates all equally.

The Ontario Humanist Society Ethical Action Committee wishes to convey to The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs our unequivocal support for a school system that provides equal rights and privileges for all students and teachers in the Province of Ontario. This is only achievable by having one public school system.

In the interests of brevity and clarity, we include the following major points:

1.    The cost to deliver education will be substantially reduced and yield a quality experience that is more sustainable over the long term.
2.    The service, especially in lightly populated areas, will be improved, a more equitable outcome to students no matter where they reside in the Province.  
3.    Our children will be able to grow up knowing children from other traditions, thereby increasing familiarity and tolerance between groups.
4.    This will eliminate giving special privileges to a  single identifiable group at the expense of any others;  both children and teachers.
5.    Our tax dollars will not be used to subsidize the education of  children into a belief system we do not all share.

In conclusion, Ontario is home to a multicultural society. Given that circumstance, the Ontario Humanist Society supports education that allows children to learn about multiple cultures including the religions and traditions that stem from those cultures. When this sort of education is provided through a sociological lens through one public school system, children also come to recognize that they have a shared culture that unifies them as citizens of Ontario.

Mary Beaty, Chair, Ethical Action Committee
Ontario Humanist Society,
January 25, 2011