Last week, we pointed out that Ontario’s Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, recently asked “everyone in the education space” – which includes, of course, the children, parents, staff and administrations of independent schools – “to collaborate in the interest of public health so that we can…keep our kids safe both in public and private schools in Ontario.”
In Ontario, alas, it seems collaboration is unidirectional. For, despite the ongoing cooperation and collaboration by the independent school sector with the government, especially to keep our kids safe, there has been no evidence to date of reciprocal collaboration by the government toward independent schools.
Premier Ford and the Minister of Education refuse to share with independent schools even the federal Covid funds that are intended to “keep our kids safe”.
Fundamental fairness is a hand the province refuses to extend to independent schools. Relying on the hope that good will or conscience will stir the government to reciprocal collaboration has proven for decades to be a painful, and one could also argue, an immobilizing self-delusion.
Through an array of lessons – three of which we mention below – our history and wisdom literature imply a course of action for us in this situation.
• The psalmist urges us not to really on the beneficence of princes and rulers.
• The Reed Sea will not split until someone first steps into the water.
• And as the holiday of Purim suggests, our strength multiplies when we come together, act in assembly, and unite in common purpose to achieve a true and worthy result.
As most readers know, GAJE is determined to try to bring some fairness and balance to Ontario’s educational funding policies by resort to the courts. We will have more news to impart on this development in the weeks ahead. And when the announcements are made, we will need your help.
The future has not yet been written. Let us write it together, united in common purpose, splitting the Reed Sea for the dry land of fairness and justice in educational funding.
Be safe. Be well. Chag Purim samayach. Shabbat shalom.
GAJE, February 26, 2021