Choice in ed­u­ca­tion is a right, priv­i­lege

Kingston Whig-Standard - - FORUM -

The word of the day is choice, writes Michelle Hauser (“Mul­roney for­feits her win­ner-take-all card,” Feb. 10). The choice to pro­vide her kids with the best ed­u­ca­tion she can af­ford makes Car­o­line Mul­roney a tar­get for public de­nounce­ment and sham­ing.

Hauser seems to as­sume that the only way to learn some­thing about public ed­u­ca­tion is to ex­pose one’s own chil­dren to it. Ac­cord­ing to this kind of logic, only moth­ers would “know some­thing” about pre­na­tal care and only fe­male doc­tors with chil­dren would be suit­able to be­come ob­ste­tri­cians.

Hauser de­nies she is class-war­mon­ger­ing, but what else is her re­sent­ing the fact that the rich have cer­tain op­tions, rather than look­ing for ways how to make sim­i­lar op­tions widely avail­able? She as­sumes that the rea­son why those who can af­ford it send their chil­dren to pri­vate schools is to sep­a­rate them from the public. Did it ever oc­cur to her that they may be do­ing it pre­cisely be­cause they “know some­thing ” about the ever more costly, yet ever less ef­fec­tive, two-sizes-fit-all On­tario public and Catholic ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem?

To teach is a job that’s very easy if one doesn’t care about the out­come, but very hard if one does. Un­for­tu­nately, the way the ed­u­ca­tional sys­tems of On­tario evolved over time makes the easy job much eas­ier and the hard one much harder. Po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness and the de­struc­tive pol­icy of plac­ing self-con­fi­dence above all other con­sid­er­a­tions ex­pect teach­ers to keep their stu­dents happy and to fol­low ev­ery few years a new ex­per­i­men­tal ed­u­ca­tional fad. A teacher do­ing a good job at ac­tu­ally mak­ing the kids learn some­thing by ap­ply­ing meth­ods that work hardly gets any recog­ni­tion. In­stead, he or she is fac­ing rather se­ri­ous, some­times even threat­en­ing, dis­in­cen­tives.

I’d much rather see Car­o­line Mul­roney try­ing to do some­thing about bring­ing more choices into On­tario’s ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem than de­mand of her to al­low the sys­tem to mould her own chil­dren into po­lit­i­cally in­doc­tri­nated self­con­fi­dent ig­no­rants, as the mo­nop­oly is cur­rently set to do to way too many of its largely help­less cap­tive au­di­ence.

Ivan Sa­tori Kingston

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