Last month we wrote about a public education initiative, No Child Unprotected, by Edvance Christian Schools Association, an Ontario-based association whose mission is to foster excellence in Christian elementary and secondary schools. The initiative calls attention to the need for fair and equitable distribution of federally granted Covid related funds for the benefit of all school children in Ontario, not only those attending publicly-funded schools.
Building upon that initiative, a coalition of independent schools in Ontario has launched the Supporting Students campaign to address the inequities of the Ontario government’s response to COVID-19. Indeed, some of the day schools have explicitly joined the campaign and urged the involvement of their respective parent bodies.
As we have pointed out and as others have as well, helping schools contend with the unforeseen, onerous costs imposed by Covid is, at its core, a public health issue. It is not merely an educational issue.
The Federal government has already disbursed $371 million dollars to help Ontario schools during the pandemic. Another $371 million is slated to arrive in January. The provincial government distributed none of the first tranche of these funds to non-publicly funded schools, even though the amount Ontario received from Ottawa was based upon a calculation of all school-age children in the province.
We join the coalition in urging individuals to make your voices heard on this subject.
Please visit the site: Supporting Students campaign (www.supportingstudents.ca). In addition, contact your members of the provincial parliament. Please also share this information with friends and family.
Once again, we confront a challenge of simple fairness and equity of treatment from the government of Ontario.
Let us not be passive. Let us not be silent. After all, as we know from our ancient sages and from modern experience, “if we are not for ourselves, who will be?” Moreover, by calling for equal treatment for independent schools, we are at the same time championing the need for equal treatment for all minorities within our broader society. And if we don’t do so now, then we will have missed an important moment for the advancement of equal treatment and equal rights for everyone.
Be safe. Stay safe. Be well. Stay well. Be strong. Stay strong.
GAJE, Nov 27, 2020