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Faith-based schools to continue quest for fairness

Written on October 12th, 2007

Supporters of faith-based schools disappointed by results of Ontario election

Parents and supporters of faith-based schools will continue to seek government support for faith-based education despite disappointment in the provincial election.

“OACS is disappointed and we understand the disappointment of parents that Mr. Tory will not get a chance to even begin to discuss this proposal because he is not forming the government,” says John Vanasselt, the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS) director of communications.

The Oct. 10 provincial election resulted in a Liberal majority win. The Progressive Conservative leader John Tory proposed a policy that if elected he would invite faith-based schools under public funding, providing certain criteria was met.

The issue of faith-based school funding became a hot topic in the campaign, with Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty opposing the idea.

The OACS maintains their position that any child who receives a good education, which prepares them for responsible citizenship in society, should receive government support, says Vanasselt.

As the provincial spokesperson for Parents for Educational Choice, Barb Bierman met with several parents and supporters of faith-based schools Oct. 11.

The tiredness and disappointment of parents and supporters of faith-based schools was evident after a provincial election campaign that focused on the issue of funding, says Bierman.

“The way that (faith-based schools) have been characterized … it surprised them and angered them. There’s a disappointment and an anger and just a tired feeling about this,” she says.

Vanasselt says due to the language used by some political parties in the campaign there has been a perception of faith-based schools being marginalized in society. He says the OACS and the Christian school communities will have to analyze and figure out how to deal with that.

Bierman says in the future parents and supporters of faith-based schools will seek to inform the public more about who they are, why they choose the schools they do and what goes on in the schools.

“We are just going to be looking to win over the hearts of Ontarians in the next several years,” she says, until there is movement and change in the province.

Vanasselt says they will continue to work towards justice for all citizens.

“We are helping kids become better Christian citizens, and that’s something that this province and this country needs,” he says.

“We help graduate very good citizens and the families they come from are good citizens. All citizens deserve the support of their government. We absolutely will continue to work on this issue of public support for what we can see to be a very well-run public service.”

The OACS has 78 member schools across the province. For more information on election issues, see the OACS information bulletins.