G.K. Chestertons observation, Education is simply the soul of a society as it
passes from one generation to another, is correct (as his
observations usually were), then both the soul and educational system of
Ontario are in jeopardy.
The education offered in public schools in Ontario is clearly neither
value neutral nor designed to reinforce traditions derived
from home and family.
The real crisis in the provinces educational system today
as opposed to the common complaint of underfunding
is the overwhelming atmosphere of political correctness, which
deprives students of genuine ethics and morality and contributes to
ever-deepening nihilism among young people.
The typical large, urban high school is set, by many teachers and
education-policy administrators, on a course of relentless war against
normal, mainstream, and
majority outlooks. To a large extent, these trends were
launched by the Dennis-Hall Report of the 1960s. This official provincial
paper, written by two self-described progressives in the first
flush of Sixties radicalism, proposed massive reforms of public education,
and its attitudes have now worked themselves into many areas of life in
History is one of the most important programs of study for the
future of society. It gives people a coherent sense both of the past and of a
national, collective sense of meaning and purpose. A society with no real
sense and love of its past is as abnormal as an individual who has no
cherished personal memories.
In the last four decades, the relatively small amount of history
taught in the public high-school system tended to portray traditional Canada,
Britain, and the West in general as a repository of racism, sexism, and
oppression. Little that was positive was said about the Canada that existed
before 1965, even less said in praise of the monarchy. Canadian history and
national identity were essentially defined as the struggle of various
designated groups against various kinds of oppressive
majorities. Young Canadians of British or European descent were
systematically stripped of a coherent community identity and taught to hate
themselves and their history.
in the last four decades, anything smacking of a genuinely conservative or traditionalist outlook has been
largely removed from the public educational systems in large urban areas.
The educational system did not provide a counterweight to all the
media and pop-culture trends. Even if some students could be found in the
typical, large urban high school who are capable of intelligently expressing a
conservative or traditionalist viewpoint, they have not been encouraged to do
so. On the contrary, they were generally derided by their teachers and peers.
The education offered was often directed to bleaching out any vestiges of
social conservatism and traditionalism that could be identified among the
students. The educational experts, were they so inclined, would be
hard-pressed to point to even one large, urban, public high school in which a
lively and truly diverse political debate takes place today.
In this same period, many of the norms, ethics, and standards in
the educational system have been jettisoned in the name of
permissiveness and the attack on the so-called authoritarian
personality. The general breakdown of manners and school and social
discipline is evident. Curiously, while death-metal music, voodoo, and
body-piercings are permissible, the expression of any more-robust or
substantive traditionalism is seen as hateful or
insensitive and accordingly proscribed.
Also, in the last four decades, virtually all forms of traditional
Christianity have been hounded from the educational system. The Christian
ethos, which could provide a fortifying inoculation against many types of
nastiness and incivility, has been jettisoned. The result increasingly is a
vacuum that encourages nihilism and violence.
Many educational bureaucrats in Ontario have twisted the purpose
of public education away from its proper mission and into furthering a
pronounced left-liberal agenda. They have tried to put into practice, overtly
and covertly, a highly anti-traditional, anti-historical, and anti-religious set of
educational policies. They are deliberately trying to control the shape of the
future by controlling the education of the young.
From the founding of the Dominion of Canada in 1867, education
was the responsibility of the respective provinces, and Catholic primary- and
secondary-school systems have been largely publicly funded. Despite
or perhaps precisely because of public funding, Catholic education in
most parts of the province differs little from that offered in the public
1985, Progressive Conservative (PC) Premier Bill Davis promised to extend full public funding to
Catholic secondary schools above grade 10 in Ontario; the result was an
electoral disaster for his party, presumably because it alienated the core
Protestant support although the winning Liberal party did in fact
fulfill that promise. In the 2007 provincial election campaign, John Tory, the
leader of the PC party reacting to the perceived inequality of public
funding for a Catholic school system promised to fully publicly fund
all faith-based schools (including Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu schools)
but this also turned out to be an electoral disaster for the PCs.
A system of tuition tax credits for parents of children in private
schools probably would have been far more effective in improving education
and more-defensible to the electorate as a policy plank for the PCs than the
proposal to fully fund faith-based schools while requiring those schools to
teach the provincial curriculum. That curriculum could encompass such
issues as sex education and the inculcation of
In May 2001, the provincial government of Progressive
Conservative Mike Harris introduced legislation allowing for substantial
tuition tax credits for parents of children attending private schools.
However, with the triumph of Dalton McGuintys Liberals in the 2003
provincial election, that legislation had been shelved.
Although the Ontario Progressive Conservative party is probably
unwilling and unprepared for a raw battle over ethos, perhaps some
reinforcement of real diversity and pluralism of belief in the educational
system could occur as a result of a cost-effectiveness and
value for taxpayers money approach.
The enactment of tuition tax credits for private primary- and
secondary-level schooling would probably result in increasing numbers of
truly diverse, private educational institutions. This could be enough to
persuade the educational-policy administrators and radical leaders of unions
to behave more responsibly and with greater commitment to true