What about moral obligations?

July 10, 2014 10:20 AM


I am disappointed that you published a letter (Coast Reporter, July 4) that purports to point out a “distortion” in my letter (Coast Reporter, June 27) defending public education, but which is actually a veiled promotion of Michael Maser’s own online independent school. If it is not true that public education is free and open to everyone and that private schools charge and are exclusive, why do students have to pay $450 per course at his “school” and buy their own computer with high-speed Internet access? Neither does he mention the income a parent would have to sacrifice to supervise a child working at home.

In public schools, courses have no fees and there are computers with high-speed Internet access for all. In addition, students meet face-to-face with qualified teachers all day, not for one hour a week in an online chat group.

Furthermore, students are never “bumped out of public schools.” School District No. 46 has a number of wonderful public alternate schools for students who learn best in non-conventional classrooms.

On one point, I do agree with Mr. Maser’s letter: independent schools save the government money. That is why provincial funding for private schools has risen at a much higher rate than it has for the public system. According to B.C. Teachers’ Federation estimates based on Ministry of Education 2014 budget numbers, the public system’s funding increased by 16.9 per cent between 2005 and today. The private system’s funding increased by 45.6 per cent. B.C. has among the highest percentage of private school students in Canada.

Meanwhile, B.C. has the highest child poverty rate in Canada, with one in five children considered statistically poor. Do you see the two-tiered society forming?

The government is legally obliged to provide quality public education for every child in the province. What about the moral obligations of our society?

Susan Telfer, Gibsons

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